Why Small Businesses Should Use Social Media

Photo Credit: Catalyst Marketers
Photo Credit: Catalyst Marketers

Small businesses are often conflicted about whether or not to invest in their a social media presence for their company. For me, this is a no-brainer: small businesses need to have a presence on at least one social channel to source new avenues for building customer relationships, monitoring competitors and maintaining company image and reputation!

Today, businesses are expected to have both a social media presence and a budding digital footprint as this demonstrates both company credibility and accessibility – which are key traits in today’s social business world. Let’s explore a few reasons why your small businesses needs to “get social!”

1. Tapping New Markets & Building New Relationships: One of the biggest challenges for small businesses today is finding and attracting new customers. According to eMarketer, 1 in 4 people worldwide have a social media profile of some sort, and by 2017, 2.55 billion people globally will be a part of a social network, including 183.5 million Americans. That’s a plethora of opportunity for your business to reach and engage with millions of potential customers!

And small businesses are jumping to get on the bandwagon. A recent study conducted by LinkedIn found 81% of small businesses are now utilizing social media, and of those, 94% use it to create new marketing opportunities. Without social media, businesses lose the opportunity to reach such large, vast audiences.

So the question is no longer if companies should be using social media to gain new customers, but rather, how will you use it to stay competitive?

Spying2. Monitoring Competitor News & Conversations: Social media is the way to be part of industry news and conversations and an even better way to monitor competitor activities and engagement strategies. Are your competitors hosting product giveaways and contests on their social streams? Are their customers participating? Is their Facebook page a press release wasteland?

Checking out competitor streams helps you understand their social marketing and advertising techniques, and based on their successes (or failures!) this helps you create a dynamic social presence for your business and gain the competitive edge! 

Further – and this is most crucial – you’ll discover who their customers are! Social media is the perfect medium for you to tap into the conversations happening between competitors and customers.

You’ll reap all sorts of marketing goodies. Here’s a few:

  • What products do customers enjoy?
  • Which ones are missing?
  • Latest product announcements
  • Is customer service lacking?
  • What are their shipping times?

Their customers are talking about all of this, and it’s yours for the analyzing! Can you risk not utilizing this information?

Rest assured, if you’re not social yet, your competitors are reaping the rewards of your absence!

3. Maintaining image and reputation:

Reputation

Reputation: is there anything more important in business? According to this recent study, 92% of people who search brand reviews before purchasing or utilizing a product trust reviews from people they don’t know! 

Further, the study shows 22% of people who’ve had a bad experience with a company bring their complaints to social media to get results; and complaints have adverse impacts on sales and dissuade customer making purchases. Bottom line: consumers value other consumers’ insights.

Consumers talk to each other about you, which encourages perceptions – good and bad – about your company. So since they’re talking about you anyway, why not ensure you’re in the mix? While you can’t control complaints, you do have a hand in consumer perceptions! “Getting social” helps connect you with your community and manage these perceptions!

Social media allows small businesses to highlight positive consumer reviews and respond quickly to negative ones in real-time, which builds brand loyalty and trust. You run huge reputation risks if you’re not social with your community. Do you really want to miss out on conversations to improve your customer relationships?

Are you risking your business by not “getting social?” Or will you finally take the plunge? Share your thoughts, questions and concerns with me below!

5 thoughts on “Why Small Businesses Should Use Social Media

  1. I agree completely that social media is an important part of the growth of a smal business. Putting the business name out there and gaining new consumers will benefit the business…and for little to no monies. I though about something I saw on Instagram today when reading the part about reputation. Someone had started a page called “Fraud_Fighters on Instagram in relation to a small busniess that is also on Instagram. The company responded to it and was taking action to have it removed. Honestly, it is sad that people do things like this to get attention or to cause problems when there are none. This company wont be impacted by this but the idea that consumers can say/post whatever they like can be detrimental to social success if not addressed appropriately.

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    1. Hi there – so true! These kind of actions can be detrimental to a business if not addressed quickly. There are risks involved with an online presence, but if it’s managed well, the risks should be minimal. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  2. I have found that there are some small businesses that think they will not benefit from creating an online presence for themselves. I completely agree that they need to at least be on there in one outlet or another. For the obvious reasons, it will give the company the opportunity to communicate with the online world and allow consumers to get to know the company. In a world where Googling everything has become commonplace, it is important to make sure that consumers will be able to find you in a Google search. In reference to Reason #2 – it is extremely important to be knowledgeable about the industry. This knowledge comes from following other companies that may be your competition or are simply role models for what you eventually want your company to be. Either way, this networking is crucial to future success.

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    1. Hi Katy, I too am surprised many small (and sometimes larger!) businesses are still reluctant to develop a presence. I have found this thinking is more common in older, more seasoned business owners who do not yet understand the added values having a website, and more commonly a social media presence brings. Thanks for your thoughts!

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