The short answer is yes, you absolutely do.
Social media occupies a vast portion of our daily activity, and of the digital marketing landscape. We as small business owners simply can’t ignore it, and those who do will soon find themselves being overtaken by competitors. It’s brutal, but true.
A whopping 62 per cent of people turn to social media when deciding whether to make a purchase from a brand, according to a 2016 study by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). So imagine how many customers you’re missing by not having a brand presence on social media.
We hear so many small business owners say they are reluctant to set up a social media presence, mainly because they don’t think they have the time. However, with over 1.4 billion social media users on Facebook and Twitter alone, we can’t stress enough the importance of harnessing the power of these platforms.
Here are three ways social media can help your small business grow:
1. It can increase traffic to your website
Through sharing great content on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you can drive extra traffic to your website with very little effort indeed. If your content is interesting and shareable, your followers will do all the work for you. The more it is shared, the more new followers and click-throughs you’re likely to get. Click-throughs can amount to conversions, making this one of the most important benefits of social media marketing.
2. It can build brand awareness
A report by the Social Media Examiner in 2015 stated that 90 per cent of marketers said their social media efforts generated more exposure for their business, and over half said it helped increase sales. A presence on social media gives you a highly accessible and targeted form of brand exposure, second only to TV advertising. It increases your reach and allows you to advertise your brand completely free of charge. And, if you do decide to put a little budget towards paid social media advertising, you’d be amazed by how far even as little as £30 can go.
3. It gives your brand a personality
It’s called ‘social’ media for good reason; on these platforms you can showcase your brand’s personality and create an emotional connection with your target audience. You can share everything from behind the scenes photos and videos to company updates and stories, and this helps build a sense of trust and value around your brand. Instagram, a platform that has grown wildly popular over the last 12 months, is especially good for this kind of marketing.
But I told you, I don’t have the time!
We understand. It can be an uphill struggle to fit something like social media into an already hectic day of running a small business. But honestly, you can find the time.
Make a time commitment
To make it work, you need to commit yourself to a certain time of day for social media activity. Making a time commitment will help keep you accountable, and make you less likely to procrastinate or put it off altogether.
Start small and keep it realistic. Set aside 10 minutes in the morning and 10 in the afternoon (plot it into your daily calendar if you need to) and use that time to tweet or share some interesting and relevant content on Facebook or Instagram.
Tip: Keep the word ‘relevant’ at the back of your mind at all times when using social media for your business. Consumers have reported a dislike of being bombarded with brand posts, so aim for quality over quantity.
Don’t overthink it
You may think you don’t have time for social media, but that’s probably because you’re overthinking it. You really don’t need to, and nobody is expecting you to become a social media expert overnight. All you’re doing is sharing things that are important to you with an audience that is important to you.
Think about who you’re marketing to and concentrate on what your business has got to say that they will care about. Posting content and engaging with followers as little as once or twice a day is enough to build a strong online presence.
Tip: Remember that not all social media platforms will serve your business purposes. If you’re a B2B brand, Facebook might not do you as many favours as LinkedIn, for example. Select your platforms carefully; don’t try to work across all of them.
Make use of the tools available
Even the best social media marketers don’t do it all by themselves. There is a whole host of time-saving tools you can use to boost your efforts, and here are just a few of the best ones.
Hootsuite: An incredible platform which allows you to schedule posts in advance across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Instagram. You can also use it to analyse your performance, seek out interesting content and run campaigns all from one easy-to-use dashboard.
Buzzsumo: A tool which helps you discover the most shared content across the world and who is sharing it. Learning what types of content perform well can help you share the things that your followers want to see.
Canva: Worried that you don’t have time to create appealing graphics and content? Canva is a free tool that helps you create stunning web-optimised graphics including posters, infographics, banners, charts and memes in minutes.
Still think you don’t have time for social media? Even two minutes out of your day can make a huge difference, so don’t ignore it! If you really can’t spare the time, it’s worth seeking out somebody who can help you; us! Give the team at (hug) a shout; we can have you up and running on the right social media platforms in no time.