Recently, a client – the owner-manager of a local services business – and I were chatting about the importance of having a website and the conversation turned to why businesses need social media. “I see absolutely no need for it,” said the client, dismissing social media’s usefulness as a marketing channel out of hand. As we talked through the case for social media, however, the client warmed to the idea, seeing the sense of such an approach. If you share a similar attitude, have a read through a summary of our discussion – our top five reasons why a small business should be using social media

Pinning, Tweeting or Plus One-ing? Get with the programme, peops!

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!
You may not be using social media, but others are…in overwhelming numbers. The statistics speak for themselves – over one billion people worldwide are on Facebook; 500 million on Twitter; 343 million on Google+ and 49.7 million on Pinterest. These people include your very own employees, your competitors and your customers.

Social Media Drives Website Traffic

When your followers, friends and subscribers on social media sites share content about you – for example, a link to a blog post or web page – it sends a ‘social signal’ to the search engines, which can boost your visibility on the search engine results page (SERP). It goes without saying that the more people who are exposed to your content via social sharing, the more potential visitors to your blog or website.

People Believe What They Read on Social Media Sites

Social media represents a fundamental shift in how we are engaging with each other and with brands and how we’re discovering and sharing information. Today’s consumers find information they discover on social media sites more believable than traditional advertising messages. This is because we’ve become jaded by advertising messages thrust upon us via mass broadcasting channels (like TV, radio or print media) and because we tend to believe what our friends tell us about an experience to be a more honest and realistic interpretation of events. So, we’re more likely to take on board what a Facebook friend of ours writes about how great the food and service is at Joe’s Pizza Joint, than if we see a TV advertisement proclaiming the same.

Social Media is Free

In these cash-strapped times, who wouldn’t want to embrace a cost-effective marketing and promotions channel? Unlike buying ad space in traditional mass media, setting up and maintaining a social media presence won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Since time and effort is all that’s required, rather than a large marketing budget, it’s a medium particularly well suited to small businesses and start-ups.

Social Media Can Enhance Your Credibility

According to the Cone Business in Social Media study, 93% of Americans expect companies to have social media profiles. Today’s consumers want to check you out online before they give you a call or visit your premises – importantly, they’re looking for feedback about the quality of your products and services. If they can’t find you online, or don’t like what’s being said about you, they’ll turn to another company. Take a practical example about how people use social media to compliment or complain about brand experiences – not so long ago, I tweeted about the outstanding service I’d received from a sales assistant at Mr Price Home’s Pavilion store; followed a few days later by shocking service from Hillcrest Lawnmower Centre. Whilst the former were able to acknowledge and retweet the compliment; without a Twitter profile, the latter remain ignorant of what’s being said about them, unable to do damage control and redress the situation.

Need help with content for your social media campaigns? Get in touch!