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We explain why small businesses need social media and how they can use it to grow online.
If you’re a small business and you’re not using social media, you’re missing out on a whole world of opportunities.
Whether you’re a technophobe, not sure where to start, or you’ve tried it all and lost steam, using social media for your business could benefit you in many different ways.
Social media is fast-becoming the main source of all news and marketing for most people in the Western world. In fact, the average personhas an account on more than 9 different platforms. Not only that but on average we each spend over 2 hours on social media each day. If you want to reach people, social media is the place to be.
Take a look at why we think small businesses need social media…
The best part of social media marketing, for the vast majority of cases, is that it is free and relatively easy to use. Becoming a master of social media and building a large following can take a lot of time and effort, but getting your business’ social media off the ground shouldn’t be too strenuous.
Imagine having the freedom to promote your business to the world for free. Perfect, right?
Build brand recognition by getting your name and branding in front of people. This is where consistent use of your chosen platform is key. The more you use it, the easier it will be for people to grow familiar with your image and/or message.
Most consumers will go to social media if they want to know more about you. 50% of consumers say they follow brands on social media if they want to learn more about products and services. So make sure they can find what they are looking for!
If you're unsure which platforms are the most beneficial or which tools suit your needs, take a look at this brilliant definitive guide to social media tools on Bulk.ly for everything you need to know.
Building a real human connection with your customers can be difficult when you’re just a logo on a screen. Make it easier for people to relate to you by showing some personality as well as the people behind the business.
Taking the time to read messages or posts about your business, and engaging with people on social media makes your customers feel valued and appreciated. In the long-run, social media can help you retain customers and build long-term relationships.
In order to collect marketing research about your target audience, you may need to hire an agency and pay a fee to access insights that are available to you on social media for free.
With the correct (and privacy compliant) approach you can gain valuable insights into your audience simply by interacting with your followers. Social media offers unrestricted access to real and raw feedback that can help aid business development. You can see where your followers are, what they do and what they like, and utilise this information to inform future business decisions.
Engaging in social listening can help you discover what the perception of your brand is, what tone and language your target audience is using and therefore, what you should be posting to appeal to them.
Potentially the biggest benefit of social media is the opportunity for nurturing an audience on a global scale.
More than 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily.
There’s a reason why ‘viral’ content is so sought after, going viral could result in your business reaching millions of people and garner attention that other forms of marketing cannot even begin to compete with without a substantial budget.
Finding content to post on your website or social media can take time and effort to prepare, but what if you could get readily-available content for free?
User-generated content is material created by users. This could be images, stories, reviews, testimonials, videos etc... all created by your audience. Instagram is a great place to harvest this content as user’s can tag you or specific hashtags in their posts. You can simply repost these images (with credit to the original poster) onto your own account and not only have you engaged with your audience, but you’ve got content without having to create it yourself.
Competitions and giveaways are a fantastic way to encourage user-generated content and increase your reach.
Do you have a blog you regularly update or new products? Sharing links back to your website can drive traffic to pages you want to promote.
Referrals in the form of links and shares can increase your traffic significantly. It’s been reported that Instagram represents 10.7% of social referral share to e-commerce siteswhich is the highest in every social media network except Facebook.
A report has found that 21% of consumers prefer to message a brand on social media rather than calling up the customer service.
Managing your customer support on social media is a great alternative to (or can work well in tandem with) traditional customer service systems.
Your replies are (usually) viewable on your profile which can act as a point of reference for other customers looking for the same solutions.
If you pride yourself on great customer service this can be a good place to show your skills.
We get it, reviews and replies that can be viewed by the public can be stressful, especially if they’re negative.
Reputation management is something that a lot of businesses hope they never have to think about, but it comes with the territory and being active on social media can be an advantage.
Quick and professional responses to unfortunate circumstances or misunderstandings can do a world of good for your reputation. Not only does it show that you care, but you’re able to set any misinformation straight.
Businesses that ignore issues often find themselves falling out of favour in comparison to those that aren’t afraid of taking public accountability.
So now that you’ve boosted the traffic to your website, increased reach, engagement and activity, you should be on track to see a boost in your sales!
By nurturing the trust you build through your online presence, your audience will be more likely to choose you over competitors and recommend you in the future.
By putting the points we’ve recommended into action, you should be well on your way to mastering your social media!
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