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Why Your Small Business Must Be Active on Social Media in 2017

Participating on social media platforms for your business is no longer a question of “if” but “when.” Whether you have a large marketing budget or a small one — there’s not much that has the reach of social media.

When you jump into social media marketing, it’s important to know how much time to invest in it. Too little, and nothing will come of your efforts. Too much, and its counter-productive. You must also know which platform is right for your brand and marketing strategy. If you’re doubting its power, consider that according to Social Media Examiner, 90% of marketers say social media is important for their business.

With so many questions, it’s easy to dismiss social media marketing. It seems complicated, and, when you do get involved, you must choose a platform, then learn how to use it for business.

Most social media networks are free, but most offer some paid perks for businesses. With some time, a bit of money and dedicated resources, you can turn your social media campaign into a win.

Pick a Platform and Create Quality Content

using twitter app on phone

You may have some lingering questions, like what are the benefits, and do they outweigh all the complications? Are there consequences if you don’t participate? Should you sign up for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Google+ or something entirely new? Should you sign up for multiple platforms?

Google+ is a great place to start as a small business because all the content you create and share ties directly into search listings since it’s from Google. For instance, check out Rob Mericle’s profile. He’s a proprietor of commercial real estate leveraging Google+ to his advantage. Anytime you look up one of the key terms he’s associated with, you get a lot of great content he’s shared.

What Mericle does on Google+ is more than just offer content — he’s building his online presence. Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat could all be useful, too, depending on your target demographic.

Beyond adding to your workload, engaging on social business can do a lot for your small to medium sized business. Consider the benefits of this time investment.

1.Boost Brand Awareness and Influence

Brand awareness and better rankings go hand-in-hand, which is why you’ll notice we talked about brand awareness in the point above also.

Social media marketing is one of the most cost-effective and easy to implement methods for increasing your brand’s awareness and boosting customer or audience knowledge about your products and services. You can share, promote and even advertise to anyone who follows your profile or page. You can also share content, whether that’s on a business blog or media and news site.

Think of it as a free or cheap form of advertising. Over 89% of marketers claim their social marketing increases their exposure significantly. Increased traffic was the second benefit, with more than 75% of marketers reporting positive results.

Mercedes Benz did an excellent job of leveraging social media back in 2013, with their Mercedes 'Take the Wheel' Instagram campaign. People who posted had a chance to win a Mercedes. It encouraged engagement, generated buzz and generated more visitors.

2. Balloon Your Conversion Rates

Increased exposure means higher conversion rates because every time you or your brand is mentioned, it’s another link to your company’s portal. That includes blog posts, comments, images, videos and interactions with other social accounts. Social users see these events and your brand even if they have no idea who you are. They’re more compelled to visit your profile or business website to find out more.

That’s also why it leads to higher conversion rates. Once they see who you are, what your business has to offer and what your products or services can do, they become customers. Studies show social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than traditional outbound marketing.

Consider how the Star Wars marketing team used social media for a toy launch. They turned a regular day of the week, Friday, into a fan holiday. They called it #ForceFriday and encouraged everyone to post pictures with their new toys using the hashtag. It was a huge success.

3. Stretch Your Bottom Line

happy girl enjoying drink

As a small business, you likely don’t have a large budget for marketing and advertising. Luckily, social media marketing is one of the cheapest ways to promote your brand or product.

Almost all social media platforms are free to sign-up for and participate on. Exposure and awareness happen instantly— though it’s not necessarily widespread — as you begin using the platform and sharing content. Any paid or premium services are relatively inexpensive and can be deployed on a restrictive basis so costs don’t exceed your budget.

By all rights, social media is a small business marketer’s best friend.Check out Nutella’s Twitter content for some great ideas. For their Twitter campaign, they used the product in amazing images and recipes. It didn’t take much cash, just some creativity.

4. Gain Marketplace and Customer Insights

One way to make better decisions and come up with new strategies is to analyze and study your customer base. What products do they like best and why? What is your ideal demographic? Is there anything you’re doing wrong that can be easily fixed?

Ask — your customers are there on social media, and they tend to be happy to answer. Collect marketplace and customer insights by spending a little time asking questions of your base. By monitoring activity on your brand pages, you can identify customer trends. These trends can be leveraged and rolled back into future marketing strategies.

Think about this genius move of Dove's. After finding 80 percent of women run into negative chatter on social media about their appearance, they launched a campaign for their core audience called Real Beauty. They listened to their core demographic and made positive changes.

5. Increase Customer Satisfaction

glasses on laptop next to phone

Social media is a great tool for customer service. Many brands use Twitter as their primary customer service tool, where they respond and interact with a variety of customers. Some reach out to praise products or goods, while others reach out to get help. Some call out brands for a poor or less than satisfactory experience, and this is where you can benefit.

Respond and even interact with them — answer the negative responses rather than delete them, it will help you build trust, just do it quickly.

Consider the case of an airline complaint of JetBlue Airways. A customer tweeted an image of a fuzzy TV with this “My view during all the flight. (4 hours). @jetblue.” Their response was quick and active. The same day, they responded, “Oh no! That’s not what we like to hear. Are all the TVs out on the plane or is it just yours?” Then, they offered her a credit for the TV, along with anyone else who had trouble.

First, this showed the customer they were willing to make things right, so they're more likely to fly with JetBlue again. It shows other customers the lengths they would go to keep them satisfied.

Be Active on Social Media

Keeping your business active on social media means an increase in revenue or lead generation, which comes from boosted traffic and exposure. You may not think so, but all these things are connected. As you bring more people to your site and your brand, you’ll sell more products.

Social media is a relatively inexpensive marketing and advertising solution that can be used in many ways. It will help improve customer satisfaction, increase conversion rates, boost brand awareness and much more.The longer you wait to implement a social marketing strategy, the more of these benefits you’re missing out on.

Lexie Lu

Guest Blog Author: Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest web design trends and always has a cup in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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