The Impact of Social Media On Small Business

Social Media is defined as the set of mobile and web-based technologies that allow communities, businesses and individuals to communicate and interact digitally. More and more internet users are using social media networks. Social media is replacing many other types of communication. Using social media increases the visibility of your company and is a very effective and worthwhile business strategy. Small businesses recognize the benefit of social media as a communication platform that facilitates two-way communication between a company and its stakeholders. Advances in the field of information technology have changed the way we do business from all aspects. Social media has played a key role in the marketing practices of a business. The spread of social media into consumers’ lives guarantees direct interaction between businesses and its users. It also presents new opportunities for marketing departments. Since the internet provides your business with exponential reach to potential customers, social media marketing is an excellent tool for building brand awareness. Leveraging your content and sending messages through various social media channels will empower your brand image and prove to be much more efficient than other marketing channels.The more followers you can gain through the internet, the faster your business brand will spread. Social media shares information about your business through social share buttons and raises your rating on search engines, thus making your site more visible. Optimizing each page of your website helps to reach your audience and social media followers will want to spread the word about your company.  By using social media to introduce your website to relevant audiences, your site visitors can eventually become your customers.

Benefits Of Social Media Marketing

Increased Brand Recognition.

Your social media networks are just new channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and makes you more familiar and recognizable for existing customers. Frequent Twitter users can learn about your company for the first time through stumbling upon it in a newsfeed. A customer might become better acquainted with your brand after seeing your presence on multiple networks.

Improved brand loyalty.

Brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience.

Expansion of customer base.

Every post a company makes on a social media platform is an opportunity to gain new customers. When a company builds a following, they will simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and will be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a new customer.

Customer Retention
Twitter users who become followers of a brand are more likely to buy the brand’s products. This is a result of a company’s use of social media to convey brand values, create positive word of mouth and enforce the connection between the company and its customers. These enhance a company’s efforts to build customer loyalty.

Customer Relationship Management

Reaching your online community with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is beneficial. The advantage of a social media program is the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between a company and its customers. Through real-time online connections with existing and potential customers, a company conveys information regarding its brand. The company might benefit from positive word-of-mouth that is broadcast across a social network. The greater the frequency and degree of engagement, the stronger the relationships become and the greater the impact of the relationships on sales, customer satisfaction and product reputation.

Market Research
Social media is a reliable means to explore the culture, views and lifestyles that influence consumer behavior. Social Media is a means to profile a target audience to develop marketing and advertising strategies. Social media conversations also alert companies to issues that may negatively affect current market opportunities.

Product Marketing
A product can be directly marketed to the consumer using social media.

Achievement of Competitive Advantage
The ability to listen to a competitor’s message enables a company to develop business strategies and tactics that directly counter that competitor’s initiatives. This helps your company to gain a competitive advantage.

Public Relations
Corporate news can be conveyed to an audience in real time using multiple social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Sales

Sales can be increased by adding social media functions to corporate websites. For example, customer product ratings, serve as ways to engage website users. This leads to user and company engagement that contribute to increased product sales.

 

Effective Social Media Practices For Businesses

Set Measurable Social Media Goals
Start by defining how you want social media to help your business. Establishing objectives will help set marks that can be tracked and measured. This allows you to focus on winning strategies, and change means if necessary. A strategy should encompass more than just collecting likes, shares, retweets and pins. A company should be making sure that each of their social media posts support a strategic goal.

Choose the Right Social Media Networks
Use your target customer base and their online behaviors, to determine which networks will work best for your products and services. Narrowing down the field for your small business social media strategy will give you more time to create the right content for the right followers.

FACEBOOK

A company should post on Facebook at least once a day, and always include a photo or graphic. Posts with images generate more interaction. Further encourage engagement with a hashtag, by asking a question, or using an exclamation point. Research shows that the best time for Facebook posting is between the hours of 1pm-4pm.

TWITTER

Tweet at least twice a day. It is useful to have 1-2 appropriate hashtags to broaden your audience and gain additional followers. Images are just as effective on Twitter as Facebook, so it is important to post pictures along with your tweets. Audience are active on twitter mostly between the hours of1pm-3pm and it is worthwhile to post during these times.

LINKEDIN

This is the 3rd fastest growing social network for business professionals. More users are likely to go to your company’s website from LinkedIn, than from other social networks.

GOOGLE+

Post or share a piece of content at least once a day. This can be company news, trending topics relevant to your industry, or articles from other sources that are related to your business.

PINTEREST or INSTAGRAM

If these two photo-sharing social sites work for your type of business, post at least 1 photo a day. Your photo content on Pinterest or Instagram can supplement other social channels which are more text-oriented. Showcase photos of product and how it may be used in context. Give followers a look into what goes on in your company’s office culture, and the people behind your brand.

Brand Your Social Media Profile Pages
The perception of your company’s identity should be uniform across all channels. You’re not only building a stronger brand, but also creating awareness and loyalty. Make it easy for consumers to recognize your business by maintaining consistency. Always use the same logotype for your brand. This is a huge visual which will stick with your audience. If you have a memorable tagline, maintain the same one everywhere. Graphics and photos are other visuals which will resonate strongly with your consumers. You can customize any social media page with images; use the same ones across networks to maintain a similar look and feel for your brand. Use a clear, about us description that is consistent across all your pages.

Social Media has a major impact on how businesses can increase their brand awareness and market to customers. Social Media is changing how we conduct business in this internet driven environment.