Small businesses should consider social media to be one of the greatest gifts from the Internet Gods. Social media platforms can reduce multiple small business expenses such as printing costs, newspaper and/or magazine advertisement expenditures, not to mention funds spent on envelopes, stamps and ink required to run a snail mail advertising campaign. While a paid employee will have to spend time – which results in labor costs – managing social media campaigns, those costs are still less than traditional marketing strategies. Social media platforms help small businesses in three ways:
- Savings on advertising expenses
- Creating previously impossible business connections/clients via telecommunications
- Finding savings via social media platforms that cut business expenditures
What does this mean for Web Designers? It means the more you know about helping your clients build their business utilizing social media platforms, the more marketable you are in your field.
Great Web Designers Understand How Social Media Can Help Small Business
While there are web designers that land permanent salaried jobs, many are working freelance and building their own business via – hopefully – social media, word of mouth, and their own version of “hitting the pavement”. It’s important for web designers to hone their skills in specific niche areas. Social media should definitely be one of these. Social media for small businesses could be an even more specific niche. There are several steps web designers can take to learn about social media and translate their knowledge into actual dollars earned.
- Learn Everything. Obviously it’s impossible to learn everything about social media but you certainly need to know more than the basics and then remain in the informational update loop. While you can’t earn a degree in Extraordinary Social Media, you can earn a degree or certification from a college with a strong Web Design or Graphic Design program. Not only will you learn fundamental theory around art and advertising, a strong program will also teach you – and then keep you abreast – of the rising trends in social media. Potential employers are going to want to see a resume, and while your artistic talents are important, they will think a solid educational background is too. Plus, when you leave a professional program, you’ll have an impressive portfolio to demo your work.
- Do Your Research. While you may have an innate understanding of how social media works: your “likes” save you money at favorite restaurants, you’re thankfully reminded of special events by a last minute Tweet, or you find exactly what you’re looking for on the first page of your Google or Bing search...there are plenty of those out there who don’t understand its importance. Make sure you have an in depth understanding of Social Media statistics so you can use that as a part of your approach when looking for work. Examples include:
- The 4th most popular online activities include social media and blogs! They even trump personal email time.
- Almost 1 million blog posts are created within a 24-hour period.
- It took the internet 4 years to reach 50 million people; it took Facebook 9 months to reach more than 100 million.
- Find Small Businesses Who Need You. One way to land some part-time, or potentially full-time work, is to start doing your homework and research local small businesses. Many small business owners are still lagging on building and updating their website, let alone taking advantage of social media strategies. Find a dozen or more who you know could benefit from your work. Then, create a plan-of-action and sample work to gently educate them about how much websites and social media matter in the current market. Set up appointments with managers, HR, or whomever you can. You might just be the solution they were looking for. Of course, you need to be prepared for some cold shoulders but as long as you remain humble, avoid pushy or defensive engagements, and have a well prepared presentation, you may end up getting a return call months later. Don’t forget to follow up with all of your small business contacts. People get busy so a gentle reminder may do the trick.
While it’s true that social media helps small business, it’s equally true that professional web designers have the ability to help small businesses understand, and implement, social media strategies. Web and Graphic design is a rapidly growing industry. While this is great news, it also means more and more designers are entering the employment pool. Why not let your Small Business Social Media Expertise help you to create that extra special niche that will get your foot in the door first?
How often do you use social media platforms to enhance your own life via connecting, saving money, or building business contacts? Do you emphasize social media tactics with your small business clients? We’d love to hear from you.