How Social Media Helps Small Business
Many small businesses are afraid of social media. Just think of all the companies that ban internet usage and Facebook usage and you’ll understand what I mean.
What these companies and businesses don’t realize is that social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN can create powerful brand awareness, advertising and customer relationships among other things.
To the average person who doesn’t use the power of the internet, Facebook can seem like a big waste of time. As with anything, this can be true, however think of Facebook as a virtual networking party…without the cocktails. Small business owners develop a base of business from referrals. Social media like Facebook allows you to take your referral base and multilply that by 100.
The power of Facebook is within the social network of your customers. If a customer “likes” your fan page, leaves a comment or shares an interesting article you provide. That piece of information is shared throughout their network of friends. If done consistently and over the long term, this can become a great source of leads for mom and pop businesses and local companies that don’t have the marketing dollars that companies like McDonalds, Amazon and Walmart have. Here are a few things to consider about how social media can help your small business:
1. Businesses engaging with customers on Facebook build loyalty and drive word of mouth. With approximately 9 million small businesses on Facebook, it is becoming more important for small business owners to develop a social strategy that differentiates them from their competitors online. Connecting with fans who are current customers not only builds loyalty, but also increases the chance that they will recommend the business to their friends. And as 51% of potential consumers who fan a business page become purchasers, friend recommendations can be a great boost for business.
2. Special deals and offers are the top reasons consumers follow a brand on Facebook. About 37% of consumers stated that special offers and discounts were the main reason they followed a business on Facebook. Offering incentives is a great way to reward followers, creating an engaged community and developing a dynamic Web presence.
3. Social Media Experts can help take the burden off building and managing social media pages. From a small business owner’s perspective, the low cost and small amount of work to run a social media page are the top reasons to create a social media presence. However, as the research shows, one of the main reasons small business owners don’t comment or respond to fans is because they don’t have the time. Not only can hiring a social media expert help you grow and maintain a social presence, provide strategic thinking, manage online reputations, and potentially increase sales, it also allows small business owners to do what they are experts in – their business.
How has social media changed the way you connect with your consumers? Let us know in the comments!