Most small business owners recognize that, in order to be competitive in their chosen industries, they must have an online presence. This includes participation in social media, which continues to evolve with regards to strategies and platforms that are effective at any given time. What was once just Twitter and Facebook has now been expanded to include Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube, among others. Regardless of where you market your business online, there are several reasons why social media marketing is essential for your small business in the new year.
Mobile devices are now everywhere. According to Google, mobile internet traffic in 2015 surpassed desktop traffic and the way that people use their mobile devices is very telling. More mobile device users than ever are browsing social media sites, viewing content and videos, and posting comments or reviews on businesses. If you are not participating in these social sites that more than half of the population is visiting, you are leaving money on the table.
Speaking of video, the average adult in the U.S. spent 1 hour and 16 minutes daily watching online videos in 2015. Last year was the first in history that Facebook video views surpassed YouTube, with over 8 billion views. Social sites now have their own native video apps that small business owners are using to market their businesses very effectively. Whether it be Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or Snapchat, video is exploding online and should be an essential part of any social media marketing strategy going forward.
While Google is still the world’s most powerful search engine, the social media sites that small business customers spend so much time on have also introduced search functions. This is a recent development and platforms like Facebook, with its Facebook FYI, now make it easier for 1.5 billion searches per day to return relevant results about local businesses and services. Results may include public posts from friends about a business, public conversations, or prior business reviews.
Social media is about both creating brand awareness and establishing relationships with customers. Some social media sites are rolling out tools to make it easier to establish and maintain that personal connection with current or potential customers. Facebook offers Businesses on Messenger, currently only in the U.S., that allows businesses to have these real-time conversations.
Social media marketing can include such things as paid ads, which continue to evolve on the various platforms. These ads will allow you to bring customers straight to your website once clicked. A new development that takes things even further for business owners is the ability to use the social media platforms themselves to display and sell products or services, essentially turning them into e-commerce platforms. Facebook has Canvas, Twitter has a Buy Button for In-Tweet purchases, and Pinterest has Buyable Pins.
With over 2 billion active social media users worldwide, there is no doubt that the exposure companies get by being involved in social media marketing has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line. Simply having an online presence isn’t enough, however. Being effective and successful in social media requires a purposeful online strategy. If your small business is ready to start the new year off on the right foot with a strong social media program, give us a call or email us. We’d love to answer your questions and help you move forward.