When it comes to maintaining a successful business, the incorporation and utilization of social media, is quickly becoming a necessity. Today, social media is no longer just for personal use, but rather a tool used by businesses, non-profit organizations, entertainment companies, news broadcasters, and politicians alike, to
build and foster relationships and disseminate information.
With 64% of Canadians utilizing at least one social media platform, maintaining a social media presence as a business, especially as a small business, has become
extremely important in connecting with consumers. Further, of the Canadians who do utilize social media, 63% of those users follow companies, brand, and products on social media. Therefore, as a business, the incorporation of social media into your overall marketing strategy has never been so important to remain visible, relevant and competitive within the online, digital space.
With social media serving as such a widely used tool for all businesses, attention can be turned specifically to how social media can aid a particular subset of enterprises – small businesses. According to Statistics Canada, small businesses account for 97.9% of all businesses in Canada. Therefore, with small sized businesses making up such a large portion of total Canadian enterprises, how exactly can social media benefit small, local businesses?
Build Brand Awareness
Social media marketing works to develop your brand online as physical marketing signage would offline. As a small business, informing consumers of your
niche product or service offering and the values and beliefs your business holds is made easier with social media. Not only can your message travel farther, faster with the utilization of social media, but, your message has the ability to touch and influence more individuals than face-to-face messaging could.
Utilizing social media increases your business’s potential exposure. By publishing content to social media, it broadens the number of individuals who might
come in contact with your business in ways that other traditional channels of marketing might not be able to achieve. Social media, through its inherent ability to be far-reaching, passing through communities of people through content sharing, has the ability to powerfully move past your direct network, especially by effectively utilizing hashtags, targeting influencers, and publishing captivating content.
According to Statistics Canada, small businesses account for 97.9% of all businesses in Canada. Therefore, as a small business operating in a saturated small
business market, maintaining a presence on social media will ensure your business stays competitive. In addition, with 46% of Canadian businesses having already adopted social media strategies into their overall marketing efforts, assuming an active social media presence will give your business the competitive edge it needs to thrive.
Capitalize on Advertising Opportunities
With limited dollars to infuse into advertising and marketing campaigns, why not utilize a free, easily accessible resource? Incorporating social media – a nearly zero cost strategy – into your marketing efforts really is the perfect way to stretch your advertising dollars in order to reach a vast number of individuals. Social media is saturated with consumers due to its relatively low barriers to entry meaning there is an opportunity to reach a larger audience compared to pursuing other traditional forms of marketing.
Publishing content to your business’s social media platforms provides an opportunity to drive traffic to your website, thereby increasing your search engine
optimization. While ensuring your website’s content is search engine optimized is crucial, directing traffic to your website through the promotion of blog posts of
website-specific opportunities for consumers enables additional opportunity to raise your business’s rank in a search engine results page (SERP). In addition, creating optimized, captivating social media posts, and encouraging social media sharing will work to boost your SEO, meaning that by creating content pertaining to topics and keywords that are popular within your industry and trending among your target audience, you will drive your overall ranking.
Engage in Local Community Outreach
As a small, local business, digitally engaging with other local businesses and organizations through social media becomes advantageous. As a business, you
possess a certain level of social capital. This level of social capital can be bolstered through promoting others’ causes within your social community that you feel align well with your business’s values and guiding principles. The action of engaging with other businesses is one that can lead to a casual sequence, causing other businesses to share your content in a reciprocal manner. This allows not only your business to be viewed positively by your immediate social media community, but also serves as a way to grow your existing network and increase brand awareness.
Develop a Loyal Following
As critical as face-to-face interactions are in building a loyal, dedicated clientele, it is equally as important to engage in meaningful communication through social media interactions. From publishing novel content that resonates with your audience to engaging in genuine dialogue with influencers and followers, these actions when repeated will work to form lasting customer relationships. Your devoted, social media following will not only strongly support your online or physical store, but will also serve as digital advocates of your brand, defending and promoting it within their own inner, personal, digital networks.
Optimize Customer Experience
As a business, you rely heavily on customer feedback in order to move your business forward and with the ability for customers to leave reviews, post comments,
and send messages within social media platforms, gathering this feedback has never been easier. By utilizing social media platforms, you broaden the channels of
communication and opportunity to receive valuable insight. This insight then allows you as a business to identify areas of improvement in order to enhance the customer experience. While positioning your business in a space of vulnerability, open to potential negativity and criticism may be initially met with feelings of weariness, in actuality, being open and responsive to feedback demonstrates to your customers a high level of transparency, trust, respect.
Therefore, when you ask yourself whether your business needs social media, ask yourself instead, can your business afford not to have social media?