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Social media initiatives important to small-business success

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Small-business owners need to keep customer service and engagement  in mind, ensuring they will keep their top clients while also adding new ones. One way they are able to reach out to prospective customers and their client base as a whole is through social media. However, it's important as ever for owners at small firms to pay attention to their social media strategies and ensure they are not hurting the reputation of their company with their posts, a recent report J.D. Power and Associates revealed. 

"While there are vast differences among age groups in the frequency of servicing and marketing engagements, there is a consistency in the impact on brand perception and purchase intent through both types of engagement," said Jacqueline Anderson, director of social media and text analytics at J.D. Power and Associates.

Create an all-encompassing strategy
Many small-business owners have social media policies that focus on only marketing, or strictly customer, but in both instances, the report found that those are poor strategies. Companies that are able to take advantage of social media as a way to build brand awareness and affinity, as well as a platform to promote coupons and deals, and answer any questions their followers may have and resolve client issues, will find that they are using social media to its full potential. However, small-business owners must know that they must protect their company's social presence with cyberliabiilty insurance.

"Companies that are focused only on promoting their brand and deals, or only servicing existing customers, are excluding major groups of their online community, negatively impacting their satisfaction and influencing their future purchasing decision," said Anderson. "A one-pronged approach to social is no longer an option."

Give customers what they want
According to the research, 87 percent of respondents said having quality online social interaction with a company "positively impacted" the likelihood of purchasing products from that company. Understanding what target customers want and developing a social media strategy that meets their needs will allow small-business owners to have the most success on such websites. Failing to provide a quality customer experience throughout online channels can lead to clients who are quickly lost.

"If your customers want service and you're pushing discount coupons out to them while ignoring their attempts to connect with you, you're going to end up with dissatisfied customers," added Anderson.

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