Larger companies have started to see the importance of social media, even hiring full-time social media managers to direct their company’s online efforts, but smaller businesses and solo entrepreneurs may wonder why they need to be on social media or struggle to find the time to devote to promoting their business or latest projects on social media platforms.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Google+, social media is an easy, effective and low-cost way to market your business online. Here are some of the ways social media marketing can benefit your company:
1. Reach new and existing customers
2. Expand your brand recognition
3. Cultivate leads and potential clients
4. Easily share information and engage with followers
5. Post photos and news about your latest projects
6. Keep followers updated on specials, events and promotions
7. Increase web traffic, conversion rates and sales
8. Better search engine rankings
9. Improved customer insights, experiences and loyalty
10. Let people know you exist and how you can help them
The platforms are free, and while Facebook has made changes to restrict posts, there are options to create business or “fan” pages, pay to sponsor posts or buy advertisements to boost visibility among users near and far.
Building followers and increasing page likes can take time, but it’s worth the effort since, in essence, it’s a free way to market your business and an easy way to share good news. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make a post or add a photo every day or two, but if you don’t want to deal with social media, you can hire someone or let services like Hootsuite do it for you.
Hootsuite, the most widely used platform for managing social media, has publishing features that can automatically discover, schedule and post content, allowing you to do other things like engage with customers. It’s a time-saving way to manage all your social profiles without having to log into multiple platforms. Users can respond to customers and leads, monitor messages and conversations, and analyze performance and usage data from one dashboard.
It’s a no brainer for businesses that provide web-based services or products to have a strong social media presence because every post has the potential to lead to a sale or at least drive prospective customers to check out your website.
Instagram or Facebook are especially good for posting photos and are good platforms for most any business, but especially visually focused ones likes restaurants, nonprofits, artists, photographers, interior designers – essentially any business that wants to share updates on activities, awards and newsworthy events and entice customers to visit or learn more about your work.
If you plan to handle your own social media, it doesn’t have to take a lot of daily time and effort, but it does require consistency and commitment over the long term. It takes time to grow a following organically, so don’t get discouraged if no one likes or shares your posts initially. Keep content, posts and photos short, positive and professional.
Social media is all about building relationships, so the sooner you start, the sooner you will start to reap the benefits. It tends to grow exponentially as followers tell their friends, or share a post, and more people learn about your business. In addition, your competitors are likely already active on social media, so why not join them?
You don’t have anything to lose by getting in the social media game – not to mention, it’s a marketing avenue that’s here to stay. An effective social media campaign can lead to more customers, more traffic and more conversions.
If it seems overwhelming, pick one platform that best suits your business and try it out. The time and money it takes to create a profile and start posting is minimal, especially compared to other marketing efforts.