The Importance of Social Media to Small Business Marketing

by Dave Wirsching on March 31, 2011

The concept behind social media is simple – it’s about connecting. Whether it’s professionals networking on LinkedIn, individuals sharing with each other on Facebook, or businesses finding an audience for their product on Twitter, social networks offer a new type of relationship, one that is no longer limited by time or geography.

Why you should care about Social Media

Social MediaPeople have always talked about businesses – but their discussions were limited to a small circle – usually friends and neighbors. Social networks take that discussion and broadcast it. Recommendations are no longer limited by time or location. Your reputation carries much farther and comments can persist on the internet – possibly for years.

People who you do business with, or want to do business with, are already online:

References and Referrals – They recommend businesses by “talking” about it online, providing links or simply “liking” it on a site like Facebook.

Support – They get help by having their questions answered, finding how-to advice and links to useful content

Complaints – They share what they don’t like and what could have been done better.

Your business needs to be there to provide that help, support and advice. It becomes critical that you monitor social networks so that you will know if there is an issue and have a chance to resolve it.

Connect with your customers or clients

The online world offers you an opportunity to join in the discussion. Though proper use of social tools you can:

  • Increase the visibility of your company
  • Establish stronger relationships with clients and customers
  • Build and audience for information about your products and services
  • Lay the foundation of content and links to assist in your other online and offline marketing efforts

Getting Started

If you are new to social media, the multitude of options can be bewildering. If your business is entering into social media marketing, it is essential that you:

  • Have an understanding of the fundamentals of social media
  • Recognize how it can be used for marketing, and
  • develop a plan for integrating social media into your other marketing activities

You can get this by attending a formal social media training series, like SM90Days; work with an agency to build and train your social team; or engage a marketing coach to help you move your social marketing to the next level.

Don’t forget it’s only a part of the rest of your marketing

While social media can’t be the only marketing tool you use, it should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Unlike many other facets of marketing, social tools and networks require very little upfront capital investment – but they do require an investment in time and planning.

  • Brittany

    While I think social media should be part of most companies’ marketing plans, it is especially beneficial to small and medium businesses who may not have the capital or resources to market their brand.  You’ve made some great points about how social media can give small businesses and their customers a platform to strengthen their relationship, build their brand recognition, and improve their services/product based on reviews from customers (or make good on a bad customer experience).  In my opinion, social media should definitely be a portion of a larger marketing plan for every small business!

    Brittany Morse
    Online Marketing Specialist | Sprout Social

  • Dave Wirsching

    Brittany – thanks for the comment. I couldn’t agree more – social needs to be part of everyone’s plan.

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