Social Media Advantages for Small Businesses & Statistics in 2018
Although it seems that social media is a fairly new medium, it has been around for 40 years. Usenet was the first networking tool created in 1979. It enabled users to post messages using bulletin board like format. In many forms, it resembled a forum where users could post and read messages. It was the predecessor of the social media we know today.
Social media has reached the mainstream stage in the early 2000’s with sites, such as LinkedIn and Myspace. Social sites’ uses peaked with Facebook and Twitter that were established in 2004 and 2006 respectively.
You can find the full history of social media here.
Now onto the benefits of having social networks.
Small businesses usually operate in one or a few locations locally which prevent them from gaining a larger customer base. Business owners that want to grow and expand should consider using social media to spread the word around. It is especially important for those businesses in remote locations.
Two – Way Networking
Social media is an additional method of communication with customers. Businesses can connect with the customers and read the conversation around the business that already exists on social sites. In addition, customers can message business directly. This way, social media also acts as a customer service tool.
Business owners can generate new leads by utilising social media. With 2.23 billion active users on Facebook alone (Statista, 2018), there is an immense opportunity for everyone. For example, with Facebook advertising, you can point leads to your store, generate email database or direct them to your website.
Understand Customers Better
Businesses can see which social platforms their customers are using, what they are interested in and target them more precisely with the right content and messages. Analytics, such as Facebook Insights and other are also available to get to know target customers in-depth.
With social networks, it is easier to control brand image. You can create a narrative around the company and create a persona to relate to the customers. In addition, when a brand or company has social media, it is a positive sign, because people don’t need to play detective to find out more about the company. This helps to form a good public image.
Get to know what your competitors are up to and how they engage with their customers/followers on social sites. This type of screening is useful as it can help to understand where your business stands and how it can be improved.
Companies with active social media can create and lead conversations not only on their pages but on others as well. Offering expertise and knowledge builds a certain level of credibility. It can be used to establish authority in businesses area of expertise. Those with strong social media presence can truly influence and engage with their followers in a meaningful way.
When a business has an established authority, it can then be used to collaborate with other influencers or businesses. Both sides usually benefit from collaborations.
A few examples of collaborations that can be used for social media:
- Company A writes a guest blog post for Company B and both companies gain exposure from each other’s followers.
- Company A pays or gives something to an Influencer in exchange for a social media shout out or a post.
- Company A and Company B collaborate together to create a Christmas or charity campaign.
Social Media Statistics
Now that you’re aware of social networks benefits, it is time to take a quick look at the statistics. It will help to put things in perspective about how powerful social media can truly be.
This statistic showcases most popular social networks by active user count as of October 2018. Facebook remains a leader, with YouTube and WhatsApp in top 2-3 spots. Billions of people use social media actively in 2018 as this Statista report shows.
The graph shows the most important actions that the brand can do on social media to take the customer closer to the purchase.
Companies need to be responsive to the customer’s messages as it portrays the brand as trustworthy and reliable, therefore customers are more likely to buy. Offering promotions is also a good way to attract an audience on social sites – who doesn’t like a bargain? Educating and informing people can be rewarding as the company is perceived to be authoritative.
In summary, there are numerous advantages to using social networks for small businesses. If a business wants to gain more clients and build up authority, then social media is definitely the right place to start. It also cuts down advertising costs, as online marketing is cheaper than traditional.
D&R Studio also offers social media management for a variety of businesses. You can check our services here.