9 Reasons Social Media Marketing is Every Small Business’ Best Friend
As a business owner or marketing manager, how do you allocate your budget to maximize brand awareness and growth? I would argue for spending most of that budget on social media marketing. Here’s why:
1. It’s inexpensive
Social media promotion is CHEAP. This is my favorite thing about social media marketing and arguably its biggest advantage. No matter what kind of budget you’re working with, you can afford to market on social media.
Let’s say you post something on Facebook. If you stop there, your post will appear in the news feeds of a fraction of the people who already follow your page. However, if want your post to extend beyond your current followers, you might “boost” it. An investment of just $20 gives you an estimated reach of 1,200 – 1,900 people — and that doesn’t even include the number of people you’ll reach organically.
I’ve put $5 behind posts that reached over a thousand users. If I hadn’t, I would have reached maybe 200. Pretty neat.
2. It quickly creates brand awareness and allows you to connect with users
In the elementary stages of a business, what is marketing’s chief purpose? Making people aware that you exist.
Social media marketing is amazing at building brand awareness. Social platforms are centers of discovery — people use social media to be stimulated, learn new things, consume content, and find new products and brands. Each platform provides an opportunity to create awareness and connect with potential customers, partners, and even investors.
You can further boost your brand awareness by creating content that users will want to share with their networks.
Considering the importance of word of mouth, shareability is key. Users who stumble upon your brand and choose to share your content instantly become brand advocates. Brands with great shareable content spread like wildfire — much more quickly than those who advertise using more traditional methods. For example, if you market to your audience in a magazine, this exponential effect is diminished: readers are not able to instantly share a print ad with hundreds of people or click through to a website.
3. Social media drives traffic to your website
By sharing great content, you can also pique users’ interest in your company. Engaging content gets users to click through to your website.
Think of social media as another search engine that you can optimize in order to help people find you. Ranking well in search engines is difficult if you’re not skilled in SEO, but there are other ways to drive traffic to your website (e.g. by building brand awareness on social media channels and producing great content that captures interest!).
4. It makes your brand more appealing
Ever tried to look up a brand on a social platform, but they didn’t have a page or account? This makes a company look like they are stuck in the Stone Age.
Today’s consumers want to connect with brands because they are an extension of our identities — they say something about who we are.
Furthermore, having a solid social media presence and engaging with your followers creates brand loyalty. Understanding this relationship and making it mutual is what determines your success as a marketer and ultimately as a brand.
5. It can be measured
When deciding how you should spend your advertising dollars, you have a couple of options:
Option 1: You can spend on something like an ad in an industry magazine. You’ll have no idea how many people you end up reaching, but you can hope for the best.
Option 2: You can invest in social media ads. You’ll know exactly how your money is being spent in real time. You can even do A/B testing: run the same ad with different images or copy and see which one was most effective.
Option 2 is the obvious choice. With all the data you’ll have access to, you can make smarter, more cost-effective decisions about your strategy.
“In God we trust; all others bring data.” — W. Edwards Deming (and C-Suites everywhere)
6. It provides instant audience and demographic insights
Another advantage over almost any other form of marketing is social media’s ability to analyze your audience. Facebook has very comprehensive insights into audience and demographic data. Twitter and LinkedIn have these abilities too but they are not nearly as advanced (hopefully Microsoft will help LinkedIn improve this after buying them, but I digress).
To view Facebook’s insights on your audience, navigate to your business’ page, and then click on “Insights” at the top. Here you will be able to see a generalized overview. By clicking on additional categories found along the left side of your screen, you can see things like gender, age, language, and location breakdown. You will also be able to see what kind of devices your audience is using when viewing your page/content (i.e. whether they’re using a desktop computer or mobile device).
7. It allows you to conduct rapid market research
“Market research” used to mean sending out surveys and probably receiving feedback from less than 30% of recipients. Thanks to the analytics that are built into social media platforms, you can get the same data in 10 minutes — for free.
Using social media, you can see what people are saying about your brand/product or even ask for feedback.
I used to work for a small company managing their marketing and product development efforts. When we came up with ideas to improve our product, we would mock up the concepts, photograph them, post the images to our social networks, and literally ask our followers what they liked and what they didn’t. After all, no one knows what customers want better than the customers themselves. And best of all, asking for feedback showed we were listening and wanted to include the customer in our product development efforts, which lent us great credibility.
8. It’s efficient and flexible
With almost any other form of marketing (print ads, billboards, television), once you’ve published an ad, it can’t be changed. With social marketing, you can easily edit or simply delete posts.
For example, if a post isn’t getting the engagement you hoped it would, you can turn it off. You can also recover any part of the initial budget that wasn’t used and go back to the drawing board. With print ads, billboards and television ads, that money is locked in.
With social media advertising, you only pay for views or engagement (depending on your preference when you create the ad). Other forms of advertising are usually billed at a flat fee, no matter how many people see it or take action.
9. It allows you to connect with users in real time
Most people look to social media (especially Twitter) to voice any complaints or praises they have for a product or brand. Social media channels allow you to connect with users in real time to answer questions, help solve a problem, or simply thank them for being a brand advocate. Responding proactively is even more important now that lightning-quick responses via social media have become the status quo.
I will leave you with this:
Social media marketing can be effective (even on a small budget), and can quickly grow your company’s reach.
In short: social media is a low-cost means to build brand awareness. You can target markets by location, behavior, and interests…and measure the results in real time. Employ these methods and you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing your company’s business objectives.
About the Author: Harrison Blankenship is a Digital Strategist at Macleod & Co. based in Minneapolis, MN. As the Holistic Marketing Agency ™, we believe that in a hyper-social world, culture drives success, every employee is a customer touch point, and every customer is a broadcast network. We live at the intersection of marketing and organizational effectiveness. And we see marketing as the entire process of bringing a product, service or business from inception to maximum ongoing profitability.