Social media for many is a source of entertainment. Yet, with its ever-increasing grasp on our society, businesses have taken to the keyboard in record numbers.
The phenomenon is well documented. Facebook has over 2 billion users as of this post, while Instagram is nearing 1 billion and Twitter has over 300 million (source: Statista).
But what do these numbers mean for small businesses? Well, that’s a good question:
- Users discover small businesses via Facebook and Instagram more often
- Small businesses can reach thousands of people in their geographic area – or millions nationally
- Social media is a passive advertising technique – this means people will most likely see your message just by scrolling—much like newspapers, meaning many more impressions and chances to be noticed
With statistics and insights like these, being a small business with no social media presence is, in essence, throwing money away.
The value of social media marketing is interesting. For instance, the use of hashtags (you know, those things that used to be called “pound signs”) connects you directly to an audience looking into that specific subject. Here’s an example:
Today, I checked on Instagram for a few hashtags. At the time of posting, the hashtag “#tuesday” had 12,353,927 posts, which means that hashtag has reached that many people.
The hashtag “#design” has 111,332,040 posts. If you were a kitchen design company, using that hashtag could connect you to millions of people.
These numbers are albeit theoretical. You can’t assume you’ll reach over 111 million people by using the “#design” hashtag, but you can bet that using that tag will make your post part of an extremely large and long-running conversation.
And that’s what business marketing is about these days, isn’t it? When two people are having a conversation, and they say, “Oh yeah, Joe does great photo framing!”, you can bet that Joe made a name and reputation for himself, which could lead to his next referral.
Coupled with the fact that virtually every social media platform allows for some kind of contact mechanism between customer and business, this could mean big dollars with the right campaign.
It’s helpful to think about social media in the context of highways. As you whiz by the signs on the side of the road, some will catch your eye. Most often, those are ones that are repeated messages, or ones that are placed well, such as on long stretches with no exits advertising restaurants or gas stations.
Social media marketing is like those repeated signs on the highway. They are meant to stick into the mind of a user to elicit a desired action.
And today, almost everyone is using social media to market their products or services. From myself with my writing business, to people who sell art and crafts, or services like construction and plumbing. So, if you find yourself engaging in virtually any kind of business, social media is an inexpensive and effective way of building your brand and increasing your ability to be on the minds of potential customers.
The only question is this: do you have the skills to effectively use social media for marketing? If not, finding the right professional is essential.
So what is the lowdown? If your small business is not on social, you’re missing out.