What do you think is the most important factor that all service-based businesses should have in place to support their business's growth?
For those of you who answered "My marketing strategy" – you're absolutely right. The research, planning and ongoing implementation of the right marketing strategy for your service-based business is crucial and will determine how well your business prospers and succeeds within the marketplace.
One of the most effective mediums that you should incorporate into your business’s marketing strategy is Social Media.
Many small businesses have embraced social media in their marketing and are finding “gold” through using “word of mouth” to spread their marketing message across the Internet.
Here are 10 valuable ways to leverage social media in your marketing strategy to support you to identify important market research data; spread your brand message far and wide; while also building and strengthening relationships with your network.
1.       Reach out to your clients and conduct a survey. Ask them about their experience with your business to ensure you have delivered on your promise of service excellence. The positive feedback you receive (with permission of your client, of course) can make a wonderful testimonial that you can include on your website and other marketing materials.
2.       Research the needs of your prospects and clients by writing a wall post (or twitter post) to find out whether there are any other areas your network is struggling with. This is a fantastic way to pinpoint the level of demand and confirm whether it’s worthwhile to develop and add a new product or service to your offerings.
3.       People love free stuff so consider launching weekly promotions and offerings. Make it easy for people to share this information so that they will help you increase your network numbers by sharing your products with their own social media network.
4.       Conduct polls and ask your existing clients about their favourite products/service and how this has helped them. This will drive more comments and testimonials from users in your network.
5.       Highlight you and your business’s achievements, and post information about various celebrations. Have you won an award, completed additional professional development, been offered an opportunity to speak at a high profile event, been approach by media for expert comment, etc? Take photographs and share this with your network.  
6.       Are you involved with a non-profit organisation and donating your time and/or financial support to help them spread their message? Community outreach is certainly something you should be sharing with your network; as not only will this confirm your business’s participation you will also be supporting the organisation in increasing awareness about their cause.
7.       Announce new products and services that you offer (including the benefits they bring) along with photos, videos, descriptions and demonstration links. People are often eager to pass on information they read, hear and watch about new and exciting products with their network.
8.       Relate your social media network to upcoming holidays by incorporating decorations and special-event programs in connection with your products and services. Take part in celebrating holidays and remember to post details of your event.
9.       Create useful tips that are fun, interactive and entertaining on how to use your products because this will lead people to your website and will ensure people return to view further resources and interesting information you will be sharing.
10.   Offer specials or discounts on your products/services related to specific seasons or events. We are nearing Christmas, so consider having a 20% off Christmas sale. Here in Australia we have recently had our Australian Rules Football finals and are currently watching the Commonwealth Games. If your business offered coaching services to clients wanting to increase their health and fitness you may have considered offering a special deal on your coaching packages.
There you have it – 10 different ways to use social media to help you unearth “gold” for your business, strengthen your connections, and promote your message far and wide – now it’s your turn. How will you be integrating social media into your marketing strategy to find your “gold”?
If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and colleagues by clicking the 'Like' button. And, as always, I always love reading your comments so feel free to write a comment below. I really appreciate it.
Until next time, have a 'golden' day.


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