Why Social Media Is Essential For Every Business
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Why Social Media Is Essential For Every Business

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There is a common misconception that social media is something which only 'E' companies should bother with. It is very likely that you will hear comments such as "that might be okay for Amazon, but I'm a plumber, so how would I benefit from social media?". It's understandable that this mistake is often made, as companies which sell products via the internet or offer a service such as designing websites obviously use social media to promote their brand and gain new customers online, but for other businesses which are not based primarily on online custom, it might not be immediately apparent that using social media is vital to them too.

The truth is that social media is essential for every business, no matter how large or small. So let us look, then, at the top ten reasons why your business needs to be using social media.

10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Be Using Social Media

1. Free Advertising. Conventional advertising whether printing fliers, making a television commercial, or placing an advert in a local newspaper costs a lot of money. The beauty of using social media is that it is free! You can reach a huge number of people with a tweet, Facebook update, or blog post which will cost you absolutely nothing.

2. Analytics. Get used to the terms 'analytics' and 'insights'. These are easy to understand statistics which both show who is buying your products and who is engaging with your social media posts. Having this data is essential for any business to understand who is most likely to buy their product of service. With this information you can then either target your most popular demographic or improve your approach with those outside of it.

3. Build Relationships. Any successful business owner will tell you that the key to stable income is garnering repeat business. Through using social media you can instantly communicate with your customer base, quickly placing your company at the forefront of their mind due to those interactions. This greatly increases the chance that they will return to you for future business.

4. Unlimited Reach. With social media you have a global reach. The number of people you can potentially advertise to, or interact with through social media platforms would have been unthinkable just ten years ago. Today, businesses use this potential daily to reach exponentially more people with their brand than they otherwise would be able to through conventional means.

5. Brand Growth. Developing a brand is key to any successful business. You want people to be able to quickly differentiate your business from your competitors and connect your brand to the product or service you are providing. Social media is an exceptional tool for doing just this. Whether it's through visual cues such as an interesting logo, or a marketing catchphrase which people can easily identify as yours; using online mediums to promote your brand is essential in today's ever expanding online orientated marketplace.

6. Flexible Advertising. The brilliance of social media as a business promotion tool can be seen in its flexibility. Normally, a company has to commit money and time to a specific promotional strategy, then it takes a lot of time to find out whether it is being successful and even then so many resources have been invested in it that often companies feel they have to stick to their choices, regardless. With social media you can instantly gauge reaction to an approach and subtlety change the way you present your business in a fluid way which reacts to the perceptions and desires of your customer base.

7. Word of Mouth. There is no better form of advertising than word of mouth. If someone recommends your business to another, it is highly likely that you will gain another customer. Social media allows customers to recommend you with a simple re-tweet of an announcement you made, or through sharing a Facebook update you have posted, all with an effortless click of the mouse. Little effort on their part but you will reap huge rewards!

8. Time Efficient. The amount of time required to run a social media campaign can be as little as an hour a week, whereas conventional marketing or promotional approaches takes up vast amounts of your time.

9. Perfect Customer Service. Through social media you can instantly answer any customer questions or complaints, providing a positive image of your company as one which cares about its customers.

10. Fun! Yes, much of being a business owner can be difficult and tiresome, but social media can actually be a lot of fun as you interact in a positive way with customers and see your business growing through those interactions on a day to day basis.

10 Tips for Using Social Media Effectively

Now that we've established that every business needs to use social media to nurture and grow their brand, the first question you might be asking yourself is 'How do I use social media most effectively?'

There are so many different approaches to utilising social media, but here is a top ten list of what you should implement before anything else:

1. The Big Three. The choice of which social media platforms to use is quite dizzying, however, there are 3 which are essential. Create a business page via Facebook, then a Twitter account with your company or trading name, finally set up a blogger account to create a blog. Facebook has the farthest reach of all and is a phenomenal platform to engage with customers as well as grow your brand. Twitter is excellent for managing quick responses and announcements, while with Blogger you can provide in-depth information about what you offer and immediately start earning ad revenue with posts about your business using Google Adsense.

2. Promotions. Promotions are a great way to attract customers and through social media you can let people know about the special offers you are currently running. Make a post on your social media platform with a link included which will take people to your website or blog, allowing them to make a saving on your services.

3. Answer Every Comment. High visibility is essential, and constantly interacting with your customer base creates the feeling of a connection to your business. Even if it isn't a question to be answered, simply saying 'thank you!' or adding a funny observation is enough to keep people returning to your social media pages.

4. Cross-promote. Cross promotions are a great way to gain a larger audience for your business. For example, if you have an Italian restaurant you could promote a prominent Chinese restaurant in return for them promoting you. This can be something as simple as a quick Facebook post telling your Facebook fans to check out that restaurant. When they do the same for you, your business will be seen by many people who otherwise might not have known about it, gaining you more customers. This applies to any business, a plumber could promote an electrician, or a driving instructor could promote a guitar tutor, the possibilities are endless!

5. Post Efficiently. After three or four weeks, use your social media platform's analytics function to find out at what time of the day your posts are most effective. People are online at different times, so you might find that posting at one time of the day gets you a lot of traffic while posting later at night results in reduced visibility. Once you know the appropriate time, make sure you post in that time slot.

6. Post Various Content. This is essential, especially for Facebook. Often customers will enjoy interacting with you if your page contains interesting content. This does not always need to be related to your business. For example, you could post something about a film that is coming out or something on the news, this way people will continue to interact with your page even when you are not promoting your business directly.

7. Ask Questions. The simplest way to engage anyone is to ask them a question, social media is no different in this regard. Ask your Facebook fans or your Twitter subscribers questions which will encourage them to keep you in mind, then respond to their answers. You can also directly ask their opinion about what your business is doing right or wrong.

8. Limit Your Posts. It's important to keep a social media page active, but if you post too often people will either become annoyed at the constant updates or they will never have time to see and engage with all of the content you are providing. It is recommended to post no more than three times a day, with just one post often being enough to keep your page active.

9. Schedule Content. Most social media platforms will provide a scheduling service. This means that you can schedule content to be posted at a specific time. What's great about this is that you could take half an hour from your week and use it to schedule all of your posts for the next seven days, which is a time-effective way of organising your social media campaigns.

10. Don't Do Too Much. You don't need to focus on every social media platform out there. Try to stick to just a few and grow your audience there first. If you focus on too many you might not be able to provide the needed attention to get any of them off of the ground!

Consistency Is King

This should be enough to get you started. Social media is essential for any business, regardless of product or service, to expand and reach its potential. The most important thing to remember is that social media only works with consistent, daily use. Keep at it and watch your business grow!

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