Why Should Small Businesses Invest in a Social Media Presence?
If you are a small business owner, kudos to you! You are a vital part of American commerce, creating jobs and producing goods and services. Yet economic downturn and the migration from traditional face to face and print marketing to digitized business practices leaves many small business owners disadvantaged when compared to large companies that have the money and already know how to speak to an online audience. Many small business owners realize the importance of an online presence, but fewer are aware that actively maintained social media accounts go much further than a simple website or online Yellow Pages listing.
Social media is where consumers are
The numbers are impossible to ignore. According to a 2013 GlobalWebIndex study, Facebook alone has a billion active users. Of those users, 665 million interact with the site on a daily basis. Twitter boasts 500 million registered accounts and 288 million active monthly users. That means 21% of the world’s internet population is using Twitter each month. According to YouTube’s blog,its video-sharing site has one billion unique monthly users and reaches more adults between ages 18 and 34 than any American cable network. LinkedIn, a professional networking site, gains two new users every second. These numbers mean that consumers are more than comfortable using the internet to socialize, shop and network. For some, if a business cannot be found online, it may as well not exist at all.
Social media is still growing
Social media is not a new technology, but new usage and demographic penetration has far from peaked. A January 2014 GlobalWebIndex survey shows that Instagram, a photo sharing site owned by Facebook, is the fastest growing social network worldwide. Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are all seeing continuing patterns of steady growth. Mobile is the most popular way to access social media sites, with 66% of users choosing mobile access over tablet and PC. New social media user demographics may come as a surprise. Users aged 45-64 represent the fastest growing new user demographic on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook according to GlobalWebIndex. Social media has penetrated into every age bracket and is no longer merely a young persons domain.
Social media pays off
Having an active web presence helps businesses form lasting customer relationships. A Facebook post, a well-timed tweet, or catchy YouTube video can be a gateway to millions of potential customers. According to the New York Times, adults spend an average of eight and a half hours looking at a screen. Smartphone access puts the web in the pocket of the people businesses need to reach in order to grow. Active social media accounts also bump a business’ search engine rankings, leading to greater exposure to new customers. Visibility is key in allowing a small business to thrive, and social media puts a company firmly into view.
Set-up is easy, maintenance takes time and effort
Social media is user friendly by definition. Accounts are simple to create and most interfaces are somewhat intuitive for the average web user. However, in order for social media to contribute to the growth of a business, accounts must remain active and new content must be posted frequently. Setting up a Twitter account that is rarely updated is the equivalent of remaining silent at a party and expecting to leave with a hundred new friends. While all social networks work under similar principles of crowdsourcing and content sharing, getting the maximum benefit from each network requires a custom strategy for each platform. At Picobarn we are fluent in all relevant social media networks and offer industry specific insight into how your business can benefit from an integrated social media marketing plan as you move forward into 2014.
The point is—it’s not too late to jumpstart your social media campaign! If you’ve been loathing to do it for some time or have neglected your accounts for far too long, why not hire it out? Check out our social media services for small businesses. We can help you on any social media platform, but for this month we have a special offer going on for all new LinkedIn accounts!