Social media is ever-present in our daily lives.
From connecting with friends and family to a source of news and information, the various platforms have cemented themselves as go-to's, whether accessed by phone or on a computer.
Pew Research Center, which has been tracking the rise of the medium since 2005 when just 5% of Americans used a social media platform, shows that nearly 3/4th of Americans, ~72%, are on at least one site today.
The scope of adoption and breakneck speed with which it swept the country means social media has also become a vital tool for businesses.
Leveling the playing field and creating huge opportunities for small businesses, in particular, to effectively create an audience, spread their message, and capitalize on it.
Visibility and Brand Awareness
It’s not just the United States, social media has connected and shrunk the entire world.
Statista found that there were 3.6 billion users in 2020 and project that number will rise to 4.41 billion by 2025. That equates to just over half of the earth.
As important as the spread of social is, the ways in which people access it are equally key. Both Backlinko and Statista note that around 99% of users get on these platforms and networks via a mobile device and roughly 80% exclusively use social media on mobile.
In other words, people are carrying marketing messages, potentially yours, with them.
From a business perspective, that means your visibility and reach can be global.
Through the small business lens, it means you can more easily create brand awareness and connect with an audience in ways that traditional advertising simply can’t.
Target Your Ideal Customer
Access to 4+ billion people is a wonderful thing but as a small business, or any size business really, one of the keys to a successful marketing campaign lies in the targeting.
In a talk with CNBC about TikTok, Gary Vaynerchuk – social media & digital marketing expert – hit on a universal marketing truth, “the decision on where to advertise for a small business has to come back to knowing your customer”. Adding that every business needs to start by “reverse-engineering your customer, or the customer you’re trying to get.”
The beauty of social media is that it provides you with highly refined targeting tools that don’t exist to the same degree elsewhere.
Going even further, the social network you choose to use is in itself a targeting choice.
If your customer skews younger, for example, you’d want to lean more heavily on TikTok or Snapchat. With a business catered towards women and moms, Pinterest would be more ideal for your social spending.
Targeting ultimately allows you to talk to your ideal customer where they are.
The New Home of Customer Service
Unlike marketing on TV, radio, billboards, etc., social media goes beyond just advertising and promotion. It’s a decidedly two-way street for communication and people not only can reply to your ads but they’re also able to reach out for support.
And they do.
With in-store shopping still at a bare minimum and many people already preferring to text more than they talk on the phone, social media platforms have become the new frontier for customer service.
In their Customer Experience Trends Report from 2020, Zendesk drove the point home further, adding that 50% of customers would switch to a competitor after just one bad support experience.
Since your customers are by and large already on social, being responsive and available is good for your brand and an affordable solution.
Make Sales on the Platform or Drive Traffic to Your Site
The confluence of social media platforms constantly evolving and businesses needing to pivot, especially now, has led to a rise in what’s called social commerce. Or the selling of products directly through social media networks as Shopify competitor BigCommerce sums up nicely.
While still in its infancy, the ability to buy right through your company’s social pages, like Facebook or Instagram Shops, rather than linking out to an online store is yet another powerful and low-cost tool that social media provides for small businesses.
In the meantime, a well-conceived and executed social media campaign can drive traffic to your site or store.
From advertising to sales to service and beyond, investing in social media is a cost-effective way to help your small business connect with customers, take advantage of emerging trends, and foster growth.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided through Fighting For Small is intended to provide general information only and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. You should seek professional advice before making any decision that could affect your business. All product names, brands, trademarks, and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Use of these names trademarks and brands does not imply endorsement.