Just a few years ago, social media was considered a fad. Today, is an essential part of our everyday lives, and more and more businesses are taking to networks like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram to build their audiences. Below, we’ve put together five of the biggest benefits of social media for small businesses.
1. Help you improve customer service response times
Customer service has changed a lot in recent years. In the past two years alone, customer service has increased more than 250% on Twitter, while 60% of people who complain on Twitter or Facebook expect a response from the brand within an hour. Although it sounds like a lot of work to offer social media customer service, it can be more cost-effective and time-efficient than emails and phone calls, and it means that you’re offering a public service – a chance to show followers and potential customers that you care about your clients. It’s important, however, to clearly state when you offer customer service on social media – if it’s only during opening hours, state that clearly in your page description and biography.
2. Find out what your competitors are doing
Whether you follow them outright or put them in your favourites bar, stalk competitors on social media to see what they’re getting up to. On Twitter, you could create a private list of competitors so that you can see what they’re tweeting about, while on Facebook you can log into your analytics and type in your competition so that you can be recommended content and pay-per-click strategies. You can also search for your competitor’s names on social media and see what people are saying about them – and, if you’re feeling particularly competitive, follow those customers to alert them of an alternative (you).
3. Position yourself as an authority figure
Social media can be used to position your brand as an authority figure and keep customers coming back to your account. Post regular news, updates and content that’s relevant to your industry (so, if you run a bed and breakfast, tweet news and updates about your location, things to do, etc.), and people will be more likely to follow you and stick around. Then, when it comes to them choosing a product in your niche, they’ll think of you first.
4. Drive traffic to your website
There’s no denying that content marketing is one of the most effective marketing methods for small businesses (see the benefits of content marketing for small businesses here). But, social media can be equally as effective, and actually work to improve content marketing efforts by sending regular traffic to your website. Use WordPress tools like Jetpack to automatically send new blog posts to Twitter and Facebook after they’ve been published, and consider scheduling posts using tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to send traffic to your site. You don’t even need to post your blog posts if you don’t have a content marketing strategy – you can send customers to your homepage, resource pages and even your products and services pages, but do so sparingly to avoid looking too salesy and spammy.
5. Gain customer insights
Perhaps one of the biggest and most useful benefits of social media is data. More than 500 million tweets and 95 million Instagram uploads are posted every day, and behind this is a whole load of information about your customers. By posting and engaging with customers on social media regularly, you’ll be able to see what they’re like, what they get up to in their spare time and how you can improve your products, services or marketing.
There you have it – everything you need to know about social media for small businesses, and how you can use platforms to build your brand online. Whether you’re new to social or you’re already adopting a winning strategy, keep it up, and you’ll soon see success.