Are you one of the many small business owners that detest the idea of having to promote on social media and have no online social media presence whatsoever? You’ve probably asked yourself, “Do I really need to be on social media?”. The short answer is yes, you need social media – at least you do if you want to reach your customers and stay competitive! Here a few compelling reasons why social media is so important to small businesses.
1. Your customers are already using social media
If you want to reach potential customers, you need to be where they are and interact with them. According to a 2016 report published by Global Web Index, the number of time people spends on social media is constantly increasing, with 30% of all time spent online is allocated to social media. Additionally, the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media every day, so chances are high that your target audience is already using social media and you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity if you’re not reaching out to them on those platforms.
You may even find customers on social media you didn’t know existed! For example, you can follow keywords on Twitter and find people that are looking for your products or services and direct them to your website. Customers, you didn’t know existed may also find you and (hopefully) buy from you as a result of your interactions over social media. And the best part? Those customers don’t have to be local to your business!
2. Your competitors are on social media too
Even if you’re not using social media, chances are your competitors are, right? So, why aren’t you? Did you know that 91% of brands are using more than one social media platform to target their customers? If your competitors reach your target market first and earn their loyalty, it’s going to be more difficult for you to win them over. Don’t sit idly by and let your competitors reap all the benefits of social media marketing! The sooner you start, the better. On the off chance that your competitors haven’t ventured into social media, you should take advantage of the marketing opportunity and get ahead of your competition ASAP!
Social media is also a great way to monitor what your competition is doing. You can track industry keywords and mentions of your competitors’ names and products and respond accordingly. Based on the results, you can improve your business to offer products, services, or content that your customers need but your competition hasn’t yet been able to provide them.
3. Social media can lead to higher brand recognition and authority
Customers today expect businesses to be easily accessible and recognizable online. In the same way that a poorly designed website or lack of one can deter customers from trusting your business, so can a weak or nonexistent social media presence. Social media boosts your brand’s visibility and gives you a direct way to share your brand’s voice and content with both current and potential customers. The more conversations that surround your brand on social media, the more respected and influential your brand will seem to new users.
According to referral marketing platform Ambassador, 71 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to others if they have had a good social media experience with that brand. That awesome blog post about a new product you just launched may now get seen by potentially thousands more people when you and your loyal followers share it on social media. The more quality content you share on social media, the more inbound traffic you’ll generate, which can lead to more prospects and higher conversions!
4. Meaningful relationships on social media can improve brand loyalty
Social media can help you connect with clients and prospects in a meaningful way that extends beyond just marketing or selling. With traditional media, there is little chance to interact with your consumers and see their reaction to your marketing message. With social media, you can actually have a conversation with your audience immediately following an ad or blog post for example.
According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands with active and engaged social media profiles have more loyal customers. Users are more receptive to your messages because they generally view platforms like Facebook and Twitter as social networks and not marketing machines. With a strategic marketing strategy and regular interaction, you can create a community of fans and followers who trust your business enough to buy from you again and again.
5. Social media can provide valuable customer insights
Just as social media can provide insight into your competition, it can provide valuable information about your customers. By actively engaging with your customers and using a process called social listening, you can learn more about what kinds of things your customers are interested in and how they behave. For example, you can monitor user comments or posts to see what people are saying about your business and respond accordingly. Or you can evaluate your conversion rates from different social media promotions and see which one best appeals to your customers and generates the most revenue. With the right analytics tool, you can gauge customer sentiment, find the conversations happening around your brand, better target your audience, and run real-time results that allow you to make smarter business decisions.
6. Social media can improve the customer experience
- It provides a safe space for learning
Unlike traditional media, social media allows you to respond to consumer concerns in real-time. This is especially important when you consider that over 67 percent of consumers now turn to social media for customer service. They expect fast response times and 24/7 support where they can ask questions, seek assistance or provide feedback to a brand’s customer service team. If customers encounter a problem with your product or service, you want to know about it and deal with it right away. It can cost a business thousands of dollars in lost revenue, not to mention their reputation can take a huge hit if a customer complains online and it’s not dealt with right away.
Social media isn’t just for managing bad publicity though! Every interaction on social media is an opportunity to display your customer service level and enhance the relationship you have with your customers. When customers post complimentary reviews online, you can highlight their positive experiences on your social media platforms. This will allow your followers to see how they too can benefit from your business.
7. Social media can drive targeted traffic and improve SEO
One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it can be used to increase traffic to your website. Without social media, your inbound traffic is fairly limited. Either people show up to your site because they’re already familiar with your brand or they’re directed to your site because they searched for keywords for which you currently rank. Every social media profile you add is a path leading back to your site, with every piece of quality content you share on those channels an opportunity for a new visitor to find your website and potentially buy from you.
A well thought out social media strategy will place your social media posts in front of the right people – your target market. When you use social media to direct people to your site, it not only increases your website traffic but also lets Google and other search engines know that your brand is legitimate, credible and trustworthy. This leads them to display your content higher up for the keywords you’ve targeted. The more social media shares you receive, the higher your search ranking.
A killer content strategy for SEO is crucial to earning top spots in search engine rankings, but driving traffic to your optimized pages through social media will cause them to climb faster in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The two marketing methods work hand-in-hand to deliver the best results in a shorter amount of time.
8. You can’t beat the ROI of social media
Traditional marketing platforms such as TV and print media typically require a large budget. With social media, however, you don’t need a huge budget to be successful in your marketing efforts. The brands that thrive on social media are the ones think outside the box, outwit their competition, and consistently produce quality content. It’s not surprising that when you stay in front of your customer base, they are more likely to buy from you when they need the product or service you’re selling. Even if you hire a company or freelancer to manage your social media, the return on investment (ROI) is well worth it because simply posting on social media is essentially free. Every post you make on social media is an opportunity for customers to convert!
The ROI of social media ads is also unbeatable. The average cost per click (CPC) of a Facebook ad across all industries is $1.72 compared to a CPC of $2.32 for Google AdWords. The CPC can be even lower depending on your industry and audience. This begs the question: why would you pay more for each visit when social media ads can make earning that traffic relatively easy?
Social media ads are also highly customizable, thereby allowing you to reach the right audience. Depending on the platform, you can target users by location, demographics, interests, education level, industry, and even their purchase history. You can then retarget your ads to specifically those people who visited your site. To assess the effectiveness of your ads, you can easily track what types of people in your audience actually convert. This isn’t as easy or sometimes even possible with traditional media.
Have we convinced you yet of what a valuable marketing tool social media can be for small businesses? When done right, it can lead to more customers, more traffic, and more conversions. Social media is here to stay for the foreseeable future – so don’t fall behind your competition and reap the rewards as early as you can!