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Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

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How Small Businesses Can Leverage Social Media

Having a presence on social media can reap big rewards and be a cost-efficient way for small businesses to market themselves. If social media is not currently part of your marketing plan, keep reading to learn why it should be.

Social networking sites allow you to reach your target audience cost-effectively while engaging current and past customers and attracting new business opportunities. Social media users span all demographics, but the key is identifying which platforms your customers are using and how best to promote your product or service through those specific channels.

In this blog, we’ll examine the benefits that small business owners can gain through a long-term social media marketing plan. We’ll also provide information on the top sites so you can determine which ones are the best fit for your company.

Benefits of Using Social Media for Your Small Business

All social media channels offer free access to a vast audience of potential customers. This provides endless opportunities to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your business website, and generate new customers. It also provides an opportunity to deliver high-value content to engage your audiences and a next-level customer experience. 

If you’re a small business owner on a tight budget or if your business is brand new, having a presence on one or more social media platforms is a marketing tactic that makes sense. While there are many benefits to leveraging social media, we’ve outlined the top benefits for small businesses below.

1. Build brand awareness.

When it comes to marketing, social media has a massive advantage over traditional media platforms like TV, radio, and print. With one social media post, you can immediately spread information about your business and potentially reach millions of new customers.

In addition, there are certain types of posts, like short-form videos, that could make your business go viral with the right concept and topic.

If you’re an online retailer or service-based business, you can expand your audience to people all over who could potentially buy your products or services. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you can target people who live in or travel through your specific Oregon location.

No other form of advertising can give you this type of reach for the cost.

2. Bring traffic to your business website.

Another benefit of social media is that it’s easy to direct traffic to your website by including a call to action in your posts. Strategic inclusion of calls to action effectively bridges the gap between social engagement and tangible business outcomes.

By prompting users with specific actions like “Learn more on our website” or “Sign up now for exclusive deals,” businesses can direct a steady stream of traffic from their social media accounts to their websites. Not only does this enhance the quantity of your web traffic, but it also improves its quality. These visitors are often interested in your offerings because they’ve engaged with your social media content.

Driving more traffic to your website with social media complements traditional traffic sources such as search engine optimization. By diversifying the avenues through which potential customers can discover and interact with your brand, you increase the visibility of your small business.

A multichannel approach broadens your reach and fortifies your online presence, making it more resilient against the ever-changing dynamics of digital marketing.

3. Gain new customers and increase sales.

Another significant benefit for small businesses using social media is the ability to target prospective and new customers. Social media not only facilitates targeted advertising but also significantly aids in expanding your customer base and increasing sales.

By engaging with users through compelling social media content, businesses can attract new followers and convert them into customers. By directing followers to take strategic action (sign up, call now, visit our website), you have the opportunity to build your database and email list with new and prospective customers.

This method effectively pools engaged individuals who have already shown interest in your brand, setting the stage for further nurturing through personalized content and exclusive offers outside the social platform.

To take this one step further, by harnessing the power of social media analytics, businesses can fine-tune their strategies to reach an even broader audience. These analytics allow you to understand which types of content perform best and how your audience is engaging with them. This will help to optimize your posts and ads to attract and engage a desirable demographic.

With the enhanced capability of social media platforms to segment audiences based on specific criteria, businesses can create highly focused campaigns that not only increase visibility but also drive conversions.

By effectively using social media as a tool for direct marketing and audience building, small businesses can establish a robust pipeline of new customers ready to engage and transact, ultimately boosting overall sales and building brand awareness.

4. Improve customer service and experience.

Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity for businesses to elevate their customer service and enhance the overall customer experience. By leveraging social media content, companies can create a more engaging and responsive customer service environment.

For instance, regular updates and informative posts can help keep customers well-informed about new products, services, and policies. Additionally, interactive features such as polls, live chats, and Q&A sessions can facilitate direct communication and allow businesses to gather feedback in real time. This makes customers feel that you value them and are listening to them.

This proactive approach improves the responsiveness of customer service and also integrates it seamlessly into daily marketing efforts, creating a holistic brand experience.

Moreover, maintaining active social media accounts is crucial for companies aiming to reach and connect with their customer base. Businesses can monitor customer sentiment, respond to inquiries promptly, and manage issues before they escalate. This immediate interaction boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty, as consumers always appreciate quick and effective resolutions to their concerns.

Social media also enables companies to personalize their interactions and tailor their responses to individual needs, which enhances the customer experience. By integrating customer service into their broader social media strategy and marketing efforts, businesses can transform traditional customer support into a dynamic part of their engagement strategy.

The Five Major Social Media Platforms

One of small businesses’ struggles with social media is figuring out which platforms are right for the business and will provide the most value. Not every social networking site is a good fit, and mastering them all can be time-consuming. Instead, it’s best to consider which one your target audience uses and focus your efforts there.

Facebook

Facebook is the world’s largest social channel, with over 3 billion active monthly users. Having a presence on Facebook is a must for every small business, regardless of what products or services your company offers.

Facebook statistics:

  • 200 million small companies are on Facebook.
  • 63% of Americans over 12 say they have a Facebook account.
  • 78% of consumers say they have found a product through Facebook.

Creating a business profile page is free, and you can customize your page with images and list your website URL, contact information, hours of operation, and the products and services your company offers. 

Once you’ve set up your profile, you can create posts that share information, photos, videos, infographics, company news, blogs, and more. And with a Facebook Business account, you’ll gain access to advertising tools and in-depth analytics.

Instagram

Instagram is incredibly popular, with around 2 billion active users as of 2024

What sets Instagram apart from other social media sites is that it is a visual platform dominated by photo and video posts. Therefore, it’s best for small businesses that have appealing visual content to share. Just ensure that your images and video are of high quality.

Instagram statistics:

  • More than half the global Instagram population worldwide is age 34 or younger, and it is especially popular with teens.
  • Instagram is also one of the most influential advertising channels among female Gen Z users when making purchasing decisions.
  • 90% of people on Instagram follow a business account.

From Instagram Live to Instagram Stories, small businesses can use Instagram’s tools to promote their offerings. It’s important to note that this platform is almost entirely mobile. It doesn’t allow you to take photos or create new posts on the desktop version unless you use a special social media management tool.

X (formerly Twitter)

X has 500 million users and is best for sharing brief updates, engaging with followers, and sharing links to blog posts. You can share tweets—which are posts containing no more than 240 characters—photos, videos, links, and more. You can also interact with others on the platform by mentioning users in your posts and liking and retweeting tweets from other users.

X statistics:

  • 206 million users access X daily.
  • X is most popular among users age 25 to 34.
  • Worldwide, men use X more than women.

If you have engaging content to share and can voice that content in a captivating way, X can be a valuable platform for quickly spreading the word about your business. To boost your tweets, you can use hashtags, and when users retweet your posts, your content could go viral. When using X, it’s essential to strike a balance between sharing your own content and retweeting content from other users.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has 900 million members and is the prime platform for professional social networking. This is the best social media channel to find and recruit talent for your company, position yourself as an industry leader, and promote your business to other professionals.

LinkedIn statistics:

  • Women account for 42.8% of LinkedIn users, while 57.2% are men.
  • The age group with the most LinkedIn users is between 25 and 34 at 59.1%.
  • Half of those with a college degree or higher use LinkedIn.

Users on LinkedIn create their own profiles that showcase their skills and professional experience, similar to a resume. Businesses can also create a company profile that showcases their offerings. 

LinkedIn is effective for posting job openings, information about your company culture, blogs related to your industry, and other content that would interest professionals. You can also join industry-specific LinkedIn groups, which can help with brand recognition and introduce others to your company profile and website.

TikTok

TikTok is relatively new to the social media arena. On this platform, its 1.8 billion monthly active users can create and share short videos. It is mainly dominated by Gen Z users, and as it skews toward a younger audience, it may not be the right fit for your small business.

TikTok statistics:

  • 54% of TikTok users are female, and 46% are male.
  • Only 1.7% of TikTok users are 55 or older.

TikTok is known for posting memes, dance challenges, and viral moments. It can be a successful marketing platform for the right small business, but only if used properly.

The good thing about TikTok is that it doesn’t just show its users videos from those they follow. Instead, it offers a continuous stream of content, including videos that the app thinks you might like. This means potential customers can see your content without going directly to your profile.

One thing to keep an eye on: The U.S. government has been growing concerned about data privacy on TikTok. And in late April 2024, President Biden signed a bill that could result in TikTok being banned in the United States by 2025.

Take Your Small Business to the Next Level

Using social media for your small business can be a transformative step toward growth and market presence. As the digital landscape evolves, understanding how to utilize social media platforms effectively becomes crucial.

These platforms offer a way to promote your products and services and connect with your customer base directly and personally. This provides you with a cost-effective marketing tool, capable of reaching a wide audience with minimal financial investment.

If you’re uncertain about where to begin or how to optimize your social media strategies, the Oregon Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is an excellent resource. Dedicated to supporting the growth and development of small businesses, SBDCs provide access to essential tools, advice, and training to help you navigate the complexities of social media marketing.

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