Social media. You see it and hear about it all the time. Notifications show up on your phone, you hear about it constantly, you see hashtags and social sharing buttons everywhere. Being so popular, many people mistake social media as a trend, but the truth is, social media is a staple in our culture that is not going away.
In fact, the use of social media is evolving, advancing, and becoming more and more prominent in all aspects of our lives. Social media doesn’t just work because it’s popular, it is popular because it works. This post covers why social media is used for business, how it works, and why you should be using it for your small business!
Social media works because it is widely used, relatively intuitive, and very versatile. It supports a wide range of media, and can be used for just about any topic in life that you can think of. In terms of businesses, social media works because of its targeting, visual element, and convenience (especially if you stick to social media best practices!).
Social media was once about publishing posts to your followers as a whole. Then, you could choose which posts were public and which followers could see your posts. Now, the targeting on social media is extremely advanced. You can target your ads and posts toward specific genders, regions, age groups, and interests. You can target people based on their interaction with your business website, or target people who are similar to your existing customer base. Social media works because it allows businesses to reach new audiences, and to make sure they are not wasting their time or effort on groups not interested in their business.
Another reason why social media works so well for business is its visual component. What do you look at when you flip through a magazine or catalogue? Pictures. When you’re on Craigslist, how likely are you buy a product that has no picture? In fact, do you even click on postings with no picture? The visual sense is extremely important to marketing, and makes social media marketing extremely effective. Not only do user learn about your value, features, benefits, and culture, they can now see it, experience it, even feel a part of it. Social media works for business because images increase the appeal and attractiveness of your business, its products, and posts, and allows you to be more transparent.
People consume information in an entirely different way now. We used to browse through newspapers, catalogues, and encyclopedias in search of the topic on our mind. Now, we expect to have platforms tell us what we want to know, and to quickly get the gist of multiple topics at once. When it comes to information, people like to know, know now, and know quickly. Social media works because it meets our need to quickly see the content we are interested in, to get real time information on it, and to digest it quickly through bite sized pieces of content.
Businesses use social media because it can improve the frequency, quality, and reach of their. marketing. It is a quick and easy way to promote your business’s sales, promotions, events, and other marketing activities.
One of the many benefits of social media is that it can go everywhere with you. You can remind people about a promotion you are running while waiting to be seen by the dentist. Happened to stumble upon someone interested in your business on the train? Pull up your Instagram album to show them examples of your products or work. Businesses use social media because they can promote their products, inform and educate customers, and stay in touch with their target audience from anywhere. When you can run social media campaigns from anywhere, why wouldn’t you use it?!
Sending emails, hanging up flyers, and speaking at events are effective ways of reaching your target audience. However, they are less effective at interacting with them. Social media opens up a dialogue between you and your target audience, enabling them to engage back with you directly and immediately. Rather than talking to your target audience, you are conversing with them, which is a higher quality interaction. Use social media to not just market to your target audience, but to be a part of it as well. There you can learn about them, better serve them, and deepen your connections with them.
As a small business owner, it is highly likely that your team of marketers is not actually a team, but one person (that one person being you). The reason why you should use social media for your business is because it is jam packed with people who are ready and waiting to market your business for you! By engaging with your social media campaigns, liking, sharing and commenting on your posts, they are spreading the word about your business to their followers, and encouraging your followers to join in. Also, posts and pictures from people praising your business make for great user generated content. That is, not business owner generated—which means less effort and more social proof for you!
Social media is no longer associated with just friends and fads. It has permeated our culture, and is used by people to make decisions, obtain information, and get their needs met. It is no longer about why you should use social media for your business, but how.