What Social Media Means for Small Business

Does social media matter for small business?

Does social media matter for small business?

If you have a small business, you know how hard it is to do the million and one things you need to do daily. You wear so many different hats and juggle many balls. I bet you are thinking that having a social media presence is just one more thing that you don’t have time for, right? You probably also think that tweeting and posting are a waste of time and energy too. Well, let’s talk a little bit about it.

The way customers interact with small business has changed dramatically over the years. They now want to interact and engage with these businesses digitally. That means they are looking to connect on social media using their mobile devices. It is crucial that small business owners deliver on this type of experience.

In a Microsoft survey, customers polled said they still want to connect with businesses in-person but they also want to connect with them through their website, social media and email. They are also expecting a faster response rate than in years prior. 85% said that it is important that a business responds in a timely manner no matter which method they choose to connect with that business, and that means in less than 24 hours.

Social media is a great tool to help engage your audience and to carry on those conversations. Short bursts of information to educate your following is a great way to build those relationships. When your following wants more information, they will click through to your website where you can further inform, educate or advise them. A “call to action” on your website is a must! What is a “call to action”? It is something on your website that you are directing people visiting to do such as “sign up for our newsletter” or “register to receive weekly coupons”.

The simple fact of the matter is that every business needs to have a presence on social media. Whether you are just someone selling your crafts on Etsy or a well-established business with employees, social media should play an integral part in your marketing efforts.

Where to begin in the vast world of digital marketing? Start by asking your customers and clients what social media platforms they like the best or use the most. Are they always on Facebook? Maybe Twitter is their platform of choice. Do you have products, or offer a very visual type of service like landscaping, power-washing or jewelry design? The social media sites that rely on photos like Pinterest and Instagram should be on your radar.

OK, I know you are starting to feel overwhelmed already. Don’t! Just start with one platform and get good with that. Once again, ask your customers and clients what they want to see or know about. Ask them when and where they would be most comfortable viewing your posts.

If you have some of your profiles or pages already set up but haven’t used them in a long time, you don’t have to start all over from scratch. Revisit the pages, update and revise the information there if needed and start posting again! Don’t forget to make it conversational. It is called “social” media for a reason. Ask questions, give value, make it personal. People want to see the person or people behind the brand. Also, don’t be so serious! Humor is one of the best ways to engage with your following.

If you are still not sure what social media platforms you need, or should be on, here is the run down on demographics for some of the more popular sites:

Facebook: Most used by ages 25-54 although other ages are well represented. The best platform to have more social conversations. It has also stepped up its video features where you can broadcast live.

Twitter: Most used by ages 18-44. Perfect for frequent, short bursts of information. You can attach pictures and video too.

LinkedIn: Most used by ages 25-54. Here’s where you keep it very professional. No cute cat videos and the like. It all business here.

Instagram: Most used by ages 18-34. Here it’s all about the pictures and the hashtags. Do you have a visual business? Here is where you want to be, along with…

Pinterest: Most used by ages 25-44. Another very visual platform used mostly by women, although every year the guys gain some ground.

Snapchat: Most used by ages 18-24 at a whopping 47% of users and I am sure that number is even larger if we include the 18 and under crowd.

My recommendation to small business owners is to start with Facebook unless you are aiming for the 24 and under crowd. It is the largest and most used social media platform. Why not tap into all that?

Patricia Singer is the owner of Follow Me Social Media Consulting. She works with individuals, small and mid-sized businesses, helping them navigate and market using the numerous social media platforms. For all the latest regarding social media be sure to connect with Patti on all the social media platforms and visit her website at www.BestToFollowMe.com

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