Updated: Dec 11, 2021
There are now about 4.2 billion people using the social media (twice the number versus 5 yrs ago.) They each spend an average of about 2.5 hrs every day. Main reasons people use social media are:
· To stay up-to-date with current events
· To stay in touch with friends
· To share daily photos or videos with others
· To make online purchases
Social media creates an incredible opportunity for new businesses by helping them build brand awareness through direct marketing to create sales, and to develop customer relationships. As a matter of fact, a staggering 75% of people have purchased something because they saw it on social media according to a study done by Sproutsocial.
For new businesses to be successful in using social media, they must:
Start with a plan
It doesn’t cost much to create a FB page, or accounts on Instagram and Twitter. Yet, please remember that every sustainable business starts with a good business model, and eventually a business plan. New businesses, from the day of their inception, must create a social media presence to support their specific business goals. There are multiple free resources on the internet that help create and support a social media marketing plan.
Decide on the right platforms
Do not make assumptions about how your potential customers spend their time on social media. There are several sources of reliable demographic information sources which show all major networks. You may need to conduct some research of your own since an average internet user has over 8 social media accounts.
Know and expand potential customers
New businesses will have to compile data on their current customers and then go deeper in analysis in order to understand who’s interacting with their businesses. Despite the recent issues with Apple's OS update, Facebook and Instagram still provides valuable and detailed insights data on the traffic you generate to your business page profiles. You should also do a deep dive into your website's analytical tools to pinpoint where people come to your website from, and their engagement metrics.
More than 40% of internet users use social networks to research brands and build relationships that, in the long run, would create sales. In a recent survey, it was found that 69% of respondents were helped maintain customer relationships during the COVID-19 era thanks to their social media efforts. Creating a Facebook group, connecting with influencers, and using social platforms are all vital to building meaningful relationships that will build a community of brand ambassadors.
Market and sell via social commerce
Social media marketing has evolved in recent years with a global market value of about 90 billion dollars in 2020. In the US, by June 2020, over 18% of purchases were made through Facebook, and over 10% by Instagram.
Focus on quality over quantity
It is more important to create quality content on a couple of key channels than to be on every social network. Your plan must be honest, authentic, sincere, and reliable content that offers great value. Remember, social media is about building relationships. At the start, new businesses must focus on one or two social channels.
Follow your performance
As you implement your social media strategy, it is important to keep track of what works and what does not. You can then fine-tune your efforts and improve your results. Make sure you test your content - content is king in an environment where you are competing for attention in a matter of seconds.
In summary, the unique benefit of social media for small businesses is that it allows them to communicate directly with their customers in a very targeted, and affordable way by building relationships over time. It is very important to be patient, consitent, sincere, and authentic as you build this relationship rather than focusing on trying to close a sale. Keep in mind that it takes a person 5-8 times to see something on social media before they make a purchase.