7 Advantages of social media for small businesses
I was chatting with a photographer last week, he was telling me all about his work so I grabbed my phone to look him up on Instagram. Much to my dismay, he said 'oh I don't bother with all that social stuff'. I think it's fair to say I changed his mind. Half an hour later Phil was downloading Instagram and asking questions about hashtags...
How can my business benefit from social media?
Well I'm glad you asked.
Whether you're opening up a coffee shop, or starting your own cat food business, with a little work and planning, being a business on social media has plenty of advantages...
This is a big topic, but here's a summary of why I think it's important:
1) You can reach new customers
This is probably the main reason as a small business you should opt-in to social.
Unless you have a big fat budget, you're not getting your product or service advertised on tv or in a glossy magazine. Let's face it, you'll be lucky if a blogger will take your product without payment.
Social media has world-wide reach. The bonus is, it's free.
2) Build a community of followers
You've heard about word-of-mouth marketing right? It's been proven time and time again to be the most powerful marketing tool.
It's simple really, if you buy or experience something great, you're likely to tell your friends about it.
Similarly, if you're trying to make a choice between two products, but one has been recommended by a friend, you're going to go with the latter.
Social media breeds communities. Communities that talk about your business.
3) Learn about your customers
Social media is also a tool for engagement.
You can ask your followers questions, listen to their opinions, learn about what your customers want, just by having a conversation.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter also offer some pretty nifty free tools that tell you about the age, gender, location and interests of your followers.
4) Keep up with your competitors
Five to ten years ago this wouldn't have been a valid point. Now, like it or not, your competitors are on social media.
This means they have increased exposure. They're reaching more people than you.
5) Build your brand identity and show off your personality
Customers are researching. They want to know what you look and sound like, and how well that matches with what they're looking for.
To a potential customer, clicking on your social media page is like visiting a physical store and chatting with the owner.
Every social platform has different benefits for branding.
Instagram is perfect for visual brands, Twitter works well for brands with strong personalities, Facebook is great for building communities.
6) Find out what your customers are saying about you
If you're not on social media, you can't defend yourself. Before you know it, a single comment about your business can be shared hundreds, even thousands of times.
If you're part of the conversation, you can stop negative comments from escalating. And if you're really good, you can make even the most difficult customers happy.
Likewise, you want to spread positivity about your brand. You can't do this, without being present and in the conversation.
7) Increase your presence on google
How social media increases your presence is widely debated. But it does.
The long and short of it is: the more popular you are on social media, the more Google likes your website.
Due to their popularity, social media platforms rank very highly on Google. When you own a social page / account, your brand name is part of their URL (e.g. facebook.com/yourbrandname).
So even if your brand is low in Google rankings, when someone searches for you, they're likely to see your social media pages first on Google.
If you'd like to know more, I read a great article about how social media helps search engine optimisation here.
Are you thinking about taking the plunge but don't know where to start?
Or do you have social media profiles but don't know how to make the most of them?
The world of social media can be daunting, but you'll quickly find the benefits outweigh the negatives. If you'd like some straight-up advice on how to get started, get in touch now.