Is Social Media Still Important for Small Business Growth?
The internet is full of statistics regarding social media. Ever since the launch of Facebook, there has been a growing audience for all the forms of social media that have followed. At first, social media was used primarily for posting photos, status updates, and messaging. Now though, it has become a powerful business tool in its own right.
With half the world using social media, and an audience that has grown by 227 million users in the last 12 months, it is no wonder that digital marketers take these platforms seriously. There are currently somewhere in the region of 4.7 billion social media users, meaning that there is a huge potential customer base for any business.
And unlike other channels, social media demands attention. While commercial websites can suffer from high bounce rates, the average social media user spends nearly 2.5 hours a day on their chosen platforms.
How can small businesses use this information, and how essential is social media to them today?
Social media can help build an audience
There is possibly no more effective a way to grow an online audience for a small business than through social media. Any small business can develop an audience or grow followers online this way, but it will take time.
Having a following increases brand awareness, can help to develop trust, and boost conversion rates. Developing an audience can be difficult for small businesses with limited resources though. Agencies such as Blend Mode Digital understand how to grow audiences for small businesses while freeing up time to conduct daily business activities.
Social media is cost-effective
Advertising campaigns can be expensive and prohibitively to some small businesses. Using social media is largely free, and advertising campaigns can be controlled.
There are many different types of social media, and these include photo-sharing sites and blogs. Social networking platforms are where many businesses choose to advertise today though. Facebook for instance offers tools for testing and reporting that help small businesses develop cost-effective campaigns.
Social media reaches a worldwide audience
Small businesses in the past were restricted to local areas to a degree. Before the internet existed, advertising was limited in scope, and small businesses were unlikely to trade internationally.
Now though, even the smallest business can use social media to reach an audience of billions and ship their products overseas.
Your content can be seen easily
Driving traffic to websites can be difficult for small businesses, especially those with limited SEO knowledge. Social media offers varied platforms for content to be found easily and shared.
Around 80% of the companies that use social media today will add and share original content. One of the secrets to business growth is social media activity, and variety. New content will keep your audience coming back, and if it is relevant and fresh it is more likely to be shared.
Advertising can be targeted
Not only is social media advertising considered cost-effective, but it can be targeted effectively also.
Traditional advertising has a certain scatter-gun approach to it. A fashion house can advertise in a glamor magazine, but there is no guarantee that the readers will like that brand. Facebook advertising however, can be targeted at users who have already expressed an interest in your product or similar.
Small businesses today have discovered that an effective budget/spend ratio is 80% for social media advertising, and 20% to boost posts. Facebook is considered the best of the social media platforms for advertising, and 23.8% of budgets is spent there.
Social media can increase conversions
There are differences of opinion on how much social media can affect SEO, but it can certainly help drive traffic. A simple call to action on Facebook or Instagram can drive users straight to your chosen landing page.
A call to action is a highly effective way to nudge your audience toward a conversion. This can be a call to enter a competition, join a marketing list, or visit a promotion on your main website.
Can engage with your consumer base directly
One of the more unique aspects of social media is the ability for brands to engage with their consumer base directly. Small businesses may find it difficult to devote time to this area, but the benefits are vast.
Many brand names have discovered the value of replying to consumers instantly online. Problems can be turned around, and negatives made into positives. Loyalty grows, as does trust.
Employing someone or an agency to handle different aspects of social media including posting content and audience growth, can see a small business grow its online presence rapidly.
Any small business that ignores social media will be doing so at its peril. Not only does social media offer a way to advertise through posts and content for free, but it also allows genuine engagement directly with consumers.
Promotions can be displayed, CTAs used to drive traffic, and a much wider audience can be reached than through other channels. 2023 is likely to see social media become even more important for small businesses as markets get tougher, and new advertising possibilities are sought.