Despite having a marketing budget the size of a small nation’s GDP,
Coca-Cola utilizes free social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote their brand; frequently uploading fresh content to their respective pages and expeditiously responding to consumer’s questions and comments. Why would Coca-Cola do this when they have renowned success in traditional Print, TV, and Radio marketing? Coca-Cola executes traditional marketing so well that they have managed to make their brand identity synonymous with the one thing every living person on earth desires- happiness.
So Why Social Media?
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Social media marketing works. It’s the most cost effective way to reach millions upon millions of people across the entire globe, gaining loyal, lifelong customers along the way. Hey, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. There’s not a company in the Fortune 100 that doesn’t have some form of an active social media presence.
Read these 2014 Social Media Stats to see how astronomical social media’s growth has become.
But social media doesn’t work only for the Big Dogs like Coca Cola, Walmart, or Ikea- companies with well-established top-of-mind brand recall. Social Media is equally effective for small businesses with limited resources and constrained means to engage consumers on a larger scale. Remember, social media accounts are free to set up (it does cost money to boost your brand’s profile, but that’s a whole different rabbit hole), and maintaining the account requires little more than someone to constantly check it and respond to people when the situation requires. In other words, a millennial teenager could do the job.
With no substantial upfront investment required and its relative simplicity, social media is the small business owner’s dream marketing tool. No wonder 94% of small business owners currently use social media (read more on How Small Businesses Use Social Media).
Your competitors are most likely on Instagram right now, posting fancy photos in vintage filters, garnering “likes” at breakneck speed. In today’s hyper-connected, instant-feedback world, an actively engaged social media presence can be the difference between sinking and swimming for a small business. Below are four reasons why you should make your small business social media savvy:
1. Interaction online increases Trust in your brand.
According to HubSpot, 92% of marketers agreed that social media is important for their business, up from 86% in 2013. Social media is a way for potential clients to gain an understanding of your brand’s values. If you aren’t on the major social media channels, your small business may come across as unprofessional or untrustworthy to those who use the Internet to authenticate a particular business.
By being active on major social media sites and sharing positive interactions with other users, you are gaining their trust and demonstrating your reliability. Social media is also a great platform to answer questions or inquiries from potential customers aboutyour business. The users you interact with may not need your product today, but when they do they will remember you if you’ve solidified a place within the social media community.
See also: Free Apps For Productivity: IFTTT
2. Your major competitors are already using social media marketing.
Forbes reports that 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media. Social media marketing is effective and low-cost, so businesses are using it- even ones with marketing budgets that permit traditional communication methods. But in the small business world, the marketing field is more leveled– chances are your competitors (big and small) are making connections with those in your target market and steering your potential clients in their direction. To keep up with the competition (or even scope them out), a small business should be learning to harness the power of effective social media marketing.
3. Social Media means Repeated Exposure for your Brand
95% of marketers who use social media at least 6 hours per week indicated that their social media efforts increased exposure for their business, according to HubSpot’s marketing ROI stats. If you believe in the marketing philosophy that it takes six to eight exposures to a product before a customer decides to buy, you need to make not just a good first impression, but a strong second, third, fourth impression as well.
When you are active on social media, you are repeatedly exposing your brand to potential clients through creative platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook (there are many others, but these are the most prevalent).Not every post will be a sales pitch, but more a reminder of your brand and what you do- enough to start making an impression. Social media also helps to shorten the time between exposures, which could be mimicked in your sales cycle to reap profits in a shorter period of time.
4. Savvy social media marketing will increase traffic to your website and increase sales.
While it may seem like social media platforms are coming and going like Zara’s fashion trends, they are much more than a passing fad and have proved effective in gaining traction in building brand loyalty.
Their power in swaying potential consumers is substantial- for example, 47% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest.
If half of all U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on Pinterest, imagine the potential when you throw in the other major social media sites like Facebook orTwitter. Forbes’ article on the importance of social media marketing points out that 80% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing efforts increased traffic to their websites. If people are interested enough to click through to your website, chances are they are interested in the product or service that your small business offers.
See also: Pinterest Tips For Businesses
For Small Businesses, Social Media Marketing provides the most Bang for your Buck.
When small businesses have limited resources, the Vertical that normally takes a financial hit first is marketing- after all, what’s the point of promoting a product or service if there’s no operational capacity to scale up?
But the great thing about social media marketing is that it’s low cost and exposes your brand to literally millions of potential consumers. In this day and age, where every major brand has an online presence, not participating in social media could be the beginning of the end for your brand. And the number of customers reached per marketing dollar spent is better than any TV commercial. Not every company can have an ad during Superbowl’s halftime .