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20 Reasons Your Small Business should Use Social Media

Online Conversations for Business

Image by bd solis

In my last post, I discussed different ways to use social media for personal and entertainment reasons.  I had explained how time-consuming social media activities could be, and that in order to not have your time sucked up, you need to select only the social media most conducive to your needs.

This week, I want to talk about using social media for business purposes.  Women have a very strong presence on the internet, and many of us have small businesses we want to promote.  But before I get into what social media you should be using, I want to share the benefits of a business using social media.

20 Reasons Your Small Business should Use Social Media

  1. Branding – Create a recognizable identity for your product or service. This is extremely important for a small business.
  2. Create a buzz – Get the word out about your products and services in a way that promotes online conversation.
  3. Online reputation management – Keep an eye on what other people and sites are saying about your name, company, or brand online – and fix any problems, if need be.
  4. Establish yourself as an expert – Use forums and message boards to answer questions professionally, honestly, and correctly, which will earn you respect as an expert in your niche. People will look to you for answers.
  5. Word of mouth – Customers need to trust before purchasing – people trust their friends and loved ones more than anyone else. So, if they hear from someone trustworthy about your product, chances are higher that they’ll buy. Market your products using word of mouth virtually.
  6. Build relationships and become more personal – Use a variety of social media, and you’ll build relationships with customers and potential customers. Trust comes through honesty and sincerity.
  7. Open up the line of communication between business owner and millions of potential customers – Millions of people who could possibly become customers? You could not have this easily in the offline world.
  8. Small businesses can compete with the large companies – In the past, this was very difficult with the advertising and marketing budgets of large companies. With the right type of viral social media, you could get an immense amount of traffic with quickly-growing natural links, and keep traffic coming for a long time.
  9. Social networking with potential clients and customers from all over the globe – With social networking sites such as Facebook, StumbleUpon, MySpace and Twitter, among many, many others,  you can hold personal conversations with each of your customers. Tell them about new products, sales and coupons, suggestions and tips – the topics are endless.
  10. Get great traffic – Not only great traffic…. but freakishly crazy amounts of traffic. For example, if one of your items becomes viral and makes it to the front page of Yahoo Buzz (a social news site), it could get you 100,000 to 1,000,000 viewers; from Digg around 2,000 to 60,000; and from Reddit around 2,500 to 30,000. Check out some more awesome stats on this great post by The SEO Company.
  11. Increase your link-ability – One way to move up in the search engines is to have links from other sites pointed to your site. Natural links – or links that come naturally to your great post, awesome video, or amazing picture, are the best kind for your business. They’ll not only bring in traffic, but should also help move you up further in the search engines.
  12. Helps with search engines – Like I mentioned above, social media helps you move up in the search engines because of links. Many social news sites and social networking sites have “do follow” links in their profile pages.  Every time you create a profile with your blog, they will be sending link juice to you – in other words, it’s telling Google your blog is worthy of a mention. Link juice from a quality site = higher ranking in the search engines.
  13. Much cheaper than traditional marketing and advertising – Social media marketing shouldn’t cost a small business nearly as much as traditional advertising. And, if you do it yourself, it might not cost a dime. However, it will cost you time.  Depending how much your time is worth, it might be worthwhile to hire someone to help with the social media marketing. But, all in all, social media marketing is just a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing and advertising.
  14. Your company is more accessible – An accessible company means a more trustworthy company.
  15. Direct conversation to a specific niche – There are so many social networking, social bookmarking, and social news sites that are dedicated to specific niches.  You have the ability to speak directly to these people and not have all the other noise of unrelated topics getting in the way. If you are speaking their language, you have a better chance of them actually hearing what you are saying – and you’re getting the RIGHT KIND of following.
  16. Provides another way for potential customers to find you – If you’re not high enough in the search engines for potential customers to find you, they can still find you through social media.  So, even if you’re not on the front page of Google, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive traffic. Social Media has the potential to send you TONS of traffic – when done properly (I’ll write more on that soon!).
  17. It’s a way to explain yourself – One of the reasons some businesses are skiddish about social media is because they’re afraid of negative comments.  It’s possible to receive negative comments. But, social media provides the platform to explain, to make things right. The fact of the matter is – if someone has something negative to say they can say it.  Ignoring them doesn’t stop the damage.  But, when you reply, you are seen as a business owner who cares, who wants to make the customer happy, and that you’re human. Social media is a two-way conversation, so go ahead and defend yourself – just do it proactively.
  18. Show Your Stuff – Universal Search is pretty new. Google used to only list links on their main page. They had videos, but you would have to click on the video search link. They had images, but you had to click on the images search link. Now, with Google Search, everything appears on the same page. Let’s say you were searching  “ballerina” – video and picture results appear on the same page as the  page result. So, your product images could rank, just like your actual site. This is awesome, and something business owners should take advantage of.Universal Search Visual Example
    Universal Search Example
  19. Find out exactly what your customers want – Social media is amazing in so many ways, as you can see from the last 18 reasons. But, what is so  cool is that you don’t have to wonder what your customers want. You want to know what they want? Ask them on social media, and they’ll tell you.
  20. Your customers can play an active role in the business – Instead of focus groups, let your customers play an active role in your business. Let them offer suggestions, let them share their likes and dislikes – all on social media. You might find yourself ideas for new products and services you’d never have without them.

Bottom line – marketing is about getting out the word, engaging in conversations, taking suggestions, problem solving, educating your audience, and promoting your company, product, or service. One of the best ways for small businesses to create buzz is through social media.

In the next several posts, I’ll elaborate on the “how-tos” of participating in social media as a small business marketing tool.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. 15

    Point 12 mentions that sharing on social media is beneficial to search engine rankings due to “do follow” links in profiles. Regardless of this fact, the Google algorithm takes into account the amount of social shares made about your business (e.g. those mentions, shares and likes from the public’s accounts about your business) as part of it’s ranking algorithm. So regardless of your links within the profile the more shares are made about your business the more prevalent the search engines will think you are. Particularly on Google Plus for Google rankings, as this is a social platform of their own, so they give this particular focus within the algorithm.

  2. 16

    This is a great post. I did some additional research and came up with 75 benefits of social media. Shana, do you think this would be worth a mention? https://www.lyfemarketing.com/roi-benefits-social-media-marketing/

  3. 17

    Thanks for the excellent article! I will be referring my students to your site!

  4. 18

    Hey Shana…Love this post! I did a special segment on my show, Diana’s Spicy Business Talk that covered this exact topic! Social Media is so vital for business success. Great Stuff!

  5. 19

    Great read. You brought up a lot of things I agree with – and several I have never even thought of!

    Good point about companies not wanting to get started with it because of the possiblilty of negative comments too. I run into that a lot – that and they just do not understand how to execute campaigns properly in this relatively new medium.

    FYI – Ben Hart sent me over.

  6. 20

    great article! i support the movement more social media for business
    p.s. we have the same graphic (see our website)

  7. 21

    It is nice to see post about social media.Nice visuals and bullet points are also be appreciated. I am very glad to see this post awesome. ”great job!”
    ————
    Lyndah
    Social Bookmarking

  8. 22

    @Susan – Wonderful!! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the post…. specifically the images. I find images to be extremely helpful when explaining social media. But, then again I’m a very visual person.

    Thank you so much for the wonderful comment. :)

  9. 23

    Shana,

    This is a really great post on Social Media – the graphic at the top in particular reminded me of some platforms I am not using yet.

    Also appreciated the visual of Google’s universal search. While I knew about it, seeing the screenshot made me realize how valuable it could be for business.

    Thanks again! I am really enjoying your posts about all things digital here at BD. Off now to subscribe to your feed!

  10. 24
    Melody Campbell, The Small Business Guru says:

    Shana!

    This post is full of powerful information! The images lit up my day. Seriously! Okay, I am a fanatic when it comes to Social Media and the Influence Revolution and that’s probably why this post was so satisfying to me to read, but wow!

    I’ll be “Digg”ing, “Stumble”ing and “Tweet”ing about this – IMHO it is a must read!

    • 25

      @Melody – Awesome!! I love hearing all the positive feedback about this post. It is important for anyone who is attempting to use Social Media for Business purposes they understand how powerful it can truly be.

  11. 26

    Very useful pot, indeed. Thank you Shana :) I am always amazed how practical are your tips. Best summery of the social media benefits for business.

  12. 28

    @Frank Levert – Thank you, Frank. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the post and pics. Thanks for the stumble & for leaving a comment.

  13. 29

    Very good post on social medias and I am glad to give a Stumble. Nice visuals and bullet points are also appreciated. 😉