Why Small Businesses Shouldn’t Ignore Social Media – Even If They Could

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When it comes to social media, I suspect that a certain segment of the 55 and older crowd may still have something in common with a successful businessman I recently spoke with.

Intellectually, he knew he should be on social media. He understood he could use it to grow his brand and reach people he otherwise wouldn’t reach.

But somehow, for some reason, his heart wasn’t in it. He just couldn’t get passionate about plunging into the social media game.

And maybe, for him, that’s okay. I mean, do you absolutely, positively have to be on social media to succeed in business today?

Well, perhaps not.

But I also know this. If you forego social media, you’ll be placing limits on what your business will accomplish because you’ll miss out on lots of opportunities. In fact, some potential customers may dismiss you out of hand. And, frankly, there’s really no reason not to do it because setting up social media accounts is free!

This is National Small Business Week and, as a small business owner myself, I thought this would be a good time to explore just how valuable the social media world can be for small businesses.

So let’s start by asking another, more pertinent question. Will social media help your business be an even better success?

You bet! Several months ago the Social Media Examiner released its seventh annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, which showed that more than 50 percent of small businesses say social media helped them increase sales within two years. Stretch that out to five years and 70 percent say they saw sales increase.

If you haven’t taken the social media plunge (or even if you have), let me share a few tips worth knowing from the social media strategists here at EMSI.

  • Don’t sweat your low follower numbers. There’s no need to get too caught up in how many followers you have on social media, at least not right away. Sure, it’s human nature to look at how others are faring and compare their follower numbers to yours. But big-name brands and those who have had a strong social media presence for years have an advantage and a head start. Growth will come if you do the right things – such as posting regularly and responding to comments and questions from followers. If you share something with your followers, it’s likely many of them will share it with their followers – some of whom could be big influencers with huge followings – and that can exponentially extend the reach of your message. In this way, growth will happen organically.
  • Different audiences are in different places. You want to find your potential clients or customers wherever they happen to be. For example, old-fashioned email can be excellent for circulating a newsletter or a sales pitch. But the millennials who work at EMSI tell me that their generation is much easier to reach on social media than through email because they check their personal emails so infrequently. But don’t be fooled, baby boomers are there as well; 64 percent of Internet users ages 50 to 64 are on Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center.
  • Consumers expect your presence. Guess what happens if people go looking for your small business on social media and don’t find you. Up to 30 percent say they likely won’t do business with you. That’s according to a recent Small Business Technology Impact Study by Time Warner Cable Business Class, the cable company’s business services division. That study also showed that nearly 20 percent of consumers surveyed won’t frequent small businesses that don’t respond to comments on Yelp or other review sites. Also worth noting, 46 percent of women say that regularly posting on Facebook is very effective at attracting or keeping them as a customer, while 32 percent of men say that.

Someone recently gave me a great description of social media as it relates to the marketing mix. He called it “word of mouth on steroids.” That was brilliant because that’s exactly what it is. Friends always love to share a great book, a good deal, or a good doctor, lawyer or financial professional they would recommend.

With social media, you take that word-of-mouth aspect of yesteryear and multiply it many times over.

So whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay and you can’t ignore it.

Time to get trending!

Marsha

P.S. If you need professional help with your social media efforts, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215 or click here to get started with your Free Media Analysis.

 

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