Why Small Business Needs Big Social Media

March 8, 2013

It’s been said over and over again in business the last few years; if you are trying to market you NEED to be on social media. Why is social media so important? For starters it’s the best way to directly connect with customers. Anytime something big is happening with your company and you need to let people know about it, social media is a low cost, instant way to alert your customer base.

Despite these clear advantages there are still several companies that aren’t utilizing social media. Now it’s true most of the large companies and corporations have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts that allow them to directly interact with customers. The companies who usually don’t utilize social media for their business tend to be small businesses. This could be because they aren’t as heavily focused on marketing and don’t have a business savvy account executive telling them this is how to advertise. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s actually small businesses that should be utilizing social media more than big businesses.

Imagine you’re the owner of a brand new sporting goods store. You want to compete with the big boys like Dick’s and Sports Authority. You need to generate interest in your store so you make a website and company Facebook page. Now anyone can make a Facebook page but you have to find a way to make it mean something. How do you generate more likes and use that page to get people’s attention?

The answer is you make it worth their while. Make your page something people want to like and get announcements about. Use it to let your customers know about any deals, sales, savings, or something else that will benefit them. If you don’t have something like that going on at the time, simply post something to get customers talking. You’re a sporting goods store ask your followers if they’re excited for baseball season or who they think is going to win the NBA finals. Not only is this a simple, fun way to interact with your customer base, but it also builds customer loyalty. It makes them feel like they’re a friend and you’re noticing them when you respond.

I’ve worked for two companies while in college. One of them did social media right, the other didn’t. From my freshmen year to end of my junior year in college I worked at a national company that had a Facebook page but rarely tried to use it to move the company forward. This has changed since I left but it stills baffles me that for three years this company didn’t make any strides in using a simple tool to reach customers. Especially since it was a wholesale club and could’ve used it to tell customers about that months new coupons or what was being marked down. It was certainly a missed opportunity.

The second company I worked for in college was an event called the Best Damn Race. This was a first year event in Clearwater, FL. This company did everything it could with social media to generate interest and get people to get excited for the event. It used Facebook to ask runners why they were running the race, announce new sponsors, post pictures of the t-shirts and finisher medals, give away free stuff, etc. They made sure everyone was informed about the event and the excitement level never let down. This is how you use social media as a small company.

So why is social media important for a small business? It’s low cost and simple to use. It also allows businesses to directly reach its customers which will build long term customer loyalty. Any small business not currently using social media to expand their business is falling behind. This is a golden opportunity for growth.