Most small business owners admit they should prioritize social media marketing. The biggest reason for not doing so: time. There are so many other things that absolutely must come first. Many people barely cross off their normal day-to-day tasks, so social media marketing understandably falls to the wayside. To make matters worse, social media marketing is usually last thing most people want to be doing.
You might wonder if you really need to go to all that trouble. The answer is YES and here are the top 10 reasons why you should prioritize social media marketing for your business.
1. Cost for Social Media
First of all, social media marketing is the most cost effective marketing option out there. All of the major platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat, and Yelp, are free to use organically. Set up your account, engage, use the sites to your heart’s content. No money required to get started.
Even paid promotions, such as ads and boosted posts, are very affordable and provide one of the best ROIs (return on investment). Analytics are available in real-time and you can adjust your budget at any given time. Start and stop as you want or need. You have full control.
According to an article about traditional media vs. social media marketing by Lyfe Marketing, social media is the only medium where you can reach 1000 people for less than $3. The biggest investment, of course, is time.
2. Reach of Social Media
According to www.statista.com, over 2.95 billion people will be on social media by 2020. As of 2016, over 78% of the US population had at least one social media profile. Need I say more?
3. Connection with Social Media
My favorite part of social media marketing is the social part. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the very definition of social is “tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others.” With each social media effort, there is an opportunity to build a genuine connection with your customer or client.
Traditional marketing tends to feel detached and one-sided. It’s often hard to confirm if anyone is even paying attention. Coincidentally, Merriam-Webster’s Twitter account is one of my favorite examples of how to connect with your audience. #wordsmatter
4. Be Timely with Social Media
You can reach your audience now. Like, right this very second. With traditional media, there is always a production lag time between the content creation and the publication. Think newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV. From development to finished product, there is a minimum 24 – 48 hours (to sometimes weeks) before your content goes live.
In a digital world, where news travels faster than Usain Bolt or Ryan Hall, this might be costing your business valuable marketing time. By the way, if you want to see exactly how fast those guys run, check out this video.
5. Social Media is Flexible
Along with timely, social media marketing is also very flexible. You can work with your social media profiles from anywhere, any time, and on almost any device. Edits are easy: delete a post when needed, fix a typo, and adjust your strategy hourly, daily, or monthly. Social media marketing can work for you when and where you need it.
6. Validity by Social Media
More than ever, consumers are looking to their peers before purchasing. According to Forbes, “people have grown to distrust brands, especially large corporations, and instead look to peer reviews and peer actions above any other means of justification.” That’s pretty powerful.
Interestingly, if you think about it, often times when it comes to validation, you don’t have to lift a finger. For example, a happy customer will leave a positive review or comment, a close friend of that customer will see their post, and a new relationship has been established simply because they are friends. The key, of course, is to make sure you have active social media accounts.
What about negative reviews? I know, I know. Keep reading.
7. Customer Service on Social Media
Social media offers the unique opportunity of real-time customer service. And, yes, that’s a good thing even when you might feel like hiding under a rock if you have an unhappy customer. According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service. This means 67% of consumers are expecting a response on social media.
The upside is that this is a fantastic opportunity to publicly showcase your excellent customer service skills, which will impress potential customers. Even if you have a disgruntled client, this is the stage to show how you fix problems, listen to your clients, and make amends. For the most part, consumers are largely understanding. They recognize things don’t always go right. However, they’re looking to see how you do under pressure. If you can handle it and keep customers happy even under stressful circumstances, you might have just won their affection… and purchase.
8. Web Traffic through Social Media
Engage! That’s been the focus so far, but social media marketing has another fundamental purpose and that’s driving traffic to your website. While there are options to utilize social media channels for direct sales, the ultimate conversion is to send a buyer to your website from your social media profiles and then convert to a sale.
9. Promotions on Social Media
Thanks to social media being flexible and timely, it lends itself to highly effective promotions. From coupon offers to sales events to contests, social media has something for everyone. I am particularly partial to Facebook ads because the brand has full control over the performance and audience. Just add a little creativity and you can set your brand on fire.
For a little inspiration, check out the top rated Instagram promotions of 2016. Can you guess which one is my favorite? Hint: I’ve seen Iron Man 11 times.
10. Hiring with Social Media
Are you spending money on job ads? This paragraph is for you. Social media platforms have a variety of engaging job tools, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook. The best part? They’re FREE! Utilize your social platforms to spread the word about job openings.
Chances are, you’ll be hitting an already loyal and engaged audience. While not a perfect screening method (you’ll still want to interview the applicants and do background checks!), you’ll once again have more control over who is seeing and applying for job openings within your company.
If you found yourself nodding along and thinking, “OK, time to get serious!”, the logical next step is to figure out which social media profiles are best for your business. Once you know where you want to be, then it’s time to put a marketing strategy in place. It IS possible for you to take control of your social media and do a good job. We’d also be happy to help!
Jenny Green, Co-Owner of Fisher Green Creative, specializes in digital strategy development, social media marketing, and SEO for small businesses. Away from helping clients or studying the latest marketing trends, Jenny volunteers her time coaching youth soccer, enjoys a cold craft IPA, and works to save the elephants. Connect with Jenny on LinkedIn or email.