All it takes is a solid strategy, the right content, and a little bit of algorithm luck, and social media can transform your small business.
For small businesses in almost any industry, within social media lies an abundance of opportunities for you to take advantage of. From establishing your professional reputation, to resolving customer complaints, social media can be extremely beneficial if used correctly.
So in this blog post, we will be covering all of the ways that your small business can use social media to earn new customers, keep your existing ones, and ultimately grow.
Today, your social media profile is essentially a professional portfolio that you should use to establish trust and develop credibility.
Regardless of the industry that you’re in, if you’re a business owner, you can’t succeed, let alone thrive, if your business isn’t trustworthy. For example, you may genuinely offer the best products on the market, but if your Instagram profile looks abandoned and outdated, new leads may have second-guesses about what you offer, or even the validity of your entire business.
In other words, if your social media presence raises red flags, you can instantly lose leads, and every minute that you invested into developing a top-of-the-line set of products, can go right down the drain!
This is because trust, or a lack of trust, can easily outweigh any benefit that your products or services may provide. Nobody likes wasting their hard-earned money, so if a customer can go for a more credible competitor, they are significantly more likely to prioritize trust, instead of taking a risk for a better product or service.
For the modern customer, the need for trust and security hasn’t changed, but what makes a business appear credible today, is quite different from what made businesses appear credible in the past. For example, let’s say that you’re the owner of a café. Before social media skyrocketed in value, besides the products and services you offer, your customers could have evaluated the quality of your business based on the:
- overall atmosphere & decor
- menu design & materials
- business cards
- and, any other marketing materials.
This is because the details, although small, can demonstrate how you take the time to ensure that EVERY aspect of your business meets your standards. If a cafe owner takes the time to design and produce eye-catching takeout boxes, they definitely care about the coffee they serve!
Today, your décor, menu, and business cards will continue to influence your professional credibility… But, due to major shifts in technology and consumer habits, your customers are much more likely to use your social media presence to gauge the quality of your business.
- Looking for more on developing your professional credibility? Check out our previous blog post – 5 Ways to Build Trust & Earn Leads on Social Media
In addition to giving your business a credibility boost, small business owners can also use social media to get discovered and reach new customers!
In the past, the average consumer was much more likely to discover businesses and products through “natural” marketing channels, such as word-of-mouth testimonials, or promotional store-front signage. Although these facets of marketing are still incredibly important today, the daily routine of the modern consumer is significantly different from consumers 10 years ago.
Today, the average consumer is glued to their phone, so as a result, they are much more likely to discover businesses and products through digital marketing channels such as targeted social media content. And, while this may mean that less walking traffic will notice your promotional signage, it also means that you have an abundance of opportunities to be discovered digitally!
So, while something like a billboard may be less effective, you can reach your audience online more than ever before! In fact:
- 25% of Canadian internet users 16-64 discover new brands, products, and services on social media
- Canadian internet users 16-64 spend an average of 1:59 minutes on social media DAILY
- 30.8% of Canadian internet users use social networks for brand and product research.
- One in 10 Canadians agree, “I often buy a product recommended by an influencer I follow online”
Now that so many Canadians are constantly online, social media has become an even better platform to promote your business, get discovered, and earn new customers.
Promoting Your Business
As a small business owner, not only can you use social media to make your business as a whole more discoverable, but you can also specifically promote special events, new products, and new services.
So whether you’re opening a new location, introducing new items on your menu, or you have a special event on the horizon, sharing it on social media can help you generate more interest and buzz. Let’s continue with the previous example, and say that you own and operate a café.
If you were to launch a new line of pumpkin spiced drinks for the fall, you could use social media to announce your new item to thousands of potential customers within your community. Thanks to hashtags, along with algorithms that recognize and spread locally relevant content, your post on social media can reach your exact target market, generate interest, and bring customers into your café.
Plus your most loyal customers can even share the post themselves!
So, in addition to making the entirety of your business more discoverable, sharing high-quality content on social media is also one of the best ways for you to announce special events, and introduce your newest products or services to your target audience.
While reaching a large group of people is great, social media also gives you the ability to foster 1-on-1 relationships with your customers.
Since social media gives you the ability to reach a larger audience, this also means that you have an even larger pool of people that you can develop relationships with. And, with more relationships comes more opportunities for you to grow your business!
For example, let’s say that you own a cafe, and a happy customer tags your business in their Instagram story. While the extra brand awareness is great, this also gives you the unique opportunity to directly reply to their story, and build a stronger relationship. So, if your customers go out of their way to show you appreciation on social media, you should always take the time to respond. A friendly message will only take a few seconds, and it can convert a loyal customer to a lifelong one!
On the other hand, if you have a disappointed customer, you can also use social media to resolve customer complaints and repair damaged relationships. For example, let’s say that your cafe has a new regular, and you make a mistake on their order. In the past, this customer could have told their social circle to avoid your cafe, leaving you zero opportunities to offer a solution.
But today, instead of stopping at their immediate circle, a disappointed customer can also turn to social media to share their experience with their followers. And, while you probably don’t want negative feedback posted online, this also gives you an opportunity to reply directly to a post or story with a possible solution.
Thanks to the explosion of social media, more and more people are turning online to share their thoughts on a business. And, while a negative post or story is inevitable, this platform gives you the ability to interact with your customers on an individual level, giving you the ability to both foster and repair relationships.
In conclusion, we covered how almost every business can utilize social media to establish their credibility, get discovered, promote their business, and build relationships, provided they plan and execute the right strategy.
So, now that we’ve broken down how you can most effectively use social media as a tool, as opposed to an app you leisurely scroll through, we encourage you to evaluate your current social media strategy, and set a plan for the future.
But, if you need help revamping your presence online, we would love to help! To learn more about our Social Media Management services, contact us!