Whether a person is just starting a small business for the first time or is running one that has existed for years, it might now be time to turn a closer eye to the power that social media may be able to provide when it comes to reaching customers within the local market.
There are a number of reasons why this type of platform is emerging as incredibly popular among businesses of all sizes, but it may be especially helpful for smaller ones as long as it's approached properly, according to a report from Firmology. The issue that many companies have in dealing with social media in general is that some owners may view it as something of a waste of time, and while it certainly can be if it's not handled correctly, it can also be vital to building and simultaneously maintaining sturdy, reliable customer base.
One of the primary reasons using Facebook and Twitter, or other social networks, can be crucial for growing a business is that it's a great way to reach one's desired audience without spending a lot on advertising, the report said. Certainly, it's possible to buy ads that will be seen by those in a small company's area through their normal social media browsing, but it's not necessary; as long as businesses are generating interesting content that might draw in uses – which might include exclusive deals for those following them on these sites – there may be room to grow with an advertising budget of zero.
Social media can also be beneficial because it allows companies to make their advertising efforts more focused, the report said. Rather than just putting an ad on television or radio, or in a newspaper, and hoping people who might be interested in an offered product or service will see it, social media can be far more targeted. Depending on the network a company is using, and a number of other factors, companies may be able to find a very specific audience that can help them to grow. Further, and along these same lines, these platforms will also allow owners to continue connecting with people who have opted to follow them so that they remain engaged and informed about what's happening with the business.
What not to do
Of course, there are ways that companies can misuse social media even as it mostly provides positives, and owners will want to make sure to avoid these issues at all costs, the report said. The cardinal sin that companies can commit when using these sites is simply posting too often. Even dedicated supporters can grow sick of seeing more than a few updates per day, at the most, and that might lead them to take the step of "unfollowing" a business even if they have been regular customers for some time. It's not always easy to strike the balance between timely updates and overdoing it, but a good rule of thumb is only posting two or three updates per day, because people just don't want to feel as though they're being spammed, and also because previous messages, which could be more important than newer ones in some cases, may get lost in the shuffle.
If social media use by small businesses goes as planned, companies could find themselves in a position to grow in some ways, occasionally in a very short period of time. However, it's important to keep in mind that with expansion will likely come increased small business insurance costs, including those for workers' compensation insurance and general liability insurance when bringing on more workers.