It’s no secret that social media is a cost-effective, powerful marketing tool for any size business. The benefits of Social Media for Small Business and businesses of all sizes go well beyond offering a fun way to connect with consumers. Social media, if harnessed properly, can be an opportunity to extend your reach beyond your current consumer base to cultivate brand loyalists who want to connect with your business. Billions of people are on social media all over the world at any given moment. Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with them.
Why Be Social?
Just like having a website, social media channels help create a level of credibility for your business. From the bio to the original content and hashtags, your social channels develop a sense of identity for your brand and help consumers get to know you in a more personal way, day after day. It is not uncommon for consumers to search social media when looking for products and services, and if they see a friend of theirs is a consumer of yours, that connection goes a long way during their purchasing decision. Staying active in your industry is also critical, especially if you work in a space where the competition is building. The last thing you want is for your competitors to have a robust social media presence, leaving your business in the shadows. Likewise, social media provides a great opportunity to monitor competitor activity to see what appears to be working for them. If you notice that infographics is something that receives a lot of engagement on your competitor’s social channels, this is information you can use to improve your strategy. What works for them, could work for you.
Increase Your Reach
One of the most valuable assets of utilizing social media as a business, is the targeting capabilities. Whether you are on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter you can geo-target, target by interest or age and even target by relationships. This capability helps you easily focus the scope of your postings and narrow the reach so the content is being seen by the right people. If you have the budget to put a little money behind the postings, you will see an even bigger increase in your ability to reach and connect with consumers.
Driving traffic to your website and converting that traffic into action is likely your business’s top priority. We don’t just want people to see us on Facebook and like our post. We want them to engage and click through to the content we are sharing. What many small businesses might not know is that social media is a great way to optimize traffic on your website. As you create content to share, you find the opportunity to add content to your website and build new links. This keeps your content fresh and search engines like Google will notice and reward you. Social Media for Small Business is extremely important but not all channels are created equal.
Facebook is one of the most popularly used social media channels. Not only is it a popular channel for individuals, but for businesses as well. Facebook provides an opportunity to build a mini website where your business can share its bio, about story, link to your website, historical milestones, photos and videos, and of course every day postings that represent the brand. With the development of business tools with Facebook marketing, like Facebook Ads, it has become increasingly difficult for brands to reach their audience regardless of how many “likes” your page may have. No longer will the free postings suffice. The good news is, with even a small budget, you can boost your posts and create ads that will help increase your chances of being seen, and with targeting, you can make sure the right people are seeing you. Facebook is highly recommended for all businesses large and small. You can share original content that represents your brand and you can curate content that you think your audience will find interesting. It all ties into cultivating a relationship with your consumers.
The pros and cons of Instagram lie within its intended use. Instagram is all about visuals. Photos and videos that capture the eye and attention of billions of browsers as they surf their feed. Depending on your business, this can present a challenge. Not all products or services are easily captured in a photo or video. Most importantly, the photo or video needs to not only look professional, but it needs to pop which can sometimes require a filter. If you have a beautiful product with an endless image library, then Instagram will be great your business. One limitation of Instagram that is challenging for businesses focused on conversion rates, is the inability to include active links in posts. Aside from your bio link, you will be unable to share active links within the body of your post, unless of course you pay for an ad through Instagram promotion. While this may seem frustrating, Instagram also offers a powerful tool for optimizing your reach. The hashtag helps followers find your content, even if they don’t know you exist. If your hashtags accurately reflect your content, anyone searching for those terms will have the opportunity to find you. Instagram is a fun, creative channel that provides an alternative approach to developing brand loyalists. While website traffic may not directly increase due to your Instagram, it still provides branding benefits to your business.
The one social channel that is frequently discussed in the media, Twitter is another great way to find potential consumers and connect. One of the most unique features of Twitter is that the content can be viewed by non-users. Consumers don’t necessarily have to be a Twitter user to see what you are posting. Hashtags are also important on Twitter and a great way to harness the pre-existing traffic. A major limitation of Twitter is, of course, the character count. Twitter posts aren’t meant to be long and Twitter only allows up to 140 characters. When it comes to creating posts, this can be a bit of a challenge, but it also helps keep your message focused and brief. Active links are allowed and because of the character limit, shortlinks are widely used.
LinkedIn is another great social media platform for businesses, but the intention is much different than the other channels. LinkedIn is used by professionals who are looking to share their career experiences, find jobs and connect with individuals who work in their industry. This channel provides an opportunity to share updates on your business like milestones, achievements and industry-relevant news. While you may not feel a strong connection with consumers on this channel, it is important to have a presence nonetheless.
Google+ is the newest social media channel to the scene. While it may not be widely used by the masses just yet, Google offers benefits to those that have a presence. Your business can share content just like on Facebook, with links and creative assets, but what is unique is that the content you share goes toward increasing your business’s search ranking within Google’s search engine itself. Because of this, many brands are shifting focus to include Google+ in their social media strategy.
The best part about social media is all of the fun tools that have been developed to enhance your experience. From automation tools to listening and analytics, the process can be streamlined and seamless for your business. Of course, having a social strategy will be critical. While social media can be fun, we know it can also be just one more thing on your plate. As a small business owner, it’s ok to ask for help. Visualab Design is here to be your partner and help you navigate the waters of social media strategy to content creation and reporting. If you are looking for Social Media for Small Business today, we can help.