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  • Writer's pictureClaire Elbrow

Social media marketing – why it is still a must for small and growing businesses.

Updated: Mar 24, 2019

Budgets are tight when you are running a small business and your marketing budget is likely to be limited, so you need ensure you spend your funds wisely. Marketing or promoting your business using social media platforms is one of the most versatile and cost-effective strategies you can use for your growing business. Through a regular and consistent approach, you will reach your target customers and boost your sales – if you give it enough time and effort!

Interestingly, though only around 60% of UK businesses are reported to use this approach. As the linked research suggests, there are clear differences between larger companies and smaller ones, with 90% of those with over one thousand employees having a social media presence. In contrast, 51% of smaller companies do not include a link to their social media pages on their websites. The reasoning behind this may be that the smaller companies find they get better results from other tactics, but I find that the most common reason is that their expectations are that results will come thick and fast, from sales to new clients and this is normally just not the case. It takes plenty of time and effort, but there are some great reasons why you should consider social media as part of your marketing strategy.

- what ever the age of your customer, it is likely they will be using social media in some form.

Whether your customers are on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or like most of us switch between the lot, these social media platforms present amazing opportunities for a growing business to reach new audiences and re-engage with old.

Social media statistics from state that in the UK, 66% of the population have a social media profile. They also state that in the UK in 2018, there were 44.1 million daily users. This is growth from 2006, when there were 16.2 million daily users, all of whom will purchase and use both products and professional services!

Social media gives you the opportunity to go to your customer, not take the chance that they may come to you or find you by default!

Using multiple platforms makes sense at the moment and here’s why: “Digital consumers average c.8 social media accounts, but multi-networking seems to be approaching its peak.” GlobalWebIndex. There are also statistics which suggest that the use of age/interest demographics are becoming less relevant. For instance, the use of Instagram to connect with younger audiences is becoming less relevant as the audience age is widening out as the platform continues to increase in popularity.

- social media absolutely helps increase your brand recognition.

By promoting your brand through just one or a number of social media channels will improve its visibility and therefore increase recognition of your brand. Each social media profile gives you a brand-new opportunity to share your knowledge and present your brand’s personality and voice. By posting great content which is valuable to your readers, you are making your brand more familiar and recognisable to your current customers, and those who are considering a purchase from you.

Let’s be honest, we all come across new businesses on social media. We all check them out by following content, learning a bit more about them with each post and gaining a perspective as to whether we want to purchase from them. Each post gives us a view as to their value to us, whether they are offering a product or a service. The same applies to any current customers. As your current customers see your posts on multiple networks, they will become better acquainted with your business and have an increasing interest in repeat purchases.

“Almost 4 in 10 internet users say they are following their favourite brands on social, while 1 in 4 are following brands from which they are thinking of making a purchase from.” GlobalWebIndex

  • Social media users are likely to be more receptive to your business messages.

Why? We use social media to connect with our friends and family easily and quickly. We use it to connect with what is going on with the world. However, we are aware that the various social channels are being used to market products and services and therefore, we are expecting to see more marketing messages. We tend to follow our favourite brands and we tend to interact with them more on social media than we would through theirs website where we actively have to go searching for. Brands popping messages in to our feeds can be irritating but because we can manage the brands we want to see, we will engage with them as we find deals that grab our attention, or content that is entertaining or informative. Social media makes engagement easy and quick, so we tend to do it more.

For a business, the ability to connect like this is invaluable. Not only can we manage the messages we send out about our brand, we can make authentic connections with our customers and potential customers and invariably, we will find they are more responsive to these than purely direct marketing messages.

- Using different social media channels will help you reach specific and different audiences.

Although this point slightly contradicts the point above about the lessening of the importance of platform demographics, there are still reasons to strategically target different audience based on the channels you use for your small business. Each platform allows you to reach a specific target market and this will help you drive more leads to your website. Therefore, the more relevant these leads are, the more likely they will convert to new customers.

To make sure you get the best from your social media marketing is to strategically look at your channels, the audience and your content before you invest your time, efforts and more importantly, money! SocialSprout have some great stats on finding the best social media platforms for your business.

- social media marketing is cost effective.

Print and traditional advertising is often too expensive and not-targeted enough for small businesses. I’m not saying that the use of a well-placed advertisement or flyer for a local business is not money well-spent, but for businesses with a less local audience or a wider reach will struggle to hit their potential customers by using traditional advertising. Social media advertising does cost, but not only can you use it to complement your traditional or other digital marketing efforts, you can use the sophisticated targeting options to target your ideal buyer, which in-turn drives more traffic to your website. As long as your website is set up for the buyer to make a fast and secure purchase, then you will be getting the best from your social media marketing spend. Re-targeting options through platforms like Facebook allows you to serve your advertising content to anyone using the platform. You can re-target your content to those who have similar types of behaviours to your current customers and drive these new customers directly to your website. The best bit is that if your advertisement is not attracting interest, you can stop it in an instant!

- improve your search engine rankings through using social media marketing.

Search engines may be using a presence on social media as a factor in their rankings. When you type in your business name, just check how often Google shows your social media profile before or just below your website. However, as ranking factors and algorithms constantly change, a strong and solid social media presence can only be a benefit!

- stay ahead of your competition

Whatever your business, your competition is likely to be on social media. Why on earth would you give your business and potential business away to a competitor by not being right up there with them? Why would you not showcase your expertise and knowledge and set yourself apart from your competition?

- consumers actively make purchases based on social media recommendations.

Again, we all do it! Those products with great ratings or recommendations are 'easy-to-make' purchases. If our close contacts on social media suggest a new product is great, the chances are we will all take a look at it.

Social media recommendations are a form of word-of-mouth marketing, which is one of the most powerful marketing tools any business has. If you read a testimonial from a user of a service, whether it is your local plumber or a professional specialist, such as a lawyer, the chances are you will investigate them in more depth. You may not know the person making the testimonial, but it is proven that consumers are just as likely to trust an online review as they are to trust a personal one. So, if you have happy customers, make sure you ask them to leave a review on your social media platforms and recommend your products and services!

Finally, social media marketing hands you a great opportunity to gain new insights on your customers. If you are interacting regularly with your customers, you will start to know what they are interested in and what drives them to make a purchase from you. You will understand what they care about and their challenges and fears – this is called social listening. You can also use social listening to find out what is being said about your brand specifically and then you can act upon this information to improve your customer relations and drive customer satisfaction. There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the most basic is to use the analytics within the platform itself and see which types of content are most popular with your customers and target market.

If you are not getting the results you want from social media or are just bamboozled by it all, let Blue Lizard Marketing help you drive your marketing through the use of social media. I and my team of freelancers know what it takes to build and maintain a thriving social media audience for small and growing businesses. Contact us or take advantage of our free 30 minute consultation to see if we are the right people to help you.

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