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Is your business invisible online?

Small businesses sometimes think they aren’t ‘big enough’ to bother with an online presence. They couldn’t be more wrong. Being online offers unprecedented growth potential for all, says Head of Small Business for O2, Paul Lawton

The internet has created huge opportunities for businesses to promote themselves. The flip side is those not online are missing out, as increasing numbers of customers are logging on to find and assess businesses before committing to a purchase.

Some small businesses make the mistake of thinking they are ‘too small’ to justify a website or social media. They shouldn’t; in fact social media can act as a great leveller, allowing your business to compete favourably against corporate businesses that require dedicated marketing departments.

Businesses are never too small

All businesses have much to gain from being online – they can draw in new customers and grow customer loyalty – but what’s particularly crucial is that they’re not ‘invisible’. Customers almost expect a business to have a website or social media presence – and they are less likely to engage with those that don’t.

Recent research we conducted found 99% thought social media could benefit their business. The problem is some business owners aren’t investing enough time or simply don’t know where to start.

Social is free

Take Twitter, for example. It’s low cost and doesn’t require any complex skills. Twitter’s own research has shown 72% of customers who follow or interact with a small business on Twitter are more likely to make a purchase from them.

Over a third of customers interacted with a small business after seeing an ad with their Twitter handle, and a third said they were more likely to visit a firm after seeing a promoted tweet. Obviously this demonstrates how important Twitter is, but it also highlights how anyone who isn’t using it could be ‘invisible’ to prospective customers.

A business’s online presence is effectively its second shop window and plays a key role in driving custom.

Practical info

Update regularly whenever you have something to say.

Do you want to advertise new lines, new seasons, or highlight new information that could be relevant to your customers? You could use social media to make special offers to followers – something a bit more spontaneous and personal.

Or simply steer conversation to your line of business so they’re more likely to keep you front-of-mind. Above all remember: for a business, social media is all about engagement and interaction with the people who matter most – your customers.

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