Almost everyone in the world is aware of social media – from children to senior citizens. Businesses of all sizes are likewise using it in their marketing communications.
People and businesses have been using social media to connect with people and organizations in various parts of the globe.
For businesses, particularly small businesses, social media have become a potent tool in marketing their products and services.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is the planned, organized, and measured use of social media platforms, usually in conjunction with other online assets, to promote a product, service, or idea.
How does it effectively perform marketing functions for small businesses?
These are many ways social media help small businesses in their marketing functions:
- For promoting products/services
This is the most common reason why businesses use social media. Products/services can be promoted for free and/or by using paid ads.
- It offers incredible marketing reach
Social media can reach millions of users worldwide.
- To create/enhance brand visibility
Big and small businesses have used social media to create or enhance their brands with a varying degree of success.
- To build corporate reputation
Businesses have used social media to communicate their mission, vision, and even corporate social responsibility programs. It is good for public relations.
- As a tool for audience targeting
Social media have provided online advertisers with a way to focus on their target audiences such as geographic locations, gender, age, interests, and behaviors.
- To complement non-traditional advertising
It is a common and effective practice by businesses to use social media to mirror or reflect any advertising they do on traditional media such as broadcast, print, and out-of-home. Similarly, these traditional media ads also show the brand’s presence on social media.
- As a source of information
Social media is a free and readily accessible source of valuable information about a product or service. This is how it educates its audience.
- For market research
Social media is a good source of information for marketers doing research, particularly on product preferences and consumer interests and behavior.
The information may include problems encountered by customers with a product. It may also point to potential market opportunities not identified before by marketers.
As these are usually fresh information, businesses can analyze and evaluate these and can lead them to have an advantage over competitors.
- As a medium for audience/customer feedback
Users usually give comments on social media regarding specific products and services. It is also a common outlet for customer expression of disappointments or praises for certain brands.
User feedback may also be considered in improving product features and/or customer support.
Positive user feedback is also a form of customer testimonial that can encourage potential customers to view the brand favorably that can lead to more sales.
- For customer engagement
Social media is an open venue to engage with customers or brand followers, particularly during special events or promotions.
Users can also post contents that can be useful to a brand and its market. Thus, they become informal contributors to the marketing knowledge of marketers which otherwise may not be available from other sources.
- As a platform for personnel recruitment
Businesses use social media to recruit personnel on a wider scale given their reach.
- Helps in improving search visibility
Businesses that are active on social media usually rank well on search engine results. Social media activities of businesses and their followers are positive signals for improved search ranking.
- As a medium for influencer marketing
Many businesses are using influencer marketing. They engage reputable social media personalities who have a strong influence over large genuine followings to endorse their brands through social media posts.
- Provides real-time analytics
A very important feature of social media is its analytics. It gives businesses a gauge of how well their audience/market is responding to their online initiatives. Analytics enables businesses to analyze audience/market engagements and optimize their succeeding online efforts for more effective results.
There are other ways that social media help small businesses.
Why is it the best marketing tool for small businesses?
Considering the abovementioned ways, the information, engagement, targeting, and reach of social media plus the fact that most of its available functions are free makes it the best marketing tool for small businesses.
These are, of course, to be executed in a planned, organized, and measured manner by a good social media marketing strategy appropriate for each business to guide its actions toward its desired outcome.
So, go social. Done the right way, it can bring significant positive marketing results for small businesses.