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It’s hard to believe that social media has only been around in business since 2006. That was year LinkedIn began to stake its claim as the ‘professional profile of record.’ It went global in 2008. It only took 2 years.

Fast forward to 2017. There are so many social media platforms it can be a struggle to work out which ones your small business should be using; indeed, if it should be using any at all. The purpose of this blog is to help you shed some light on that decision, after all, what will happen if you decide not to use social media?

Let’s explore that for a moment.

Imagine business without the Internet.

When it first came on the scene there were many skeptics. Some people couldn’t believe anyone would give away information or make purchases online – it was far too risky. Now we can’t image business or indeed life, without it.

Social media is the next wave of digital transformation.

Like the internet, it’s here to stay. Your customers are on social media. Usage numbers are staggering and growing. In Australia there are currently 15 million active Facebook users – that’s 61% of the population. According to estimates, the number of social media users worldwide is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018. *(www.statista.com).

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The consumer of today is savvy.

 They don’t like to be sold to. No longer does the tradition of disruption advertising work like it used to.

Today’s consumer goes looking for a solution to their problem.

The internet is the first place they look. First of all they may check out your website. Then they’ll look for your Facebook or LinkedIn page, after all this is where the real stuff happens, the business personality, the ‘talk’ about your business.

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Consumers base their decisions on recommendations from others and on positive customer interactions. You don’t have a Social Media presence. The consumer finds someone who does.

Social media is fundamentally changing the way a business reaches and interacts with customers and the way it offers its products and services. It is changing the way we do business.

Perhaps the question should be: Can your business survive without it?

 

Social media has become such an integral part of business that it’s almost analogous to having children – you can’t remember life before it.

How Does Social Media Improve Your Business?

 

1.  Social Media is a Superior Customer Service Tool.

One of the benefits of using social media is that it enables you and your customers to have a 2-way conversation. The Facebook platform is perfect for this. All kinds of information can be shared, like questions and answers, solutions to customer issues and product feedback. Social media provides rich customer experiences and builds strong relationships.

 

2.  Social Media drives Website Traffic and Increases Leads.

Social media can help you direct customers to your website. By simply putting a link to a website page in your social media posts, you can send customers to your sales page or your special offer, whichever you choose. The more people share your posts, the more traffic is directed to your website and the more leads there are in your sales funnel.

 

3.  Social Media increases Brand Awareness and Loyalty.

When you have a social media presence you make it easy for people to find you. Because of the valuable content you put on social media, the more people begin see you as a knowledge expert. They begin to trust you and regard you as the potential solution to their problem.

 

4.  By Using Social Media You can Precision Reach a Targeted Audience.

If you are a local business, you can reach customers with demographic precision, within a 20-30 km radius. Simply by using Facebook Ads.

 

5.  Social Media Gives you Lot’s of Bang for Your Marketing Buck.

Social media is possibly the most cost-efficient part of any advertising strategy. Setting up your account and profile is free on almost all social platforms. There are subscriptions for premier accounts with LinkedIn, but the other big 4, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are free.

Advertising on Facebook is great way to start if you have a low budget. You can have your ad running for as little as $5 a day (depending of the objective of your ad). You set the budget.

 

6.  You can Find Out what your Competitors are Doing through Social Media.

It’s easy to look up your competitors’ Facebook pages and see what they’re up to. Find out what they’re offering, keep up to date with their product releases, discover who their clients are, all kinds of intel. This will help you with your strategic planning and to stay ahead of them.

 

7.  Using Social Media, you Can Discover Facts about Your Customers.

Whenever a customer or potential customer interacts with your social media, you can gather information about them. Who they are, what they like, where they are located and how they feel about your products or service. These insights allow you to create creative ways to reach them, improving your targeting and increasing conversions.

 

8.  You Can Use Social Media to Expand Your Professional Network.

Many businesses use social media to connect with other people in their industry or to those that align with their services. Using social media to establish yourself as a knowledge expert or industry expert is an ideal way to increase your professional network, leading to increased opportunities.

 

9.  You can Protect Your Reputation through Social Media.

Having an online presence allows you to immediately address any misconceptions or negative feedback about your business or product. Addressing negative feedback is a great way of showing your customers that you are not only human, but you care enough to comment on their issues in a positive light and are prepared to rectify any negative situations.

 

10.  Social Media Keeps Your Business Relevant.

In business reputation and perception is everything. A social media presence enables your business to be up to date with what your customers are thinking and saying. Conversations that keep you informed and ahead of their needs and wants.

Technological change can be quite overwhelming for some business owners and some may wish to ignore it altogether. But this strategy may inevitably backfire. Imagine your business without the internet? How would it survive?

 

Bottom line? Social media is a valuable business tool. As a customer service tool alone there is no equivalent.

Investing in social media and a social media strategy is the best way to future-proof your business.

For more on social media strategy and How to Win on Social Media click HERE.

 

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About the Author

I’m Vicki Crossley, a Brisbane based social media consultant and founder of Blue Ocean Biz. My mission is to help small business owners navigate the maze of social media, and ultimately embrace social media as a vital tool to grow their business and attract more clients. To find out more you can contact me here

 

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