Harnessing social media and technology to empower SMEs If your content starts trending, your business thrives!

By Aniket Deb

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Mark Zuckerberg in his paper on 'Is Connectivity a Human Right' concentrates on one major point. He writes, "The world economy is going through a massive transition right now. The knowledge economy is the future. By bringing everyone online, we'll not only improve billions of lives, but we'll also improve our own as we benefit from the ideas and productivity they contribute to the world. Giving everyone the opportunity to connect is the foundation for enabling the knowledge economy. It is not the only thing we need to do, but it's a fundamental and necessary step."

There is a simple reason why he believes connecting the world on one platform will start deriving business for local economies. Small and medium enterprises have become the backbone of most developing nations. For SMEs, branding is of utmost importance. In order to build a trust among the users, marketing the right way is essential but this usually comes at a cost.

For a bootstrapped enterprise, it is quite difficult to shell out too much money on marketing. However, various upcoming technologies with an aim to connect the world have made branding a breezy task. Unlike the 1990's where pamphlets, hoardings, exhibitions, television and newspaper ads were the only mediums of publicity for businesses, there has been a phenomenal change in advertising. So how can one harness the power of technology to grow their businesses and direct customers towards their products?

Today, you can reach out to your desired target audience on your own, at zero cost, thanks to the emergence of various social portals like Facebook, Youtube and many more. If you sell chocolate laddoos, merely uploading pictures of these mouth-watering delicacies on Instagram with the right hashtags can help you rope in a good number of customers for Diwali. All you need to do is to have prompt communication with your prospective customers.

Using Facebook groups to re-direct target audiences to websites or facebook page has benefited many small businesses. It has helped entrepreneurs in targeting audience across India. A local cupcake company recently reached out to a couple of thousand users with active participation through a greatly managed page. With all the tools made available by Facebook like using company tags and quotes, you can promote your brand in an impactful cost-friendly way.

Pinterest has become a real favorite for small enterprises. Posting eye-catching banners and re-directing them to your desired URL can go a long way in building a loyal user base. Build different boards, upload stepwise photos of how your product was built and finally publicize on different platforms. When people are pinning your products, you are actually getting promoted exponentially, as their followers also see it.

Twitter is the next best thing which could happen to small businesses. With only 140 characters, you are reaching out to over a thousand people. Follow, interact, and spend some time searching for your target audiences. Tweet to them and you will be surprised with their overwhelming responses. Jazz up your page with some giveaways and tweeters will follow! With the correct hashtags, spreading awareness about your brand has become extremely easy and campaigns can effectively help you reach out to a global audience.

Google Adwords is severely data driven and ensures your ads are reaching out to the best possible clientele. You can even set specific areas as target which is relevant to your product. People in your area are hooked online more than you can imagine and this is the best possible way to reach out to them. Making good videos with great content have become a breezy task. Upload it on Youtube and you can even earn extra with the advertisements. Be persistent and regular because someone out there is definitely viewing it. After all every customer is important, right?

If finding time for writing blog posts is easily doable, this is the best way to find a good audience. Quora, Medium and Blogspot are some of the portals you can start working with. Pen is mightier than a sword and this has been proved time and again with a lot of open letters and revolutions caused on blogging platforms. Writing about your experiences, ideas, work and product will also help you connect with people for advice and help.

Apart from using social media, many online platforms offer innovative technological remedies to small and medium sized enterprises. Speaking from experience, small time sweet manufacturers need to cope with increased sales during festivals. With time and money being a constraint, they look for online solutions to cater to these demands immediately. This is where Bizongo comes in to provide packaging boxes to these mithaiwalas on time. Thus, no matter what the demand situation is, platforms like Bizongo, help the ecosystem grow.

So the key to cracking the code is to bring out a mixture of good content, fresh business ideas and mix it with sound online marketing. When the Korean song Gangnam Style, with its funny steps, catchy colors, and incoherent lyrics took the world by storm, garnering more than a billion views, data experts realized there isn't really a formula for going viral.

But, if your content starts trending, your business thrives. On top of exceptionally remarkable sales, this will be an amazing opportunity for branding and reaching out to a global online audience.

Aniket Deb

Founder, Bizongo

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