In the old days, the success of an enterprise relied heavily on traditional communication methods, such as television commercials, billboards, radio jingles, and newspaper ads. These required massive budgets, which smaller businesses could not afford. This provided an unfair advantage to larger organizations that continued to thrive as their smaller counterparts struggled.
However, digital marketing techniques changed all this. They created a level playing field for businesses to compete, regardless of their scale, industry, or financial might. Social media, in particular, played a pivotal role in this shift. Today, it has become an indispensable tool for small businesses to thrive in aggressively competitive markets.
Benefits of Social Media for Small Businesses
Social media comes in a variety of popular formats—from networking sites and micro-blogs to video-sharing platforms and social communities. These platforms offer several essential benefits for small business owners.
Reach a wider audience
Nearly 60% of the global population is on social media, and at least seven platforms boast over one billion active users. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are among the most popular sites worldwide.
For small-scale enterprises, these can open up new markets, both at home and abroad. The benefits of increased reach are further boosted by the shareability of social media content and the opportunity to communicate around the clock. As a result, you get to reach a larger audience, create better engagement, build brand awareness, and stay on top of the users’ minds.
Let’s take a moment to compare this with traditional communication mediums; Newspapers and billboards, for instance, give you access to a limited customer segment with very few options to share your message beyond it. Unlike these methods, social media can create a wider reach, often for free or at a fraction of the cost.
Build lead lists
Networking sites are a valuable source for lead prospecting. They can give you access to a range of insightful information about their users, including names, age groups, geographic locations, personal interests, and brand preferences.
There are several ways to build lead lists using these platforms. For instance, a competition or promotion can allow you to collect contact numbers of a specific user segment. A reverse number search on PhoneHistory can then help find their email addresses and other useful information to build detailed prospect lists.
Certain sites will even allow you to actively search for leads on their networks. LinkedIn, for example, has specialized sales tools to support your lead-sourcing efforts.
Of course, the tools and platforms you should use will depend on your targeted audience. So, define your customer profile before selecting the appropriate social media sites for prospecting.
Gain customer feedback
These platforms can make market research effortless and inexpensive.
The real-time insights their opinion polls, surveys, comments, likes, shares, and general interactions can provide make them a better alternative to traditional feedback forms and phone surveys. Gathering customer sentiments on social media is also far more cost-effective and easier to organize.
It is convenient for the customer, too. The ease of sharing views on networking platforms can make users more inclined to voice their opinions and suggestions.
Run ad campaigns
Advertising is simpler on social media. These campaigns require far fewer resources, budgets, and planning than TV commercials or billboards that involve substantial complexities, costs, and logistics.
You get to set your own deadlines, select whom you want to target, and tweak your communications as often as you desire.
According to studies, 76% of users have purchased a product based on a brand’s social presence. This demonstrates the influencing power of social media in driving sales.
One important way networking platforms can help your small business’s top line is by sharing social proof. These can range from reviews and recommendations to user-generated content.
You can also use social media to engage with existing and potential customers, educate them about your products, build a community, promote your goods through influencers, share case studies, and showcase awards and achievements. Some platforms will even allow you to set up online shops.
All these will ultimately have a significant impact on driving awareness, generating interest, boosting sales, and building brand loyalty.
Enhance your online reputation
Reputation management is another essential benefit of social media. There are several tactics you can deploy to manage your online image. For instance, you can offer free advice, share industry trends, and drive conversations about industry-leading topics. These will be pivotal for establishing expertise and credibility in the online space.
You can also talk about internal practices and governance frameworks to emphasize your focus on quality and integrity. Networking platforms are even ideal for social and environmental advocacy—to lobby support and take a stand on topics important to you and your audience.
These efforts will allow your followers to get to know your brand and business better—undoubtedly an essential step for building trust.
Drive traffic to your website
On its own, your website can struggle to attract footfall. But social media can help you with this in multiple ways. You can, for example, highlight key content, make shareable snippets, and embed links to direct social media followers to your official website.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Medium, and YouTube are all valuable platforms to boost website traffic. They allow you to leverage long-form articles, text-based factoids, images, infographics, GIFs, and videos as effective elements of your content marketing and SEO strategies.
Gain data insights
A key advantage of digital media over traditional communication mediums is its ability to provide deep insights into your marketing efforts.
Social media, in particular, allows you to target your audience with laser precision, measure your campaign performance, and make data-driven decisions for optimum results.
Monitor your competition
These platforms can also provide critical insights into competitor activities. You can keep track of their advertising campaigns, product launches, audience engagement, and a variety of other factors. This allows you to plan your strategies more effectively and respond faster to capitalize on opportunities.
Expensive press adverts and headhunters are often beyond reach for smaller businesses. But limited recruitment budgets should not impede your business growth when you have access to social media.
LinkedIn, for instance, is an invaluable resource to connect with industry professionals and identify talent. Even other platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be useful to spread the word about hiring needs.
When combined with an effective content strategy, social media can be a powerful medium for small business growth. However, bear in mind that your words should complement your actions and vice versa. So, delivering a product and service that matches the hype you create on these platforms is essential.