How Social Media Is Changing Small Businesses
Attention small business owners, take note. If your business isn’t on social media, it’s missing out — big time. According to a study recently released by LinkedIn, 91% of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) use or plan to use social media. In other words, if your business is not on social, chances are your competition is. So before you decide to skip out on social media, take a look at some of the advantages it can give your brand.
First and foremost, being present on social media gives businesses a landing page that their customers (and potential customers) can use to interact with them directly. Whether people are looking for answers to their questions or attempting to learn more about a particular company and its industry, businesses can seize this opportunity and create a competitive advantage over related businesses that are not as active or visible on social.
Social media gives businesses a place to field their customers’ questions, comments and concerns in a public setting. While this aspect of social media may intimidate some businesses, it can be seen as a way for brands to demonstrate their expertise while showcasing attentive customer service. As well, if handled professionally, addressing negative feedback can (potentially) help to win back a brand’s unhappy customers.
Being present on social gives brands the opportunity to share industry-specific knowledge that current and potential customers are scouring the Internet for. People want to do business with experts. Therefore, businesses should make it a priority to push out content that is both helpful and specific. Doing this effectively can help brands gain the trust of consumers, an important element of social media success.
Building Relationships & Keeping Connected
Establishing beneficial relationships on social networking sites isn’t as simple as gaining new “Likes” and followers, but when companies play their cards right, their online following has the potential to serve their brands well. By actively participating in conversations taking place in relevant online communities, brands can build new relationships as well as sustain those already in existence. “Cultivating online relationships with those who have a varying degree of influence in your industry should be top priority,” says Eric Burgess, Social Media Director at Multi Marketing Corp. “Building relationships with as many people as you can, after all, is the social part of the business you’re in. The more you get people hyped on your brand or cause, the more they’re willing to help you tell the world about it.”
While building a successful social media presence for your business will likely not happen overnight, taking the time to establish a community of followers and brand loyalists can help to boost the overall reputation of your business in ways that traditional marketing cannot. Are you an owner of a small business? If so, let us know below if you love using social media for your business and what your favorite platform is!