In 2013, social media marketing via sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Places, and LinkedIn is set to become an increasingly valuable marketing strategy for small and medium sized businesses. These sites require very little monetary input and are simple to use, allowing companies with limited resources to compete with much larger corporations. More importantly, they can provide SOCIAL PROOF for your business, and your credibility. The following are just a few of the ways that your company can take advantage of social media marketing in 2013 :

Twitter Marketing
For consumers who are active on social media, Twitter is often the first place they go to voice a complaint or positive opinion about a company. Proactive businesses can use Twitter as a way to keep up a regular dialogue with their followers, respond to any problems, and create a more positive and friendly company image.
By tweeting interesting questions, Twitter can also be a valuable place to canvas opinion on your company’s future advertising, products, or changes. This is an extremely useful and cost effective way to make sure that your business is adapting to market needs and can maintain a competitive advantage over your competition. Competitions for the best suggestion are a great way to encourage your followers to respond and engage.

Facebook Marketing
Since its creation in 2004, Facebook has continuously evolved to further suit the needs of the individuals and businesses. Its one billion active users visit the site on a regular basis to engage with friends, celebrities, and brands. As a result, Facebook marketing is now the ideal way to build up a stronger relationship with existing customers, advertise new products and events, or even reach out to potential new consumers. No matter what your goal on the site, creating a Facebook business profile allows you to broadcast text, images, shared links, and videos to a targeted group of followers.

LinkedIn Marketing
LinkedIn is a network that is primarily designed for professionals, and as a result it offers a range of unique business opportunities. The site is a great place to contact and build up strong relationships with other business and individuals in your area of the market. It is an invaluable tool for any company looking for potential leads, new contracts, talented new staff, or a platform for b2b commerce and advertising.
LinkedIn marketing is a particularly effective place to create referral groups, in which a set of businesses within a similar market area can work together for mutual benefit e.g. estate agents, builders, decorators, and removal firms may refer clients to each other’s services.

Google Places Marketing
Google Places is now part of the larger service Google Plus which combines all of Google’s key tools into one easy to use platform. Maps, business directories, and social networks come together to make Google+ the perfect site for local businesses who want to reach out to potential customers within their own geographic proximity.
When a person searches for a topic related to your business Google will display your business’s Google+ page as one of its results. By making an attractive profile full of relevant information and responding to comments made on your profile, your business should see significant benefits from Google places marketing.

Mobile Websites
2012 saw a significant shift in the fundamental way that consumers engage with the internet, as for the first time more people used their mobile phones to engage with companies than any other device. This number is expected to grow significantly in 2013. Setting up a mobile optimized website for your company makes it far easier for customers to view your site on their Smartphone, and fortunately for smaller businesses, these websites are no longer costly to create. Unfortunately most websites have been created for desktops, and are virtually unreadable on a Smartphone, leading potential customers to skip the site and purchase from a mobile-friendly business website. Incorporating social media in a mobile-optimised way ensures customer ‘stickiness’.

Mobile Apps
For most businesses, having their own mobile app completes their social media marketing strategy, due to their ability to provide seamless and targeted push notifications to their customer base. Mobile apps are a fast and convenient tool for customers wishing to interact with your business. They often enable customers to perform simple tasks much more quickly than on a mobile website. Your business app could have any number of features, but some of the most useful include promotional games, an online booking tool, or GPS directions to your location. Successful mobile apps are integrated with all the most popular social media networks for streamlined marketing.

Choosing one or more of the above-mentioned social media marketing or mobile services, can fast track your online credibility and provide the social proof you need to compete effectively in your marketplace, while enriching your customer experience.