The Growing Importance of Social Media for Small Business

With the world now connected 24/7, the digital generation is fortunate to have a wealth of powerful, affordable  marketing tools at our disposal. From those that are everywhere, like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, through the less hyped but no less important, such as Linkedin, Google+, and even the humble blog, social media are transforming how businesses market and sell their products and services. The unprecedented levels of access that these platforms provide allow us to connect directly with potential customers and buyers on an individual basis, at a much lower cost than would have been the case even 20 years ago. smartphone social media app icons Even so, many businesses are falling behind the curve when it comes to the fundamentals of social networking and risk being left behind if they fail to update how they market and advertise to customers across these new channels.  

Does Your Business "Get Social?"

Social networking forums are an effective and efficient way of creating a sense of community with customers.  These forums also enable your company to collect important feedback about your products, your services, and your business in general. Social media plays an essential role in how consumers discover, research, and share information about brands and products. In fact, around 60 percent of consumers who research products online, learned about a specific retailer or brand through social networking sites. Active social media users are more likely to read product reviews online. Another  essential use of social media for any business is to keep informed on what competing businesses are doing. It's possible to deduce a wide variety of marketing ideas and competitive position from the info that a competing company or its customers put online, as well as providing vital market information and statistics around an industry as a whole. Getting social holds a number of real benefits for business, especially those who take the time to consider customer opinion and react to what's going on online. [search-tag]

More than Snacks & Selfies!

Social media has become a major part of everyday life. Often these platforms get a reputation for sharing minutiae like lunch choices or shameless selfies, but even so, studies show that over 20% of adults visit a social networking websites every day. With this in mind, few businesses can avoid using social platforms as a catalyst to advertise their products or services. More importantly for small businesses, the stats also show that social media usage and interactions have an immediate and direct impact on consumer-buying choices. As consumers move more and more of their buying online, their shopping behavior changes as well. Subsequently this transforms advertising, the retail market, and global business in general, making social media an important trend to understand and adopt accordingly. Social networks have also been growing in importance as an influence on search results for several years. Now that data availability is so overwhelming and everyone tries to make sense of what they're seeing, personal recommendations become incredibly valuable. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are a gold mine not only for what's popular, but for how real people discuss and describe what they like.  Google and its (distant) competitors have not ignored this. They factor social network signals into how they rank sites small and large, making social media a place where small businesses can somewhat level the playing field with brands on a bigger budget. There's always going to be work to be done to connect effectively with a customer, but updates on most networks appear in the same way regardless of name or reputation, so a business is limited only by its own social savvy and skill at connecting with those it serves. The prominence of social media websites is only going to increase in the upcoming years, so it is quite essential that businesses, especially smaller and lesser-known companies begin to utilize social media sites for marketing and advertising purposes right now. Related: Read more on how to mix your marketing channels here.  

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