Many small businesses are afraid to take the plunge into social media. The anxiety to social media revolves around setting up accounts, which relates to set up, what to post, how to manage feedback, and even how often to post. It is so overwhelming for some small businesses they choose to avoid it completely. It's a costly mistake for businesses.
Growth in e-commerce and mobile usage cannot be ignored. Lat/Long targeting and in-store mobile app surveys are just a few of the recent trends catching steam with retail locations. This has led to a consumer-base that is hyper-comfortable with internet platforms using online research to guide purchase decisions for products, services, and companies. Via the Major Purchase Shopper Study produced by GE Capital Retail Bank, a vast majority of shoppers are going online before making a major purchase decision:
"According to the study, 81% of consumers go online before heading out to the store, up 20% from last year, and spend an average of 79 days gathering information before making a major purchase."
These types of statistics will force small businesses to follow in the path of major retailers to create an online presence. If small companies choose not to develop an online presence, they lose all control of strategically guiding their online perceptions and impressions for online consumers. Social media is a must-do for small businesses.
Here are 6 small business benefits to using social media:
Benefit 1: Social media develops better customer relationships
Social media promotes two-way conversation. Small businesses need to be online to answer questions being posed. Sites like Twitter and Facebook are designed to foster communication. What is the best part about these conversations? Other customers can see how well you deal (or not deal) with every single customer inquiry.
Benefit 2: Social media allows you to monitor customer chatter
By monitoring social media websites including your own company page, it will allow you to keep the virtual pulse of your customers. You'll begin to understand what customers like best about you and what they would like to see improved. This can be monitored even if the conversation is minimal - 2 or 3 interactions a month or 200 to 300 interactions a month.
Benefit 3: Social media offers ability to address issues immediately
With so many people on social media platforms (about 70% of Syracuse DMA adults access social media in a 30-day period), the days of 1 customer telling 10 of his/her friends has now turned into hundreds, if not thousands. Customers will often jump to social media first to complain and if you are not on those platforms, you have no opportunity for damage control. Acknowledging feedback and addressing it immediately will help save customers.
Benefit 4: Social media adds personality to your small business
This is a little bit of a peripheral benefit to social media but sites like Facebook allow you to show off a little with fun company posts and pictures. This personable approach adds a face to what can be an otherwise faceless day-to-day operation.
Benefit 5: Social media makes your business more searchable
Many small businesses who jump into content marketing and blogging do so for reasons outside of SEO. However, there may not be a more tangible benefit for a small business. There is no better feeling than writing a blog post or an article online and having new customers come across your website because of it. Social media and SEO opens doors that would not exist if you didn't take the plunge.
Benefit 6: Social media adds value to your company by way of content
By sharing stories, tips, and content through social media your business becomes a coach and consultant for customers. Visitors and followers view you and your business as an expert in your field and content sharing strategies ultimately lead to more awareness, better impressions, and more loyalty.
We are believers in social media at Drive Research. As a startup market research company, we utilize social media on a daily basis to grow our awareness and interest. Questions about market research? Visit us on Facebook or Twitter and send us a message.