Having an online presence for your business isn’t an option nowadays, it’s a requirement for any business that wants to succeed—and it’s particularly important for small businesses to have a good social media presence.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the “big three” networks a business should have a presence on; Facebook sees more than a billion visits per day, Twitter over 236 million active monthly users and Instagram 100 million users per day either uploading or viewing photos.
Other networks to consider depend upon your intended audience. Going for the younger crowd? Make a Tumblr—or even better, a Snapchat. Stay-at-home moms? Pintrest. Business professionals? LinkedIn. If you’re looking to showcase your product or services in a visual format, YouTube can be a great resource. Additionally, YouTube videos can be embedded into most other forms of social media, for a more seamless experience.
Social media might not seem like an important part of a marketing strategy, however according to the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report more than half of businesses who’ve used social media marketing for three or more years have seen an increase in business and 75% report an increase of traffic to their websites after garnering a social media presence.
Having social media makes your business easier for customers to find, and share with their friends. Many potential customers now go to Facebook or Yelp to “test” a company’s legitimacy. If they search for your company and come up empty—or find a page that’s been infrequently updated—they very well may move their business to a competitor’s.
Additionally, a well-kept social media presence can help increase brand recognition and loyalty. If a customer sees your company’s posts regularly, they will be more likely to come to you when they need whatever it is your business offers. It’s also very important to interact with customers via social media; follow them back, respond to comments in a timely manner, send Snaps in return, engage with them rather than just sending out one-way messages into the void. At one time, that was how advertising was done—and it is the image many businesspeople have of advertising. However into today’s world of constant Tweets and comments it’s important to make customers feel like your business cares about their business.
Social media is one of the cheapest forms of advertising—in fact, it’s free in its most basic form, all it requires is a little time and effort. Small businesses without large budgets for advertising can benefit from savvy use of social media.
Finally, by connecting your business’s website to your social media, you can also greatly increase web traffic. Combining key search topics within your social media posts can boost your business’s ranking on Google searches as well.