Facebook started out as a platform in which college students connected with the opposite sex. Twitter began with stream-of-consciousness commentary on the average person’s daily life. Not too long ago, Pinterest was a conduit for crafters to share their masterpieces. But many small business owners have discovered that social media is also a robust marketing tool.
If you are still on the fence about social media marketing for your business, here are five reasons why you should be posting—each supported by facts and figures from reliable sources:
1. Your Competitors Are Doing It According to e-Strategy Trends, 92% of small businesses view social media as an effective marketing tool. Jayson Demers of AudienceBloom says that social media is fast becoming a necessity not a luxury, with businesses recognizing the need to integrate their social efforts with their content strategy. Those who do so are realizing ROI in in terms of lead generation, referral traffic and revenue.
2. Find and Connect with Customers—Where They Are Word of mouth has always built small businesses. Social media provides the means to do that on a grander scale. Your prospects are using social media to find and share recommendations on products and services. Techi.com states that half of all users under age 35 follow their friends’ recommendations. Also, 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users buy from the brands they follow online. The fastest growing age group going social? Forty-five to 54-year-olds. Fifty-five percent of Americans falling into this category have a profile on at least one social media platform. Forty-seven percent of Americans say that Facebook has the biggest impact on their purchasing decisions.
3. Be Part of the Conversation As you read this, real-time conversations are happening on every social media platform. These conversations are defining your market—perhaps even your brand—whether you participate or not. Social media offers you an opportunity to help shape the conversation; get people talking about a problem your business can solve. Quora is a great platform for discovering what questions are puzzling your potential customers. Users post questions and receive vetted answers from experts. Be that expert and become the solution.
4. Content Is King To stay viable online you have to keep the conversation going. New content generates new topics to talk about. Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are where you and others can share your content. A blog connected to social media channels is an ideal tool for integrating your online marketing efforts. In fact, a survey by Technorati found that consumers rank blogs as the third largest influence when it comes to purchasing decisions. If you don’t have one, you should.
5. SEO Juice Keywords are not as important as they used to be. New Google algorithms have placed social media front and center in the fight for search engine placement. Social signals—links from someone’s social network page to your website—have a significant impact on how high you rank on the search engine results page. It pays to be popular.
Does social media take up a lot of time? Yes. Is it worth the investment? Absolutely. Given the forecasted marketing trends, it may be more costly to avoid social media than to participate. Many small businesses are turning to firms that specialize in social media marketing to help them create effective campaigns that realize tangible returns on investment in terms of increased awareness, conversion rates and sales.