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3 Reasons to Make Time for Social Media

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So you think you can't add another feather to your quiver of things to do to make your business successful. I know, the No. 1 enemy of the small business owner is time -- time to do the things that make people aware of your business and your products, time to communicate effectively and analyze the return on your investment, and time to react to what you've learned from your efforts.

I'm here to say that using social media marketing to grow your business is worth it. Here are three reasons you need to be out in front of this new medium:

Your Competitors are Using Social Media

How do you know? Simply follow them on Twitter and Facebook so you'll see all of the things they're up to. You might actually get some creative ideas from what they're doing that might help you succeed. In the wine industry here in California, all of the wine marketers are following each other to get some really creative inspiration on what other wineries are doing to drive traffic, to get customers joining wine clubs and to get customers and prospects up to wine country. It's really working for them.

It's Easy -- Really!

It takes just a few minutes to create a Facebook business page and a Twitter account, and ask your friends to like or follow you. If you don't have the time each day to think about what to post, simply sit down and create a campaign for the entire month. For instance, if you're a travel agent and you'd like to offer up great hot-weather vacations, you can simply go to the Travel + Leisure website to see if there are articles you'd want to re-post about destinations you're trying to book.

Roost is a tool that serves up content feeds to you depending on what industry you're in, making it easy to find the content you need. (Full disclosure: My company, VerticalResponse, just acquired Roost.) Then you can come up with one post for every other day, set it and forget it. Roost also lets you see and respond to replies to your posts from a single dashboard. Take advantage and engage your customers across all your social networks.

You'll Get New Customers

Posting this great content along with your offers will help you build credibility with your audience as well as nurture longer-term professional relationships. Focus on providing value to your network, which will keep you front of mind when they are making purchasing decisions. As your audience grows, your followers will retweet you on Twitter or "like" your posts on Facebook. Then your content will be displayed to their friends and networks. You can think of this as an implied endorsement from your customers, which could result in these new prospects taking advantage of one of your great offers.

Since most of you are probably already sending email marketing campaigns to drive business, a simple way to start integrating them with social media is by publishing the link of the hosted version of your email out to your Twitter and Facebook followers. But the real spice begins in the 'tween times when you just want to publish simple offers and related content. Then you can have your social media campaigns going and flowing.

Are you using social media yet to grow your business? If you are, I'd love to hear how it's helping your business!

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Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, which provides a full suite of self-service online marketing solutions for small businesses and non-profits including email marketing, event marketing, online surveys, social media and direct mail. She's also the CEB (Chief Executive Blogger) of the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog for Small Businesses.