If you are a small to medium business owner who knows little if anything about social media marketing it’s natural to be intimidated, overwhelmed and just plain skeptical about the whole social media scene. In this post we will look at the benefits of having your business on social media, where you should start and the potential costs associated with social media.
What are the benefits of Social Media for your business?
First let’s look at the numerous and wide reaching benefits of having your business on social media platforms .
“We’re spending on average 10 hours a week on Facebook, the most popular social platform. Next most popular is YouTube, then Instagram” Source Yellow Social Media report 2018.
Social Media marketing provides an immediate and clear message about who you are, what you do and how you do it…For instance if you are a cafe and a potential customer is looking for for a coffee the first thing they’re likely to do before making a decision is investigate you on social media …The two most likely platforms are Instagram and Facebook. Their next step would be to put it in Google search. Based on whether or not they resonate with your content (essentially this refers to trust and positive response to visual stimulus ie that picture of a delicious looking coffee and muffin was just what they were craving) will dictate whether they visit your cafe or the one down the block… Remember people have a lot of choice these days and they are determined to get value for money. They do check online reviews and shop around online before making a decision.
“68% of us read online reviews and blogs before shopping, averaging eight reviews before making a decision” source Yellow Social Media Report 2018.
A business that has up to date, enticing content on their social media platforms is going to be the one people immediately trust and are therefore most likely to visit / shop …especially if they click on your Facebook page and are directly confronted with overwhelmingly positive reviews and gorgeous tantalising images of just what they were looking for or decide they are looking for now having seen your social media content.
This applies whether you are a cafe or a plumber…images speak a thousand words as the saying goes! Combine this with an active social media presence that demonstrates a high level of community engagement, things like positive responses to customer comments and feedback, good reviews, up to date pictures of your business demonstrating what you do, how you do it and the standard to which you uphold.
This is how to persuade and inform potential customers to shop with you! This is one of the primary benefits of being on social media and you can get started today for free. Starting on social media requires nothing more than the internet and your computer. If you are thinking you have no idea how to do this we have more articles on account set up and which social media platforms for you and your business.
How expensive is Social Media ?
“I’ve heard social media is expensive and you get little return on your investment”
Yes Social Media is now pay to play, but don’t be put off by this, you can approach social media with a clear goal and budget in mind and it’s very affordable no matter your sized business. Plus the one thing that cannot be emphasised enough is that although advertising on social media is gaining in popularity and demand, the most important aspect of social media is that it is social! Therefore what is more crucial than strategic and complicated advertising campaigns is an up to date social media account with frequent content, good reviews and timely customer enquiry responses.
Social Media Marketing is a long term investment, the more people come to recognise your brand and like, know and trust you, the more likely they are to do business with you. This is what we call the recency and frequency formulae in marketing.
Where should I start?
Setting up a Facebook page and Instagram account is free and something you can do yourself, Alternatively you may hire someone to do this for you as a one off cost but a valuable investment.The advantage of hiring someone to set up your social media accounts for you is that they know all the nitty gritty details and can ensure you are on the right foot from the start.
They can also tell you which platforms are the ones relevant to your business and industry.
Depending on your budget and goals it may be worthwhile investing in social media training yourself, in which case there are numerous workshops and short courses available either online or through local Government bodies in an area near you.
However if time is an issue and you feel more comfortable hiring a professional and wish to capitalise on a range of social media activities (these range from account set up, blog posts, social media posts, community management, strategic advertising campaigns and content & design work) then it’s a matter of consulting with potential social media agencies to work out which package will work best for you and your business. The advantage is that you can start small and go from there once you know what works best for you and have the ball rolling.
You might even find that you love social media so much that you want to make a career of it!
If you would like to learn more about social media marketing, which social media platforms can help your business grow online ( Facebook vs LinkedIN ) and who is using them and why?