People use social media networks for many different reasons: to socialise, to obtain information, to sell products, to relax, to be entertained, to broadcast opinions, to simply pass the time. In essence social media has become an extension of our ‘real’ life.
Social media networks are part of daily life. Fact. If you don’t believe me take a look at the stats:
- 23% of Facebook users check their accounts more than 5 times a day
- 80% of users ‘like’ to connect with their favourite brands on Facebook
- Since the dawn of Twitter there have been 163 billion Tweets (Jan 2013)
- On average there are 5,700 tweets per second on Twitter
- 34% of marketers have generated leads on Twitter
- 625,000 people join Google+ every day
- 40% of marketers use Google+
- 80% of Pinterest users are women
- 57% of Pinterest users interact most with food related pins (with chocolate top I’m certain!)
I love social media. I’ve used it for years. I remember posting a status update on my wall whilst on honeymoon in Obergurgl, Austria, in 2008 – much to the horror of my Facebook friends. ‘Haven’t you got anything better to do?!’ was one of the startled responses. Well, it wasn’t all about being loved up and snowboarding – I still wanted to feel connected to my friends and family at home.
These days it’s normal for people to tweet in the hospital delivery room, post a status update waiting for the bride to come down the aisle, to upload a You Tube video just before the authorities arrive. My post-nuptial Alpine update now looks dull in comparison!
Social media pervades everything – every nook and cranny of our public and private lives. As such it has become a useful marketing tool for businesses. As the internet opened the high street for business 24/7-365 social media took these businesses into the world’s living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms.
Whether or not you, the small business owner, plan to ever use social media to promote your business you should at the very least give it some thought. Here are some reasons that could help you decide:
Social media extends your influence far beyond your shopfront or office. It offers SME owners the opportunity to attract customers they would not normally be able to reach. It used to be enough just have a website but customers are increasingly utilising social media channels to research and discover new products and services. Using social media to introduce your business to new customers, to talk about important topics in your industry and showcase your products and services will attract interest and attention you’ve never had before.
Share the love
Social media isn’t just concerned with attracting new customers it’s also about keeping in touch with your old customers. It’s the perfect medium for developing the relationship with your existing customers. Where else can you chat, share information and suggest new products and services to them? This is especially important with the busy lives we all lead – it’s almost impossible to pin people down for in-person meetings these days.
If customers had a good experience with you they are more likely to mention your business online – they may even suggest you to friends and family. They can help grow your business without even realising it – it’s like a personal recommendation – priceless!
Don’t be alarmed but, chances are, people are already talking about your business online. Social media is a platform for free speech so people discuss things – good and bad – online. Maintaining a social media presence on a regular basis will help you monitor what’s being said. Being able to respond quickly when people are discussing your business offers a great opportunity to win new business whilst preserving and promoting your online reputation.
What a display!
Social media is your shop window to the world and you can use it to showcase your products and services! It is a great way of launching promotions and special offers exclusively for your online followers, developing that special relationship with them. Online offers also have the potential to attract new customers – people love exclusivity and will want a slice of your pie.
Shout about it
The above reasons to use social media all have something in common – they are free – but publicity for your SME through social media can be stepped up a gear and reach a whole lot further. Many social media channels offer affordable easy-to-use advertising solutions giving your SME the potential to reach highly targeted markets of your choosing. Facebook offer a straightforward and cheap advertising app and Twitter has just jumped on the bandwagon with sponsored tweets, chargeable on a pay-per-click basis.
OK, so what’s in it for (S)ME?
Whilst all the above are great reasons to use social media the most common explanation for not using it to promote an SME is because the owner simply doesn’t have time. And why should they? They are busy doing what they do best and I, for one, wouldn’t want it any other way.
So many SME owners have already turned jack-of-all-trades just to keep their business running profitably and legally they can’t spare the time for the ‘fluffy stuff’ such as advertising, networking and social media marketing. However, just because an SME owner can’t spare the time for social media marketing doesn’t mean they don’t see the value in it.
Social media is free but, as an SME owner, your time is not. That’s where I come in.
If you choose me to manage your online social media presence I will meet and discuss your marketing strategy with you so I understand where you are and, more importantly, where you want to go. Armed with a good understanding of you and your business I’ll select the social media channels best suited to your business and set up profiles if they don’t already exist. If they do, I’ll fine tune them to ensure they project a consistent and professional persona across all channels.
If you’re interested I’ll be delighted to show you around each social media platform – after all, it’s a platform for your business. You’ll be updating me with your business activities – news, photos, offers and promotions – on a weekly basis but it’s always handy knowing how to upload a picture or post a status update – for those moments when you just have to shout about it!
After that we’re good to go and, in social media terms, the rest is up to me. We’ll keep in touch with weekly updates and I’ll provide monthly reports to illustrate the impact your social media presence is making.
Whichever way you look at it social media is a time consuming process but with an experienced, trustworthy and professional marketer like me to show your SME to the world it is definitely worth it.
You carry on doing what you do best and I’ll do what I’m best at – but I’ll be doing it for you.
With contracts starting from just £40 per week (minimum 3 month contract) how can you afford not to give it a try? Click here to contact me.
By Tori Smith, Stori’s founder, blogger and social media know-it-all.