Social media has completely changed the online landscape and the world and has propelled many companies to great success. Perhaps the segment that can have the most success is the small business that uses social media effectively. Social media presents ample opportunities that small businesses have not seen previously by any other media outlet, simply because of the massive potential consumer base available through social networks.
Right now, if there were a room of 100 people, 80 of them would in some capacity be connected with and through social media. Now, imagine you are a small business owner. You have ten people in your store. Eight of them are connected with and through social media. If you have a limited budget for marketing, where would you spend it? Would you spend it on ads on coffee cup lids or advertisements that ride around on the side of a bus? Or would you spend your money creating a marketing campaign on Facebook that has a potential audience of over 800 million users? That’s what I thought…
Increase in Audience Reach
Historically, small businesses could never reach the kinds of widespread audiences that larger companies and corporations could. Social media allows small businesses to reach consumers in other cities, states, and even countries. With social media, a consumer’s geographical location is not an obstacle as long as the product or service offered by the company can get to the consumer. Many of the setbacks and limitations small businesses faced in the past have been lifted as a result of the utilization of social media outlets.
Consider hiring a social media agency to help.
Increased Traffic and Sales
If a social media strategy is well thought out and executed there are countless opportunities for small businesses. Brands have great success on Facebook, based off of their clever and compelling designs that draw in new customers to “like” the brand’s page. The more “likes” a company or brand page has, the more traffic will come to the main site. There will also be an increase in the number of people in the audience that a company is able to “touch” through its social media interactions. Increased traffic to a company or brand’s social site will drive more traffic to its main website as well, and hopefully in turn drive up online sales.
Some important statistics:
- There are now more than 800 million active Facebook users, with over 200 million added in 2011.
- Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S. website.
- Over 80% of all Americans use a social network.
- Over 80% of LinkedIn users are decision-makers in their organization.
- Twitter has over 200 million users.
- There are over 230 million tweets per day.
- Approximately 40% of social media users access their accounts through mobile devices.
- Nearly 23% of online time is spent on social networks.
(Statistics from the Social Media Examiner)
This means there is over 800 million audience members almost constantly available. Social Networks also provide a unique forum for consumer feedback unavailable anywhere else.
Avenue For Direct Customer Feedback
People feel comfortable to share their ideas and opinions on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. A Facebook Group or Company Page offers a place for consumers to share news and feedback with companies in a way they normally would not. Companies are more likely to get information for a survey or constructive criticism through Facebook than if the company sent something via e-mail or regular ground mail. Consumers feel more compelled to give feedback and more like they are voluntarily interacting to help improve a company they like through social media outlets.
Greater Marketing Opportunities
Because of the large audiences a company page can accumulate through Facebook and other social media sites, the marketing opportunities are almost endless. With over 80% of Americans using a social network, it would be foolish of any small business to not take advantage of the opportunities that lie in social networks. Consider hiring a social media agency to help.
Important Small Business Social Media Statistics
- 78% of business executives surveyed said social media is critical for success.
- 50% of small business owners use social media.
- 45% of small business owners believe social media will be profitable in the next year.
- 4% of small business owners say they could not do without social media as a marketing tool for their company.
The bottom line: Small businesses need to take advantage of everything social media has to offer to help build their brand, increase sales and audience, as well as compete in the changing marketplace.
It’s not a fad. It’s here to stay!