Market Your Business with Social Media
In the age of technology, marketing has changed drastically from what it used to be. Instead of advertising your business in the local paper or through a TV commercial, social media has become the new outlet to get your business’s name out there. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even YouTube are helping small businesses make a name for themselves, and the statistics speak for themselves.
According to Hootsuite:
- As of 2018, there are 3.196 billion people using social media on the planet, which increased by 13 percent from 2017.
- Social media advertising revenue is forecasted to grow 10.5 percent annually. For 2018, social media ad revenue was roughly $51.3 billion.
- The average user clicks on 10 ads on Facebook every month and 52 percent of American consumers say they’ve seen a product they’re interested in on Facebook in the last three months.
To help small businesses hit the ground running, the Small Business Administration recently debuted a web-based social media marketing course. The course goes over all of the social media outlets and how people communicate on them, even diving into more in-depth topics like the world of online reviews and monitoring analytics.
Allen Gutierrez, the SBA’s associate administrator for the office of entrepreneurial development, says the SBA offers many online courses, with this one being in the top-20 most used by small businesses around the country.
Gutierrez helps uncover why social media is essential to business growth and some “rules of thumb” when it comes to utilizing it.
How can small businesses utilize social media to grow their business?
There are many keys to success, but one of them is the marketing and outreach you do in the community. With the availability of the internet now, your business is not just subjective to your specific region or community—it’s limitless. Small businesses now have to plan ahead and think through the process of being available for the unforeseen demand and getting your business known outside of your community’s reach, and it all starts with people wanting to use your product. Social media goes way past marketing to your community.
What’s the best way to manage social media?
Here’s an example: we were going through quality control with our staff on a business’s website, and there was a link to access the business’s different social media platforms at the bottom. When you click on it, you could see the last time they posted something on Twitter was three years ago. Great, that business has an actual account, but it’s not being used consistently and becomes counterproductive for the business.
Corporations and bigger firms don’t just have one person in charge of social media, they have an entire team. If you are going all-in on social media marketing, you have to have the right resources to do so. As a business owner, we are wearing so many hats, and social media usually lands at the bottom of the checklist, but it’s an important tool to get customers. It is a commitment; you’re going to have to allocate and pay someone if you don’t have time for it as an owner. To allocate this duty, you could even create an internship within your shop for college students to earn credit. These students can bring in a whole different perspective and can give some good insights into your social media marketing. Use someone that has that knowledge base.
There are so many resources and companies out there to help you manage social media, you just need to find the right one for your business. Ask the right questions and do your due diligence to find them. If they provide a credit card service, what contracts do they have? Do they have testimonials? If you don’t do your research, you will have put all of your time and effort into using their service and then one day you find they are no longer there and have to start all over again.
What are some best practices when it comes to social media?
There needs to be a high commitment level. You can’t go one foot in, one foot out on it. One of the purposes of social media is to retain and stay relevant. If it’s not eye-catching or relevant, a customer will stop following the business.
Don’t mix personal and business with your shop’s social media activity—it can put you in hot water. If you have an opinion on something and share it on your business account, it can, in turn, have an adverse effect.
Use social media to redirect customers to your website, but make sure it’s working, too. This actually happened with my own mechanic down the street. His shop’s social media was up and running fine, but then you went to his website to check on hours and find a phone number and it wasn’t working whatsoever. It then becomes a turnoff. He’s a great mechanic, but it makes you want to go somewhere that has this accessible information on hand.
Get to know your market and community—it gives you an opportunity to expand. What type of communities are you serving and what is most used by particular communities? As a business owner, doing the necessary research and looking at your shop’s target market is important.