Small business and social media, why is it important?
Social media is a catch phrase right now and we often glaze over when we see the phrase mentioned but the concept is still quite powerful and does hold value for small business owners.
So, why bother with social media? It’s a numbers game, really. The statisticians are going crazy right now with the ever increasing volume of user’s not just signing up for social media but consistently engaging in it. Here are a few numbers that stood out for me from a recent article on the salesforce.com blog:
- Google’s +1 button is used 5 million times a day. (Huffington Post)
- 23% of Facebook’s users check their account five or more times every day. (The Social Habit)
- 42% of users update their LinkedIn profile information regularly. (Socialtimes)
- 80% of users prefer to connect with brands on Facebook. (Huffington Post)
- 12% of users have looked for deals on social media using their smartphones. (AllTwitter)
- More than 20 million US users have their birthday and year included in their Facebook profile. (Mediabistro)
- 40% of people spend more time socializing online than they do face-to-face. (AllTwitter)
- Facebook posted a 67% year-over-year mobile growth rate. (AllFacebook)
- 60% of LinkedIn users have clicked on an ad. (Socialtimes)
People are using social media…ALL. THE. TIME. How can you as a small business owner take advantage of this engagement within reasonable timeframe and guidelines? Here are my tips, for the novice in social media:
Pick one or two platforms to begin with and learn how to participate there first. I suggest you begin with Facebook, Google+ and possibly Twitter. There are many more platforms that offer tremendous value and fun. But start here and move to the others when you have gained some confidence in what you are doing.
Find people online who are ideal customers, interested in what you are interested in, follow them, and then listen to them. Find out what people talk about and how they talk about different things.
Support others in their efforts to gain attention and promote their brand, their organization, or their interest. By engaging in like minded, similar interest pages/personas you are bringing awareness to your own business in a non threatening and very non salesly way which people really appreciate.
Share information from your business that is helpful. Are you offering a special? Do you provide a technique that is unfamiliar to others? Can you educate the world about your business so they understand that what you offer and why it is special?
Take it slowly.
When it is done right, social media is an organic experience that builds slowly. There can be quick wins and immediate results but by in large, the benefits come over time through slow and purposeful engagement that allows people to get to know your brand and what you offer.
Social media is here to stay and can be a wonderful way for small businesses to share meaningful information about their business with their community. I highly recommend implementing a social media program for your business.
What questions do you have about engaging in small business and social media? What advice would you share with a small business who is thinking about engaging in social media?
Thanks for stopping by,