Every small business owner has at one point or another mulled over the thought, how important is social media marketing for small businesses? Why have they done so? Because it is inescapable to see how much time people are spending on their devices on social media and not wonder how to get your product or service in front of those scanning eyes.

If for some reason you have been living under a rock and are not aware of the impact of social media on the choices people make when seeking information on a product or service, this is what Smallbiztrends has to say about it, “More than 1 in 3 internet users say they go to social networks when looking for more information about a brand or product”. (smallbiztrends.com)

If your target audience is going there to search for their products or service then it is important for you to be there if you want to be an option for them. Let’s examine the merits of how important is social media marketing for small businesses.

Small businesses can save on advertising dollars

Traditional forms of advertising can be very expensive, making it inaccessible to small business owners. Social media has democratized this, however. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allows for ads that are cost-effective. Not only is the cost manageable but the data behind their targeting increases the likelihood of reaching your ideal audience.

It is almost like a storefront

Because of the gallery effect of some social media platforms and the visual nature of most of them, small businesses can treat them as a virtual storefront. They can showcase their product or service and allow their audience to see what goes on behind the scenes at their location.  The options for these layouts range from professional content development from photographers, graphic designers, and videographers to behind the scenes footage filmed with a mobile phone.

An article from Chief Marketer.com says, “Back in the day, people searched for the newest retail fads by strolling down Main Street and peering into gleaming storefronts. Immaculately decorated window displays were the main driver of purchases, compelling shoppers to walk in, buy an item, share the experience with friends, and hopefully inspire others to come back and buy again. That storefront window still exists in a way—on social media”.

Gives some control over your message

Because the message is coming from your company to the audience you can shape the message you want to be out there. You can easily make adjustments and try different messages to determine which is more effective. The ability to respond to messages that might affect the reputation of an organization is also a benefit.

Drive traffic to your website to collect leads or make purchases

If your audience is not aware of your website and search engine optimization is not taking them there then social media can provide a means to this. As the audience interacts with your social media platforms they can be directed to a website taking them further down the marketing funnel.

Easy to respond to audience queries

It’s as easy as a click away to respond to the queries of your audience. Browsing through any social media platforms you can easily spot queries and comments from customers on various company pages. It is said that customers actually prefer this way of reaching out to companies versus making a phone call. Smart Insights puts it this way, “1 in 3 social media users prefers using social media when reaching out to a brand or business for customer service”.

Offers the opportunity to build brand advocates

Every business wants customers who will promote their business without needing to prompt them. As your audience becomes customers, social media provides a place for you to continually connect with them and offer them ways to use your product or valuable tips and tricks that increase the value of the business they did with you, delighting them to do business with you again and share their views about their interactions with you with the public.

Gives great assistance with customer service

Social media marketing is important for small business as it provides a place for valuable customer feedback such as testimonials and reviews. Social media such as Facebook has a rating system that when used can increase customer confidence. Most customers are more comfortable connecting with businesses that are highly rated.

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