Why Does Small Business Need Social Media?
Social media is showing up everywhere. It’s available on desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, HDTVs, and even gaming devices. Essentially, no matter where people go they have the ability to connect with their online social contacts. Whether you personally like the social networking craze or not, the fact is, it’s one of the absolute best places to market your small business. Here are five reasons why:
As mentioned, most people are usually no farther than arms reach from some type of social networking gadget, and besides being readily available, it’s widely popular. There are around 1.2 billion social networking users, and they’re spending 20% percent of their online time (i.e. one out of every five minutes) at a social site.
If your brand can make a name for itself in this über-involved world then you have the ability to connect with far more individuals than you can using many traditional marketing methods. This is true whether you want a worldwide, national, or simply a local audience.
Provides More Leads
One of the underlying forces driving social networking is people’s desire to share. Pictures, links, articles, news, videos, and all things remotely newsworthy are constantly traveling through online channels. All you have to do is post something share-worthy (interesting article, tips, sale info, deals, happenings, etc.) and others will naturally spread the word about your business. This is a great way to generate leads as consumers trust a business more when they’ve heard about it through a friend.
Builds Brand Loyalty
Engaging in social media puts a face behind your company and engages consumers in the personal side of your business. Share your opinions, offer advice, and create a mutual exchange between you and your customers, and they will form a real commitment to your brand. When you do this, you will find that they are much less critical when you make mistakes and are less likely to “jump ship” if a competitor happens to offer a lower price.
It’s Good for SEO
Social networking content is increasingly influencing search engine results. This is especially true for Google who has now included “Your World” with natural search results. This means that anytime members of Google+ make a query through Google, they are given relevant listings from the general web AND their personal network. This is great for businesses because just by being in someone’s circle they are more likely to see your brand when searching online; and the more contacts you have the more exposure you will get.
Know What Your Customers are Thinking
Well, maybe you won’t know exactly what they’re thinking, but by monitoring social conversations, you’ll have a pretty good idea. In small businesses where profit margins are often very tight having this “insider” information can make a big difference in your bottom line. Your competition may think you have a crystal ball as you are able to sense consumer changes and respond to demands before other businesses catch onto the trends. It can make you a trailblazer in your industry and force the less-informed into the role of follower.
That said, make sure you are using social media marketing the right way (not simply as an advertising platform). Consider relying on the help of a social media marketing expert (even if it’s just to get your small business started in this new medium), and you’ll likely save yourself a lot of time and trial and error.