By Alex Gladu, Content Writer, Independent We Stand
Social media is often an afterthought for busy small business owners – but research shows that it should be anything but. Seven out of 10 consumers say they are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on social media. An even larger percentage – 85 percent – says they expect businesses to be active on social media. These numbers don’t just tell us that it’s important to be on social media, but also that it’s important to use social media the right way – that is, regularly and clearly.
1. Social media reviews matter.
Social media isn’t just for sharing pictures of your pet anymore. Customers are visiting sites like Yelp and Facebook to find reviews of your business – so make sure you know what they’re finding. In fact, restaurants with 3.5 stars on Yelp are 63 percent more likely to be full than those with just three stars, and 68 percent of consumers say they go to social networking sites to read product reviews.
Although you can’t exactly control what people post about your business, you can take steps to improve your ratings over time and prevent negative reviews before they occur. First of all, it’s a good idea to monitor what people are saying about your business so that you know what reputation exists for your business online. Once you know what people are saying, start to address the complaints they’re having. If you find negative reviews, respond to them! A simple apology to a dissatisfied customer and a promise to fix whatever issue they’re mentioning can go a long way to gaining customers’ trust and appreciation.
2. Not all social media marketing is free – but it can be worth it.
Social media presents a huge opportunity for small businesses – it attempts to level the playing field between big businesses with big marketing budgets and small businesses with understandably smaller budgets. Setting up a profile and posting on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook is free, but paying a small price for ads on these sites is important to consider as well.
Twitter recently unveiled a new tool to help small businesses maximize their social media marketing budgets. Quick Promote lets users quickly turn a tweet into promoted content that shows up on the feeds of Twitter users beyond your followers. That way, you can spread a timely and resonant message to Twitter users who might not otherwise see your posts.
3. Not all social media sites are created equally.
When it comes to social media, as with any marketing activity, it’s important to know your audience. According to Statista, most Facebook users are ages 25 to 34, while most Twitter users are ages 18 to 24. Additionally, LinkedIn generates more leads for B2B companies than Facebook, Twitter or blogs.
To make the most of your social media activity, decide what audiences you need to reach and then find out where they are online. Sites like Facebook and Twitter offer analytics tools to business users so that they can get an idea of exactly whom they’re reaching with their content.
Social media can change the way that customers view your business. It’s an opportunity to engage with specific audiences and share information without spending too much money. This month, try getting social with your business, so that your business can get more acquainted with new and existing customers.
This post is part of a twelve-month series by Independent We Stand. Each month, we’ll feature a new way to promote your small business. If you have a tip or tool that you’d like to share with small business owners, please leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent We Stand inspires small business owners across the country to celebrate their locally owned status and help consumers understand the importance of supporting them.
Unless otherwise stated, all statistics are via LocalVox.
About Alex Gladu
Alex is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is double-majoring in Public Relations and Spanish. Since becoming a writer for Independent We Stand, she has fully adopted the ‘buy local’ lifestyle. Her favorite indie business is Sugarland, a bakery in Chapel Hill, N.C, where she has been known to go a little cupcake crazy. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in nonprofit or political communication.