If you are a small business owner looking to grow your business, chances are you have considered using social media marketing. Over 73% of all small business owners are now using sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to help grow their business. If you are still standing on the social sidelines, there’s never been a better time to get started because the fact is, because it works.
More important than the exposure it provides your organization is the opportunity it provides to grow the relationships with your target audience. Your Facebook Fans, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections are people who know your organization, have likely done business with you in the past, and will be most likely to tell their friends about you. Social media can strengthen your relationship with your customers.
Social media is extremely popular. You don’t need to be a dedicated reader of tech blogs or an expert in online marketing to know that social media is really popular among consumers. Facebook alone has over 1 billion people, Twitter has over 200 million people, and there is 200 million more on LinkedIn. Then of course there is Tumblr with hundreds of thousands of blogs on everything from celebrities and hand tools to vintage cars and style and design. (Did we forget to mention WordPress.com?)
Step number one, of course, is to make sure you have a modern, mobile-friendly website design that loads fast and is easy to navigate on a smartphone as well as a desktop or tablet. Having that checked off your to-do list, the next step for most small businesses is Social Media and for the vast majority of small business owners that means Facebook as their first stop. Facebook is the perfect starting point for getting started with social media marketing. With it’s extensive reach and dynamic functionality there are very few businesses that couldn’t benefit from having a presence on Facebook.
Social Media Marketing: It’s Easy to Get Started
These social media sites are completely free so starting your marketing in social media is perfect. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn all offer free accounts to users and businesses and signing up won’t require anything more than an email address. Some sites like LinkedIn do offer paid accounts with features that are targeted at more advanced users, but for the purposes of getting started, there’s no upfront cost for most of the social networks.
Let Potential Customers Get to Know You. Social media sites are becoming the go-to place for consumers who want to learn more about a business. The fact is customers who have praise or complaints often look to social media to communicate with companies. These sites allow a business to inform customers about the most up-to-date information about products, services, or upcoming events and that makes a huge impact on connecting with your customers. Most of your activity and posts on social media can be made public so that means that search engines like Google can index them making you your visible to customers searching for you.
Social Media Marketing and Email Marketing
Social media has completely changed the game when it comes to how small businesses think of email marketing. Sharing your email newsletter across your social networks can open your content up to a whole new audience and finally generate the type of buzz you’ve been looking for. Not only that, but you can also use sites like Facebook to attract more readers by including a “Join My Mailing List” form right on your social media pages. Together, these two powerful tools have reshaped the marketing landscape and have really leveled the playing field for small businesses trying to better connect with current customers.
These are just some of the many reasons why social media marketing is a worthwhile investment. With more than half of all Americans are smartphone users the benefits have increased and will continue to with mobile activity becoming a common part of our daily lives. Every major social network offer free mobile apps that let business owner manage their presence on-the-go. More importantly, these apps let customers connect to their favorite sites wherever they are. For a site like Twitter, 60% of its entire user-base is connected via their smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices. These users aren’t just sharing updates from their own lives, they’re searching for businesses, products, and services, and connecting with brands through their social channels. If your business is running late when it comes to upgrading your website design to become“mobile-friendly,” social media can be an easy and cost-effective first step to marketing in the digital age. Plus, it can improve the chances of your business getting found when someone is searching for a place to eat or a product to buy, while on-the-go.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Albee is the digital marketing director of ATS Design Group in Syracuse, New York. Paul and his team specialize in all aspects of online digital marketing including website design, SEO search engine optimization, social media marketing as well as print and advertising design. Paul grew up in Cedar Rapids, attended Washington High School and is Mike Albee’s brother. Together Mike and Paul serve clients across Eastern Iowa, upstate New York, and nationwide.