We interact with small businesses on a daily basis. Think about the local shops you see or hear about every day. I know personally, I pass by shops, restaurants and other small businesses on my way to and from work. I love to support small, local businesses and like to shop and eat locally. But, I’m sure being a small business owner isn’t easy. The growth of the big box stores and chains has to make it difficult at times. The market is tough and a small business owner has to do all they can to compete and stay relevant in this growing and ever-changing market.
For business owners, I believe one of best ways to stay in touch and stay relevant with your audience is through social media. Personally, I follow a bunch of local businesses to stay up-to-date on sales, events, specials and reviews that are posted on their page. Personal favorite of mine? Seeing a Trivia Night event pop up on my local bar’s Facebook. Or seeing a Taco Tuesday night special…can’t say no to that! If a business can create a large following and keep up engagement on their Social Media pages, they could have a better chance of being successful and hopefully can turn that engagement into sales and business. I found a great article on Forbes highlighting the importance of social media use with small businesses. As Gerri Detweiler talks about in his article, “Social media can be a great way for small business owners to connect with prospects and customers. Done right, it can make sales skyrocket” (Detweiler, Forbes). Check out their 10 social media tips to help your business succeed.
Staying relevant on your social media platforms and keeping up the engagement from your followers will help even more people find your site and engage with you. I’ve also seen many people on Facebook ask for recommendations on where to host showers/events, good places to eat, etc. It’s super easy to tag a social media site of a local business and easy for the person to click into it and check your site out. Think of the people who share posts on social media, or even like or comment on something and it shows up on your own news feed. Since people can be led to your site at any time, you’ll want to make sure it’s relevant and is posted on frequently. I like or follow pages that post frequently or give deals, otherwise what’s the point in following them? You need to add value and make them want to follow you! “Sherpa Marketing found that more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities. On Instagram alone 80 percent of people follow at least one business. If you’re not taking advantage of social, you’re missing out on a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to reach almost half the world’s population.” (Newburry, Hootsuite). People like to follow businesses. It gives them a chance to see the latest and greatest offerings and other fun things you’re posting about.
As you can see in the image above, Hootsuite performed a study identifying internet and social media users around the world. Such a wide variety of an audience waiting to follow your small business!
I want to highlight a FEW important reasons you should be using social media for your small business growth.
1. Engagement! Engagement! Engagement!
With smaller businesses, it can be crucial to keep up with engagement on all social media pages. With a smaller amount of followers (compared to larger, corporate brands or chains) engaging with your audience should be easy. If a customer or potential customer has a question, complaint or compliment, you should respond to them in a timely fashion.
2. Inexpensive Marketing Opportunity
Social media is an inexpensive option to market to your customers or potential customers. You don’t need to invest a large amount of money into a marketing budget. Social media can help you build your brand with little cost.
3. Personalize your Brand
“To connect with customers—and potential customers—you’ve got to show the human side of your brand. How are you embracing your brand values?” (Newburry, Hootsuite). As a local business owner, you want to be able to show your customers that you can connect with them on a personal level. You’re more than just a business. I love being at a local shop or restaurant and the owner comes out and talks to their customers. It makes the experience personable every time.
4. Stay top of mind
Many people check their social media accounts multiple times a day. Sometimes I’ll be checking my social media accounts and see an ad for a food special or an ice cream treat that looks good and that’s all it takes to get me to get off my couch and go visit that shop or restaurant. You don’t want people to forget you or what you’re offering. Make sure to post often so you stay relevant and top of mind.
Using social media platforms, the right way can have a positive impact on your brand, sales and overall business. I highly recommend that all small or local business do their research, find their target audience, and start building their social media presence.
Newberry, Christina. “23 Benefits of Social Media for Business” Hootsuite.com https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-for-business/. Accessed January 27, 2019.
Detweiler, Geri. “10 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed” Forbes.com