I can’t believe I am writing on this topic. It should make complete sense for any business owner to use the power of social media for promotional and sales purposes. Yet, as you are going to find out, it is not happening in real life.
So let’s look at what is happening in small business world.
While statistics prove growing numbers of users across all social networks, many small businesses remain careful with their involvement, leaving great opportunities at a table for large brands to leverage.
Social media usage
- Over 50% of Canadians are registered to at least one social media platform. (By the way, Canadians spend over 44 hours every month on social media, which is more than any other European or North American country)
- This number is even higher in the USA, where over 81% of users are reported to have at least one social media account.
- Europe is at 54% of registered social media users.
- Statistics in Asia vary depending on location, but South East Asia leads the game with 47% using social media. (Source: We are social)
- In fact, no matter what continent your business is at, chance are that there are people using social media to access information, learn, and connect with the world. (Source: We are social)
With the continuing growth of social media use by consumers, it’s surprising to watch many small businesses to be so hesitant to leveraging its power to grow business profits.
Business usage of social media
Fascinating results came from Statista in October 2017 where we learned that while 54% small business owners consider social media important for acquiring new customers and 49% see the opportunity to increase their revenues, only 38% see potential for event promotions and 18% view online automation like ordering, sales or booking systems as important piece of their business strategy. And don’t get me started with 25% utilizing online recruiting… seriously? (Source: Statista)
Ok, so here’s the question: Can your small business really benefit from social media or will it just be time wasted?
Benefits of using social media
Chances are that you have a social media account for your personal use, but now you wonder whether you need one for your business. Here are just couple reasons you should…
1. Location, location, location
Social media places you right where your customers are. There’s no way around this. Your potential and existing clients are online – talking, searching, asking, recommending… The question is: Do you want to be part of the conversation? Are you ready to put your store right where your potential clients are? Only a fool would say no to such opportunity. Any business owner with sound mind must understand that being in the middle of your ideal clients is absolutely critical… unless you are willing to give your profits away to competitors.
2. The price is right
You pay money to be on networking events, have a booth at that tradeshow or to place advertising in that magazine that has might not even get noticed. Yet, social media is free and you keep ignoring it. Don’t be fooled by the low price. Enjoy it while it lasts!
3. Learn from your target market
There are countless questions being asked on social media each day. People are looking for answers, recommendations, tips and solutions. You can learn a lot while listening to their complaints or requests for improvement or new ideas. Will you take time to listen and then sell them exactly what they asked for? It makes sense to me!
4. Expand your reach
Your store or business doesn’t have to be limited by local customers who live in the area. You can become a go-to place for those who visit your city. If the client pays your travel expenses, wouldn’t you travel across the country? Some time ago I worked with a client who wanted to expand her business beyond the borders of the city where she lived. Of course, social media was a step in the right direction. Within 6 months she was traveling across the US, speaking at conferences, supporting clients using video and her profits grew exponentially. She still continued to support her local clients, but now she had a much bigger audience to reach and support.
5. Stay top of mind with your customers
People are bombarded with marketing messages, ads and emails every day. Your business can either take a hit, pack up and go home or take a stand and choose to remain in front of your customers. Someone smart once told me that it’s our responsibility as business owners to let people know that we are still in business. Don’t count on your customers’ memory!
6. Test new ideas
Instead of going through the long path of developing a new product or service that at the end doesn’t sell, you can throw the idea out and get feedback from your audience. When they love it, you should definitely go ahead. But if the response isn’t exciting, you’ll save huge amount of resources and will be able to move to the next idea much faster.
7. The power of automation
You might not believe in automation, but it works. A great example is Amazon. Look at how much their profits are climbing while they leverage the power of online sales, upsells and fast delivery. We live in the world where speed is everything. Automating your marketing, sales, scheduling and support channels will not only speed up your business, but it will also improve customer satisfaction and grow your profits.
8. Customer engagement and open communication
Communication on social media is faster and people love talking to businesses they buy from. Simple “thank you” for mentioning a great experience at your store can create even more goodwill. Encouraging comments and posts during your event or conference can be a fantastic way to grow awareness about your event. Creating a promotion through sharing images using your products can significantly boost your marketing and sales.
Young people love to work with engaged companies. To attract best employees, create an attractive social media presence and promote your job openings online.
10. Become a thought leader
So many businesses are doing it well. What is the cause that you support? What is your business mission? What is the story about your business? Social media allows you to impact more than just your bottom line. It enables you to share your ideas, principles, values and build a great community of like-minded people. You can show support to local charities or show off how you invest in the next generation. The possibilities are endless…
You don’t have to struggle with social media. I’ll be happy to review your existing social media imprint and offer suggestions and ideas how to improve your engagement, marketing, profits or customer service. Click here to let me know your biggest challenge and we’ll take it from there.
Which of the above benefits excites you the most? What area do you need to improve? Let me know on social media.