If you’re a small business owner, chances are you have your hands full with all the aspects of running your business: customer service, accounting, marketing, handling emails, fielding phone calls, and being pulled in nine different directions at once.
It makes sense, then, that you’d do your best to eliminate those elements that aren’t worth your time or effort. It's not uncommon for the ax to fall on marketing — social media in particular.
Small business owners often cite lack of time to put in the effort it takes to see notable returns as a reason for overlooking a social media marketing strategy. Some have tried and didn’t see the results they were looking for, and others just don’t see value in investing time and effort (and sometimes money) into something that they're not a hundred percent sure will even work.
Knowing all this, it begs the question: can businesses really succeed on social media?
First, Some Facts
Before we get into more anecdotal evidence, let’s lay out some hard numbers.
You may not be on Facebook, but your competitors are:
- Over 50 million small businesses are on Facebook
- 75% of brands spend money to promote their Facebook posts
Twitter isn’t just for telling the universe what you had for lunch:
- 47% of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit their website
- 72% of a business’s followers are more likely to make a purchase
Social media comments act as short online reviews:
- 88% of people find online reviews as trustworthy as personal recommendations
- 90% of potential customers will research a business before making a purchase
Hopefully these stats are enough to convince you. If not, we asked some small business owners (who are also Grasshopper customers!) to tell us how they’ve used social media for their businesses and what they’ve learned. Here’s what they had to say.
Spread the Word
RODNEY LIE, OFFICE PRIDE OF DENVER:
We use social media for exposure. I don't believe that people go to Facebook or LinkedIn when they are looking for an office cleaner. However, the social media platforms allow us to rank higher on the search engines and once someone finds us online, they use Facebook and LinkedIn to check us out. When we show them we are a professional cleaning company, not just a guy with a broom, they are more likely to hire us.
RHONDA BURGIN, BURGIN CONSTRUCTION:
I think consistency is the best. Do the platforms that work for you and just remember [it’s] not about the number of followers but the relationships you make.
ALEX LIPSCOMB, ALL MAVEN and KNOWLIGATION:
Social media has allowed our business to connect with industry leaders that provide helpful insight into growing our business. In addition to researching better business practices with social media it's allowed us access to larger businesses for feedback and business opportunity. Social is what got our business off the ground, allowing us to build a reputable and authentic brand that people appreciate.
Focus on Your Audience
STEPHEN JULIANO, EXTRA MAGIC TRIPS:
In order to create content that your users want to interact with, it is important to connect with them. Make sure you are taking a look at your social media insights (available on both Facebook and Twitter) and review your social media audience's demographic information and preferences. Tailor the content you are posting to your audience, and don't always focus on selling products, and you'll hit it out of the park. A majority of my guests (over 50%) have come to me from my social media channels!
Don’t Be Afraid to Learn and Start Over
CINDY COPELAND, OFFGRID REALTY:
Starting a new business as a real estate buyer and investor, I flooded social media (several times a day, every day) with a consistent message...I was just throwing my message out 'there' and getting little to no response. I quit cold turkey a few weeks ago — frustrated — needing to refine my message and methods. I'm now putting content out every day as a means to document (my journey) as opposed to creating new content. I've learned that it's o.k. to refine and evolve yourself/your business/your content.
Putting It Into Practice
If those small business owners tell you anything, it’s that social media can work for businesses of all shapes and sizes, and provide tangible benefits. Increasing your reputation, providing customer service, and even growing your brand are all goals that you can achieve through social media marketing.
Don’t get me wrong — it does require effort, and you may have to tweak and refine your strategies and tactics. Social media isn’t the type of set-it-and-forget-it solution you may find with, say, email campaigns. But, if you’re willing to put the time in, you’ll surely reap the benefits.