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Experts hints on how SMEs can leverage on social media marketing platforms

Leading analyst in the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Mr. Ephraim Adeoti has called on startups and owners of budding small businesses in Nigeria to take to certain social media platforms that provide easy access to free but wide awareness in driving the visibility of their products and businesses.

Explaining that whereas placing an advert in a newspaper, recording a jingle for the radio or shooting a commercial for television, traditional marketing campaigns require a lot of cash, some social media windows on internet have opened up new avenues for businesses to market their products and services at almost zero-cost.

He said lead amongst them include opening a facebook page for your small business and moving from there to developing a networking site where other s can access your products at least.

According to him, “Facebook gives businesses a free outlet to reach millions of potential new customers”.

Though  he was quick to point out that “At a certain level, Facebook may advise you to ‘boost’ your post by paying a little which he also described as reasonable considering the reach the business will record on boosting.

On facbook, one can begin to market your and drawing traffic to your facebook page seamlessly.

Adeoti also advised small business operators to look at Twitter for creation of awareness, saying

“Twitter offers businesses a platform for connecting their brand with things people care about. The social networking site bills itself as a canvas for telling engaging stories, broadcasting content, connecting directly with consumers and driving transactions.

“The site provides businesses with a unique opportunity to see what their customers are saying, ask them questions and respond to their concerns. Businesses can also use Twitter to run special deals and promotions.

Another online advantage a new business developer can use to deepen awareness include a photo-sharing site, Instagram.

Adeoti said a creative business operator can do much by just posting picture of products he or she wants, saying the platform “requires building a following of users that want to see their point of view, whether they’re selling something or not”.

“When posting promotional photos, they must be creative. For example, restaurants might show photos of people eating their food, while fashion retailers can post pictures of customers wearing their clothes. The site can also be used to host fun contests that involve customers posting their own photos of them using a business’ product

  1. Local search engines: For many consumers, the Internet is the first place they look when searching for a business. Since local search entries are often the first choices given in a search query, businesses can easily attract new customers and clients by simply making sure they are listed on the sites. The local search listings offer businesses an easy way to highlight their location, hours and contact information.

Continuing, he said depending on one’s media friendliness, a business can get a wide awareness using the regular issuance of press releases that will be published on national dailies and online publishers that have good traffic trend.

Currently, there are some websites, such as Free Press Release, PR Log, 24/7 Press Release and I-Newswire, offer the opportunity to post press releases on their site for free. In addition to exposure on the site, the releases are distributed to major search engines, making their reach even greater.

Also depending on one’s ICT background, a new operator of SME can develop a smart but small video content and push it online to draw traffic on his business. In this regard, sites like YouTube remain the most popular route. There are others including Viddler, Vimeo, Dailymotion and Ustream.