Why Social Media is a Requirement & How Small Businesses Can Effectively Use It
I know you have heard this time and again, much like a broken record, – “social media is here to stay”. In some form or another, it is. Social Media 2006 is far different from the Social Media of 2014 and businesses of all sizes are taking notice.
Social media has allowed us to stay connected with friends and relatives who we previously had a hard time keeping up with. We can now connect with anyone anywhere. Businesses are taking advantage of this and are now going directly to their target market, interacting and building relationships with those individuals.
This year, if it’s not already, social media has to be a requirement for any business’ marketing plan. The various networks are growing and like we’ve learned through traditional marketing, you better keep up or you’ll be left behind in the dust. Don’t believe me? Go look at the newspaper industry.
Let’s take a look at the current status of social media:
- 72% of all internet users are now active on social media
- 71% of users access social media from a mobile device.
- 93% of marketers use social media for business
- There are now over 1.317 billion Facebook users
- Google Plus has over 359 million monthly active users
- 217 million monthly active users on Twitter
Are you part of the 93% using social media for business? If not, you need to be. Businesses of all sizes, from mom and pop stores to regulated industries, can find success through social media.
Here are some simple suggestions to effectively use social media for your business –
- Imitate the big boys.
Take notes from the larger businesses in your industry. What worked for them? Did they run a successful contest or campaign? Take the actions they used and scale it down to your business and your market.
- To find the right platform to be on, survey your existing customers on their social media usage.
Are they mainly on Facebook? or Twitter? or Pinterest? You want to be where your target it. Same goes in the traditional marketing world – only advertise and promote in the places your audience is, whether it’s print or broadcast.
- Think outside the box.
You want to distinguish yourself from your competition, so do something they won’t. Chipotle is a great example of this. They’ve done everything from free burritos for life to hacking their own Twitter account to their clever claymation videos. Thinking outside the box and taking risks has raised awareness of their brand and brought them more customers.
- I saved the best for last – to use social media effectively you have to know why you are using it in the first place.
I am huge on intent. Every action you do on social media has to be directed back to you your “Why”. If you are using it just to use it, you won’t succeed. Having a plan and knowing why will set you on the course to social media success.
Of course, I could write a whole book on effectively ways to use social media, but I’ll leave it at these 4 simple tips.
Share with me – why do you think social media is a requirement and how to you think it can be used effectively?
This is an updated version of my original guest post on the bowden2bowden blog. Read the original here.