arnold on Nov 27, 2018
Why is Social Media so Important to Business?
Social networks are an essential part of online life for businesses.With 94% of small businesses using social media, it is important to know which networks are used most by your audience as some might be more beneficial than others. However, with most social media advice written for larger companies with bigger budgets and marketing teams, it can be difficult for small businesses to use the same strategies for success. The following guide gives your small business a framework to start building and maintaining a social media presence.
These days, social media revolves around five major platforms. These apps are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. So how do you pick a social media platform?
Ask the Following Starter Questions
- Who is your demographic?
- What message are you trying to send?
- Is your product/service visual?
- Is it local?
- What is your budget for social media?
A general overview of each major platform helps to know where to interact with your consumers and can determine how social media can enhance your small business.
Facebook is the largest social media network in the world, and it is important to understand why this app can be valuable for small businesses. With over one billion daily users, Facebook is an ideal and mostly free platform for increased exposure to potential customers and building an online presence. The Facebook audience is made of approximately 83% women and 75% men (Osman 2017). Within that, 88% are ages 18-29, 84% ages 30-49, and 72% ages 50-64. These statistics show that Facebook has a wide audience within genders, ages, and locations.
People on Facebook follow their friends and family in addition to brands and businesses. It is a source of entertainment, new, and meaningful content. Facebook further gives people the ability to post photos, videos, and a variety of messages whether that be links, updates, or lifestyle content. In addition, viewers can react to posts as well as share or comment.
The platform has also developed a popular advertisement feature that allows businesses to find new customers, boost online traffic, and connect with their desired community. Also important, the app offers access to free analytics when users sign up for a business page, so businesses can review who they are reaching and how people are responding. Overall, Facebook has several tools that can be useful for small businesses; it is a just a matter of identifying which ones will best fit your company.
With Instagram, small businesses benefit from more visual posts. This platform has about 500 million daily users and more than half of small businesses use it. Its largest demographic is adults ages 18-29 (Hootsuite 2018). Further, about 70% of Instagrammers use Instagram to search for brands (Pickard-Whitehead 2018). Its major features are the feed, search tab, user profile, stories, direct messages, and IGTV.
The app is arguably the easiest channel to publish content, so small businesses should use this network for photos, videos, editing, and analytics. Basically, Instagrammers take a photo or video, choose a filter, and publish it; users can also like, comment, or send private messages on the app as well as post temporary stories separate from their feed.
Further, people and ideas are easily searchable with hashtags that allow users to discover new things and activity nearby. Instagram is also able to post the same content on other networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Again, depending on your goals, Instagram is a channel to get your business in front of potential customers. Essentially all businesses can find a use and voice because it helps build personality, products, and community.
Twitter is a less popular channel compared to Facebook and Instagram, but it can be useful for small business owners. It has over 330 million monthly users and is most used by millennials and young professionals (Newberry 2018). People read their news and follow their favorite celebrities, but they also interact in two-way connections with followers and businesses. This platform is meant for conversation, and it is a good way to reach out to people directly.
Twitter allows people to post photos, videos, and short written messages (up to 280 characters). This is great for content that is easy to write and quick to read. The benefit of Twitter is getting updates of real-time searches and what is currently happening in the world. As a small business on Twitter, it is a useful way for you to find your current and potential customers. It is also a good way to update your audience on products, offerings, and new content as well as discover their habits and opinions of different offerings. Overall, it is used for quick responses, increasing brand awareness, and building loyalty among followers (Hootsuite 2018).
Let’s talk about Pinterest. With over 200 million monthly users, this platform is particularly useful to reach younger audiences and women. Half of U.S. millennials use the platform in addition to 68% of women between the ages of 25-54. People on Pinterest organize images and videos (Pins) into collections called “Boards” (Hootsuite 2018). Pinners interact by “Repinning” and commenting on content. Businesses use Pinterest to create their own boards that interest their audience through products, company culture, and lifestyle content.
Pinterest also makes it easier to find and share products that are creative, inspirational, and visually appealing; therefore, it is useful to note what is searchable and what people are looking at. Pinterest influences purchasing decisions of social media users; about 93% of Pinners use the app to plan purchases, and about two-thirds look at saved Pins while shopping (Newberry 2018). This is a useful app for more visual companies, and it shows current trends of what people are searching for through their interests. As a business account, you can have access to analytics and advertising which can help better target potential customers.
And last but not least, LinkedIn. With over 467 million users, it is the largest online professional network; its biggest demographic is students and college graduates. As a small business, LinkedIn is not the best site to use for marketing to consumers because most use this channel as a source of connection and expertise; LinkedIn is a tool for networking (Samuel 2018). Users should use LinkedIn to find people and businesses in their industry as they can be sources of knowledge and chances to build more business relationships.
LinkedIn is a tool for staying in contact and exploring new ideas. Businesses use this site to find employees, customers, competitors, and potential business opportunities. On a company page, LinkedIn can be valuable to start conversations and post updates about the business.
By understanding the major social media platforms, small businesses can interact and learn more about their audience. Think about the brand and customers of your small business. Be where they are. Social media has made being visible easier than ever.