Updated: Jan 20
I’ve worked with many small business owners who say, "I know I should be on social media, but it’s so much work.”
I agree. Social media is a ton of work, and if you’re new to a certain platform, there can also be a steep learning curve. But there are also many benefits to being a part of the connected world of social media. So many benefits, in fact, that investing a little time to grow a network is worthwhile and sure to provide a return on your time investment.
Social media is more than posting
If you’re a small business owner or just starting out on a social platform, you should know that social media is more than posting the occasional message. The truth is that effective social media includes a broad spectrum of activities.
Social media is about:
Establishing an identity
Growing brand recognition
Serving your customers
It’s hard to do all this simply by posting a picture of your sale sign once a month. Social media takes a planned strategy; it’s incremental growth over time. Social media takes patience.
The value of social media
If you’re still not convinced that social media could be worth the investment, continue reading for seven ways social media can benefit your small business.
Expand your audience
Social media provides small businesses access to a much larger audience than they could normally reach through traditional marketing methods. Even better, it is a much more economical way to reach a new audience versus direct mail, sponsorships or print advertising.
Social media platforms allow users to target paid ads toward very specific groups of people. Once you succeed with a certain group, create a lookalike audience and grow another new list of people with similar traits. The nice part about social media advertising is that the platform does all the work to find your audience, and most of them will even provide recommendations for optimization after your ad campaign begins running. No more buying outdated email or call lists where you pay for 50% accuracy. You pay per click with social media advertising, so you know you’re getting something for the expense.
Grow brand awareness
One thing I love about social media is that there are many no-cost ways to be involved. Joining groups, commenting on posts, and tagging others in your posts are all ways to expand your reach and grow brand awareness.
Here’s a simple strategy to grow brand awareness on social media.
Join a community or group.
Each day, comment on and interact with other posts in the group.
Once a week, post something informational like a tip or an article (not salesy) - be sure to include an image with your logo or website URL on it.
If you’re consistent, others in your community will begin to recognize your brand as an expert in XYZ topic and will start coming to you for advice or services in regards to that topic.
Remember, a brand is more than a logo and some colors. It’s your tone of voice and how you speak about topics. It’s how you make others feel. Decide what you want your brand to be and represent it 100% of the time on your social channels.
Boost website traffic
Include calls-to-action on social media posts that drive audiences to learn more about your products and services, to contact you, or to visit your store. Make it easy for them to visit your website by including links in your posts. You’ll be surprised how much your website’s traffic will grow once you start driving people there with insightful and engaging social posts on a continued basis.
According to Hubspot data, an average of 18% of a website’s visitors come from social media. Wow, that’s quite a bit - consider what your website traffic could look like with an 18% increase.
Improve customer loyalty
If you talk to a customer once, they may forget you. But, if your brand and message are in front of a customer every week, providing interesting content, you’re much less likely to be forgotten. A repeat customer is much more valuable to a small business than a new one. Constant Contact says repeat customers spend 67% more at your business and are likely to trust you more for larger future purchases.
Referral potential should also be considered when building strong customer loyalty. Are your customers willing to refer your business to a friend? If you improve customer loyalty and post interesting content they want to share with their networks, those best customers can help push referral sales and grow your business as well.
Communicate with customers
Social media has become a news source that many rely on; in fact, 71% of U.S. users rely on social media for some type of news each day. I bring this up because social media can be a reliable and effective channel for sharing news content with your customers. Will your store be closed? Has there been a change in leadership? Did you support a community non-profit? Share your news stories, or anything else worth communicating, with your followers on social media.
You can run a full-fledged marketing campaign through social media. Build a landing page on your website and drive people to sign up for your newsletter, request a demo, or register for your next event. Social media is a fantastic (and cost-effective) way to generate leads for your business.
If you’re not a professional marketer and aren’t quite sure how to set up a social media campaign to generate leads, many social sites offer one-on-one consulting support, or you can contact a marketer such as myself for guidance.
Another way to use social media is to build relationships. If you work for a B2B small business, using a social platform like LinkedIn is an excellent way to meet people through shared connections. Invite contacts to coffee or to attend a focus group session.
Whenever you approach relationship building on social media, you should try to keep it a reciprocal relationship. This means if you take in the content of others, you should also provide content. If you like to receive comments on your posts, then you should comment on the posts of others. Social media only works when there’s a give-and-take of information.
Now that I’ve convinced you that your small business needs social media, I suppose you’re wondering what’s next. Get started by deciding which platform you want to grow first. If you’re new to social media, I recommend starting with just one platform until you get the hang of it.
Here are some other easy tips for getting started:
Find free tools for design and scheduling - I like Canva for design and Buffer and Tailwind for scheduling
Lay out a plan two weeks at a time
Share other people’s content on your channel in addition to your own content
Integrate links back to your website
Don’t be afraid to TRY NEW THINGS!
The world of social media may seem big and scary if you’re not a seasoned user. But, if you approach it with a plan and a sincere desire to build connections and grow visibility for your business, you will see some great results.
If you’d like more tips for marketing your small business, subscribe to the Springbrooke Marketing blog. Thanks for reading!