Why Social Media is Important for Small Business
At Minute Marketing, the majority of our clients are classified as small businesses. We really focus on working with small businesses and entrepreneurs and helping them get more out of their marketing and save time so they can focus on the other aspects of their business that they need to handle themselves.
There are a lot of reasons to like social media for small businesses, especially those that want to get found locally. But here are the top four reasons why we think it’s so important for small businesses to use and engage in social media.
Social Media is Great for Local Search
Social media really allows you to take advantage of local search. So many small businesses are focused on serving the local community where they are. And even if the business has goals to grow nationwide or globally, they have to start somewhere and that somewhere is in their own community. So what's great about social media is it allows you to tap into that local search without paying a exorbitant amount of money for it. With social media, you're able to basically create a profile for your business, list your address, list your hours of operations and connect with people in your local community, whether through organic social media posts or paid advertising in a targeted spot. And this is particularly helpful on channels like Instagram where you can actually search for people through local area hashtags and interact with them. Invite them to come in to redeem a coupon or take advantage of one of your specials.
Social Media is Great for Generating Word of Mouth, Repeat, and Referral Business
Social media really helps to create repeat and referral business and that word of mouth which can be so powerful in getting a small business off the ground and getting it to the point where it starts snowballing and growing on its own. Repeat and referral business obviously comes from those people that already have engaged with you in some way. They've done business with you, they’ve bought services from you, and with social media you can stay top of mind with them. Take a restaurant for example. Repeat and referral business can really be helped through social media when you consistently put out posts that remind them that you're still in the community and that you can solve a pain point for them (e.g. where to go for dinner). You can also use advertisements to the same effect by retargeting people who've been on your website or by targeting people in a specific geographic area near your business.
Word of mouth from social media is also an effective part of using social media. If someone visits your establishment, ordered a really cool dessert you serve, and shared a photo of it on Instagram, someone might ask them where they got it. That's an example of how word of mouth can help bring in more business without you having to do very much work beyond providing a great customer experience. And what's really great about that is that you don't even need to pay for it. Most small businesses are pretty budget conscious, so having that free advertising is really great.
Social Media Advertising is Still Very Affordable
The third reason I really like social media for small businesses is that the costs for advertising on social media are really low compared to a lot of other formats. Newspaper ads, radio, television, and most types of print marketing can be really expensive for what they are. And with a lot of those ads, you're not able to really control your budget. You might even get locked into a contract that holds you to an agreement even if things aren’t really working out. With social media, you can run your own ads. You can work with a smaller budget, monitor your ads, and stop the ones that aren't performing well at any time before you spend your budget. This can be really powerful as it allows you to test a lot of things, see what's working, what's not, and ultimately get more leads and customers into your business. There are a lot of types of online advertising and compared to things like banner ads on websites or Google pay-per-click ads, social media ads can still be really inexpensive, especially if you spend time to learn what you're doing or outsource the work to an expert.
Social Media Allows You to Build a Community
Finally, one of the reasons why I think social media is so great for small businesses is that it gives you the ability to create a tribe and community around your business and your brand. With social media, you have the opportunity to really engage and talk with people one on one, to connect with people that live near you that you wouldn't otherwise know, and to just really have a back and forth conversation in order to convert them and get them to buy. If people didn't like something about their experience with your business, you have an opportunity to fix it and offer them something to get them to come back in and have a better experience. You also have the opportunity to get feedback about what people really think of your business, what you're doing, and what they want. It allows you to kind of adjust on the fly. And once you get that under control, you can really start to create a community around your business.
Is your business on social media? If so, what platforms are working for you? Leave me a comment below – I’m always curious about the individual experiences of different business owners!