Why social media is so important for small businesses
by Max Greene
If you run a small business and want to spread the word about your new products and services, then you may be tempted to advertise in your local newspaper or write a blog post to let people know what you’ve been up to.
But another technique, which is so commonly overlooked by small business owners and entrepreneurs, is social media. Below, we round up the reasons why sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest make sense for your business.
1. Helps to promote your products and services
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of social media is its ability to spread the word about your new products and services. If you run a business selling doggie treats, for example, and you’re on the verge of a new product launch, you could share product teasers on Instagram and Twitter – and then, closer to the launch, you could advertise your new product on Facebook with images and videos explaining its benefits.
The possibilities are endless on social media, and the ability to interact with an audience is priceless. Where else can you get totally free promotion?
2. Boosts your authority
Another significant benefit to social media is authority. If you manage a social account that shares news and valuable information about your industry, then people interested in your industry will be likely to follow you – and attribute some of the authority that the news and updates you share back to your business. Buffer rounded up a great guide to building your authority on social media if you’re just starting out, with tips including building trust, being patient and improving the aesthetics of your profile to make your account appear more professional.
3. Opens your brand to a new audience
Social media is unique in its ability to form micro-communities and audiences based on interests and professional objectives. Whatever industry you work in, you’ll be able to find an established place to share your ideas, post content and interact with other people. Solicitors, for example, could join small business groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to offer free advice and share their special offers; nurseries and playschools could piggyback on the success of ‘free days out’ social media handles, tweeting and Instagramming interested parties and suggesting that they check out their profile. The possibilities to reach and grow an audience are truly endless.
4. Drives referral traffic to your website
If you write a blog or have content-filled pages, then social media can be a great way to get more people to click back through to your website. This is a great way to capture the attention of potential customers; when they click through, you could share a special offer, promotional code or ask them to sign up to your mailing list so that you can market your products through email.
One of the best ways to increase the amount of referral traffic on your website is to schedule posts in advance using tools such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite. These tools are free, and allow you to prepare up to a month’s’ social media content in one go – so you don’t have to worry about logging on to your accounts every day of the week. If you are going to go down this route and schedule posts in advance, be aware of the dangers of social media automation.
5. Improves your customer service
In the past two years alone, customer service interactions on Twitter have increased by more than 250% – a clear sign that today’s digital-savvy consumers want to be able to speak to their favorite brands online. And social media is a great way to do it – it’s free, and you don’t have to worry about expensive phone lines or customer service software packages. Simply respond to customer comments and complaints as and when they come in, and consider training up a couple of members of your staff in the basics so that they can respond when you’re not around.
There’s no doubting the benefits of social media for small businesses – the hardest part is often getting started and building an audience. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get social.
About the Author
Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing, a marketing agency specializing in content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimisation.