There are literally thousands of articles online speaking about the importance of social media for online businesses. A simple Google search will likely turn up more information than anybody could want regarding how best to use Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for the purpose of online business and these social networking sites are merely the tip of the iceberg. There are several other, lesser-known social media sites that can factor into the game for online businesses, as well.
Its obvious why social media sites are important for online business. Its a free, efficient way of marketing to the virtual crowd. After all, if your business is virtual, then it only makes sense that you should be advertising where the virtual populace goes to hang out and chat with friends. Its the equal to putting up a sign at a baseball game or the mall. Online businesses must market to an online audience.
However, many people mistakenly believe that social media need not factor much into the running of an offline business, and this is a serious mistake. Even if you own a store front with tangible products and physical shopping carts and not a Caf Press website with a shopping cart icon in the corner you should still be meandering through the virtual crowd with the rest of the world.
Why? Even though your business might be physical, chances are that your customers are spending a lot of time on these social networking sites. If your store exists in the real world as well, working both the social media angle and the traditional means of advertising can give you a double edge over the competition, and thats not an advantage that should be glanced over lightly. Thousands of people do their shopping primarily online these days in the comfort of their homes in order to have a chance of bringing some of that business through your physical door, you need to be working on the virtual side of things, as well.
So when you sit down in your store in the real world, dont forget to spend some time thinking about how you can promote your store in the virtual one. Most people have a foot in the physical and a foot in the virtual nowadays, and you have a serious advantage in being rooted in the physical world. Online businesses have no stake in the world outside of the Internet, but you can step into the virtual world with ease. Be sure to take advantage of this position you have as somebody who owns a physical store, and the benefits youll reap will be incredible!