Social media can seem very intimidating, especially if you have never used it in a business capacity. It’s one thing to have a personal account that you use to connect with your friends, but when you are trying to generate leads and build up a brand, it is a whole different ball game. Couple that with all the different platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more, and it is no wonder that many small businesses are hesitant to jump into mix. However, if you are looking to increase your business’s exposure, drive more traffic to your website, interact with your audience, as well as showcase your products/services, then social media may be exactly what you need.
The best part about social media is the price. It is free to set up an account and start posting! Don’t write off how incredible this is for your business. Marketing efforts can often times be very costly, which is a real sore spot for small business owners. It is just not realistic to compete with the big brands out there in the advertising space. It is very unlikely that a small town burger joint is ever going to reach the same audience as McDonalds or Burger King will through commercials or billboards. Social media is the great equalizer. Of course, the big companies have the advantage of established audiences, but any tweet or post or video has the same chance as going viral. Great content leads to great responses. If you have the time, knowledge, and dedication to commit to a social media strategy, you will see results. They might not come quickly, but people can’t ignore quality content. Here are just a few of the benefits that social media can achieve for your small business.
If you are trying to build your contact list and increase your leads, social media is a wonderful tool to reach a wider audience and convert leads. According to HubSpot, “By spending as little as 6 hours per week, over 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media.” With social media, you have total control over how you are portraying your product/service and what you are saying to your audience. By sharing links to blog articles on your site (you have a blog, right?) or just linking back to offers on your website, you increase traffic and have the opportunity to secure leads. The CMO Council states, “Twitter traffic achieves a higher conversion rate (2.17%) than the average for all channels combined (1.6%) including organic and paid search.” Clearly social media needs to be part of your marketing efforts.
The powerful part of social media is its interactivity. Your fans, customers, and even complete strangers are given a place to speak with you directly, and you have the ability to respond. In many ways, social media engagement is more important than your number of followers. As opposed to the impersonal, slow process of email, social media is instant and allows for potential leads to get their questions answered quickly. By responding and engaging with your audience, you increase your brand authority and can delight your customers, turning them into promoters of your brand. A great side effect of this engagement is it bolsters your social media presence and will likely increase awareness of who your company is and why people should pay attention.
Small businesses suffer because they are often lost in the shadows of the giant corporations out there. With social media, you can build your own communities of fans that want to hear what you have to say rather than trying to be heard by those who don’t care. If you put out interesting, entertaining, and informative content, then they people will find you. Just like in Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come.” Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all you need to do is create an account though. Try to post something at least a couple times a week and always respond to people. It is important to come up with a social media strategy eventually, but in the beginning just focus on posting quality content that represents your brand and see what happens from there.
All in all, social media is free and the majority of your audience is already on it. There is really nothing to lose by joining, so no matter how small your business, set up a few social media profiles and good luck!