Small businesses thrive on the strength of an attractive brand and a growing customer base. One of the most impactful ways to achieve both is to use social media.
There are huge trends in the way businesses are using social media to engage customers, attract new fans, and build awareness of their products and services. Here are some key statistics*:
- There are about 3.5 billion users of social media worldwide, which translates to about 45% of the world’s population.
- Social media is used by 73% of small businesses for marketing purposes.
- Facebook is the most widely-used social platform, with 2.3 billion monthly users.
- Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram remain the most important digital marketing outlets for most small businesses.
These facts highlight the importance of a strategic social media presence. Here, we list specific social media benefits that small business owners can profit from.
1. Brings communities closer
Small businesses have a distinct advantage over larger companies: they serve consumers in their local communities. Such businesses can build strong, personalised bonds with customers. And social media can make those engagements even stronger.
The personalised experience you give your face-to-face customers can be extended and deepened via social media. With consistent social status updates, timely posts, and detailed responses, you can make people feel more ‘in tune’ with your brand.
Social media is also a great means of spreading brand awareness. With it, you can show what makes your business unique. At the same time, your tribe of satisfied local customers can spread the word through pictures of your products, reviews, and comments about their experiences.
Leveraging social channels helps your business grow and earn recognition in your community. While doing so, you’ll not only cement a good local reputation for your business — but lay a foundation for reaching more customers over time.
2. Helps you understand your audience and your competitors better
On social media, you’ll find both customers and competitors. Tracking both is key to making smart business decisions.
Thriving small businesses use social media as a data-gathering tool. You can conduct customer research to find out what kinds of products your audience likes, whether they’re pleased with the options available, what hashtags and natural language they use online, and which social networks they prefer.
Social media is also crucial for monitoring competitors. By visiting their profiles and using ‘social listening’ software, you can see how other companies are trying to engage your desired audience. Post types, audience size, and activity levels can clue you in to whether their strategies are working.
Such data-driven insights can give you greater confidence in business, and even spark new ideas for appealing to your audience or outsmarting the competition.
3. Adds more value to a marketing strategy
Marketing is nothing like it used to be. While online marketing has existed for quite a while, the average consumer nowadays is savvier than ever. Reviews are easy to find online. And many of your customers are avid social media users, where friends and family members can share candid thoughts about the brands they interact with.
As a result, the fastest-growing businesses are making social media a cornerstone of their marketing activities. Now is the time for small business owners to shape their brand narrative, and connect with discerning customers, through well-planned social media campaigns. You can make these campaigns even more powerful by strategising around social listening data, and the results of personalised engagements with your audience.
Here are a few specific ways social media marketing campaigns can grow your business:
- Generating traffic to your website. When customers ask questions or want more information, your social posts can point them to your website. Once there, you can engage them even more directly.
- Increasing sales. Through social campaigns, you can highlight products in new or exciting ways, or announce sales or discounts. This can drive lots of new revenue, quickly.
- Extending your brand reach. With consistent social media branding and outreach, you can attract increasing numbers of fans. Pictures, videos, and interactive content can even help your brand go viral.
To learn more about how you can implement a social media marketing strategy for business growth, please check out our free webinar: ‘Building Your Business with Social Media’.
Social media is essential for small businesses seeking to flourish in the 21st century. With the billions of people using social channels every day, it only makes sense to leverage them to build community online, monitor customer preferences and competitor activity, and boost your marketing efforts.
Contact Business Mentors today to be matched with a mentor who has experience in social media, and who can show you the possibilities for your business.
*Statistics compiled by Datareportal