The following is a guest post about the importance of social media for small business…
Social Media For Small Business
The most successful of entrepreneurs are those who not only scout emerging opportunities, but seize them before their competitors.While it is the case that social media and networking has been wildly popular for some time, it is only recently that small businesses are beginning to integrate such sites into their primary marketing strategies.
The world of social media seems now to have developed readily into a sphere from which visible business growth can begin to flourish. Increasingly, more and more small businesses are setting up Twitter and Facebook profiles and as a way to communicate with their customers.
As social media is becoming more and more vital to industry, companies are seeking to ensure that they are covered against the luring away of their most able employees. Speaking with insurers such as Hiscox – Business Insurance Specialist is a good way to see that your business is covered against any loss that social media could have on your business.
The Scale of Social Media Presence
A study by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth highlights that an astonishing 74% of businesses listed on the 2011 ‘Inc. 500’ now has a presence on Facebook, with almost as many also present on LinkedIn. The study* went on to recognize and analyze a change in companies’ behavior in social media, noting a shift from blogging to the more interactive services mentioned above.
Marketing and business strategy is founded on the careful study of customers’ habits and this increase in the use of social media to promote businesses reflects the most recent and important example of this in today’s market. This shift shows a positive and new approach to research and is a prime example of how small businesses and entrepreneurs can capitalize on the broader practices of larger companies in their own industry.
When we take a look at the figures surrounding the use of social media, it is no surprise that businesses are moving swiftly onto these sites. HeBS Digital published information in 2012 which showed that nearly half of internet users participate personally in social media.
Those internet users are now estimated to spend 17% of their time on the web browsing social media pages. Crucially it also found that 44% of those using the social media site Twitter claim to have interacted with a brand on the site following some kind of online promotion or discount offer.
Responsible Use of Social Media For Small Business
The statistics which focus on use of social media are hard to ignore, but the implications of integration into social media are not necessarily as purely positive as it might seem. The coverage your business can receive from an online presence is considerable, but it is important for small businesses to bear in mind the responsibility with which this comes.
Your use of social media is likely to become the primary point of engagement with customers on the internet. Therefore it is essential that you operate your page in the same manner which you operate in all others aspects of running your business, for instance on the shop floor.
When small businesses make the move to social media, it is important that they do so with an amount of conviction and commitment. The reputation of a small business can be hugely affected by its presence online and it is essential that social media usage does not ignore this.
Customers nowadays are always looking for vibrant and buoyant services and a boring and unchanging Facebook page is likely to put them off.Likewise, if businesses have an account with Twitter, it is wise for them to post regularly.
Not only does this ensure that the company is interacting positively and regularly with its customer base, but it shows its audience that it is an active and positive business and really believes in the platform.
With such an array of free advertising and marketing opportunities, reaching customers is no longer about the size and wealth of a company. Rather it has become about the ability to entice customers and to outdo competitors on a level playing field.
The internet has made the market a more equal place, but in doing so it has intensified competition. In order to stay ahead, small businesses must adapt in line with the development of the web.
*[This study is sourced from http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/studiesandresearch/2012inc500socialmediaupdate]
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