The Importance of Social Media for Small Businesses

Social media is a golden tool for any small business that wants to maintain a direct connection with previous and potential customers. In this day and age, the power of a well managed social media presence is unparalleled for any small business looking to maximise their profits, develop customer engagement or stand out in a competitive field. This article will analyse the ways in which social media impacts on small businesses and why any small business owner should be considering whether they are making the most of these resources.



Customer Engagement

The year is 2019 and these days it is uncommon for someone to not to have an active presence on some form of social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pintrest are some of the most popular social media platforms on the market. Instagram has an estimated 1 billion active accounts and Facebook 2.3 billion active monthly users, it's no wonder that business are looking to develop a presence and capitalise on these vast social networks.


The population density of these platforms allows for a business to establish themselves within a niche target market based on the specifics of their services, wares, location and target audience. By narrowing their search specifics to this criteria they increase the likelihood of accessing the people who may be interested in their particular service or product. Likewise, with businesses promoting themselves on social media, customers who are actively looking for a particular service will often begin by searching for business profiles in within their area to help make a choice as to where they want to spend their money. This is why it's important for any business to have an active and consistent social media presence; to increase exposure to customers looking for a service. For example, if a family arriving on holiday in a popular tourist town are looking to find a cafe for breakfast, rather than walk aimlessly around the town trying to find a place to eat, they are far more likely to make a search for "cafes in Byron Bay." Whether they go directly to Facebook or Instagram or are directed to a social media profile through Google, the result will be the same that the most popular, active and engaging cafe profiles in Byron Bay will be listed closest to the top and therefore most likely be the one to catch the eye of a potential customer.


Repeat Custom

Social media is not only tantamount to hooking new customers, but it is also a fantastic tool for maintaining contact with past buyers in order to encourage repeat custom. If a person follows your business on social media then they will see your posts and content about your services, they can engage with that content through likes, comments and shares, potentially exposing your business to more new people. This keeps your business at the forefront of their minds, and, if they enjoyed their prior experience, encourage them to return. It gives a business an opportunity to promote new services or products which again will encourage regular custom and attract people to return to your establishment. The public cannot know if you've got new stock or an updated menu if there is no forum for them to access that information. Social media gives you the power to share news and updates regarding your business as well as simply engage with people on a daily basis, reminding them that you are there and of what a good time they had on their previous experience. It keeps the momentum of your business rolling.


Similarly, social media is the perfect place to advertise deals, promotions and events for when you want to direct people back to your business. If you have an end of season sale or a happy hour or a wine tasting event coming up, an active social media profile is a golden place to plug these opportunities. People who follow your profile do so because they are interested in or have enjoyed your service in the past, so these are the number one people that you want to advertise to because, unlike anywhere else, you know for sure that they are interested in your product/service. Therefore, the bigger the following you have on social media, the greater reach of people you have to advertise to.


So I know I need a social media presence, but how do I build one?

Every social media has its own style and technique as to the best methods to grow and I won't be doing a walkthrough of each social media here as it's simply too much information for one post, however there are some overacting rules and themes which all social media users must follow if they want to grow an account. The first thing you want to consider is who it is you're targeting. Social media for a small business is not the same as social media for an influencer. You're targeting people specific to your location (or are interested in your location) and who are looking for your particular service. It's not about just trying to get raw numbers from anybody, anywhere in the world.



The first key aspect to running any social media profile is consistently, both in regularity of posting content and also content style. When people follow your social media they are subscribing to you and your brand so you want to capitalise on that and be consistent in the style of what you are posting. If you feed is a total mismatch of content that has no regularity or coherence then people can't understand what your brand is. You need to stylise your content to represent what your business is and then post on a regular schedule. No-one will like a facebook page that one month had no post, the next had twelve and the next has three. Whatever you do, it has to be consistent. Similarly to what we just said, your social media has to be transparent. People want to know what is they are buying into when they like your page, they want to know it's a true representation of your service or product. You need to decide on what your core values are as a business and then focus your post around those factors. It's important to interact with your follower base too, build relationships with the people that follow you and engage with those who comment on your content. Social media is the home in which you can build your own ecosystem for your business to share with your customers even when they aren't on your premises.


Hashtag your posts

Love to #hashtag? Good news!

You can add tags (#cafe #byronbay #holiday #coffee) throughout your posts to reach more people. Why hashtag? People can use hashtags to search through content on social media and find the posts that matters to them. If you want exposure within the biggest groups of people (particularly on Instagram) you need to tag your posts with hashtags to appear in as many places as possible. So go ahead and #hashtag away!


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