Time and resources are two of the most valuable commodities to a small business owner. You want to make sure that you use them both for valuable activities. As such, many small business owners question the importance of using social media as a marketing tool. Recent research shows that 35% of U.S. small businesses report using online social networking for marketing. That number is up considerably from previous years, showing that small businesses are following big businesses on the social media marketing path.
Regardless of how many small businesses are using social media, is it important? For most small businesses, the answer is yes! Social media is important for small businesses for many reasons. First of all, people are living their lives more and more online. Logically it would follow that your marketing efforts should focus where your customers are. If your customers are online, you should be also!
Savvy consumers no longer want to be “sold”. They want to interact. Social media enables you as a small business owner to engage and interact with your customers, colleagues and your competitors. In addition, consumers are turning to their friends and connections for recommendations on buying decisions. How are they doing this? Through social networking sites! If your small business doesn’t have a presence and isn’t monitoring what is being said about you through social media, you won’t be able to manage your band reputation (see our previous post on investing in a brand!).
Lastly, in today’s economy, it is more important than ever for small businesses to use innovative methods to grow and thrive. Social media provides a cost effective way to reach a very large, broad audience with a minimum investment. Our recommendation is that you definitely consider social media and start by developing a social media strategy that meets your budget, your preferred level of management and most importantly, one that meets your customer’s needs. We’d like to hear from you. Do you have any tips for small businesses considering social media? Or, do you have questions about using social media to market your small business? Let us know!