Social media as we know has essentially taken over the world. There is not an individual today who does not have access to a Facebook or Twitter account. According to Forrester Research, Facebook now has a bigger population than that of the United States. It is the number one site where consumers see content about products and services. It truly has revolutionised the world of marketing and essentially is now another part of the marketing mix for the SME sector. It is without a doubt a key contributing factor to a businesses success today, no matter how big or small the company at hand may be. Recent figures show that 68% of Irish people are on Face-book as well as 11% of adults over the age of 15 having a Twitter account. These figures cannot be ignored; but act as a foundation for many small Irish businesses to utilise. Small to medium-sized businesses are living in the past and not taking advantage of the fantastic online tools that they have at their disposal.
Having said that, there are lots of reasons as to why small businesses should be using social media for marketing and business engagement purposes. I have outlined a few of those compelling reasons below.
Social Media Marketing can create a recognisable identity for your product or service. This is extremely important for a small business in order to create an awareness for their brand on both a local and national level.
2. Word of Mouth Marketing
Although word of mouth can in some instances generate some business, Facebook and Twitter can be used to create a “buzz” around the brand and business, especially in the case of the smaller businesses.
3. Reputation Management
Twitter and Facebook can act as mediums to monitor feedback and the image of the business. They also act as mediums to display problems at hand and thus allow the business to resolve the problem at hand.
4. Cost Effective Marketing and Advertising
Twitter and Facebook act as a cheap means to promote, advertise and inform customers and potential clients without the large advertising fee. As Facebook and Twitter are proven means of advertising and customer relationship building, they are an essential element to any marketing campaign for a small or medium-sized business.
Facebook has an incredible audience of 950 million and still counting. This audience is immensely attractive to Brands and Marketers around the world. Facebook and Twitter could be considered two of the most “up-to-date” and effective means of reaching target audiences. Audience is the priority and how best to reach the whole world than using Twitter and Facebook.
6. Common Advertising/Awareness medium
Facebook and Twitter are used by almost every business today, both big and small, thus smaller businesses should follow other businesses and advertise in the same ways they do and to the same extent in order to balance competition and gain new customers and retain existing ones.
Facebook and Twitter have a massive global reach, which can not be said for every means of advertising/awareness building medium.
Both Facebook and Twitter provide us customers with not only visual representations, images, reviews. etc, but also the option to give feedback and receive responses in an instant. This is what separates these mediums from traditional means of advertising, in that customer response is much quicker and in real-time. These mediums also provide us with company history, information, etc.
9. Less Formal Means
Facebook and Twitter allow for a company to advertise and inform without overloading customers with difficult to process information, as they truly are customer friendly mediums. The pages provide the information the customers want in a lighter, more customer orientated mode, which will in-turn attract more customers as these are customer friendly and allow for the customers to connect with the company.
Facebook and Twitter can be categorised as measurable mediums of advertising due to the critical mass audience that can be associated with these social media pages. A business can track exactly the amount of income that is coming in as a result of a post, and even attach a monetary value your audience and an interaction. The number of “likes” your company page gets on Facebook is not necessarily a measurable means, as it comes down to the mass audience who are looking at your page and as a result the number of sales and conversions that can be contributed to the customers “liking” and accessing the company page. Twitter on the other hand looks at the number of “followers” your company page receives, but similarly looks at sales and conversions that have come from the Twitter page being accessed by customers. A company can monitor and respond to its followers using these measurable mediums.
Social media is becoming more and more of a necessity each day for businesses ranging from big corporations down to your average corner shop. Along with a clearly defined identity and already proven to work marketing tricks, social media is a great way of boosting your business both economically and brand wise.