With so many ways in which consumers can buy goods and services these days, it's important for small businesses in particular to do all they can to get an edge on the competition. It's important to note, though, that many experts now say perhaps the best way to do that is to try to reach consumers directly, through the latest channels available.
Small business owners are turning more and more often toward social media as a means of dealing directly with consumers to promote themselves for low or no cost, according to a report from the Miami Herald. The fact of the matter is that nearly three in every four Americans are now on at least one social network, and more than half also have smartphones, meaning that the chances of reaching those people at almost any time is going to grow.
These days, the simple fact is that most consumers do a lot of online research before buying a product, meaning that social media is going to grow even more important when it comes to creating an online presence, the report said. One reason that many small businesses might not yet currently engage in the use of these channels is that they might view it as something to which they might have to devote a significant amount of time while seeing little in the way of financial return, but 86 percent of global marketers polled in a recent study said that they believe companies who participate in it either are seeing some kind of revenues generated from the practice, or will eventually do so.
A wide range of options
Of course, when it comes to social networks, it's not always easy for owners to figure out which they should pursue more diligently than others, the report said. While Facebook is often considered the catch-all simply because its user base is so diverse, further decisions should be made based upon the way demographics a company serves and who uses each platform. For instance, LinkedIn is popular among older and more affluent professionals, so if a company's product or service is designed for that kind of market, it's a great way to start.
In addition, if owners are concerned about the cost (either in actual finances or simply in hours) of using social media regularly, it might be wise to examine other costs instead. For instance, shopping around for small business insurance policies including those for liability insurance can save companies thousands of dollars a year.