Free social media platforms are the preferred method of small business owners to promote their products and services.
A new survey by Merchant Circle found small businesses are shunning paid-for advertising methods, such as daily deals, in favour of social media. Facebook is the preferred platform, with nearly seven in ten small business social media strategies incorporating the network, while a third use Twitter.
Small businesses are relying on quality content to engage their target audience on social media; just seven per cent said they ran paid promotions on Facebook, while only one in 100 did so on Twitter.
Mobile marketing is a key consideration for respondents to the survey, with 17 per cent already having a mobile app or website and an additional 16 per cent saying they are very likely to explore these options in the next three to six months.
While social networks are often free to join, maintaining them require a significant investment of time and resource. Building an engaged audience does not happen overnight, and it is only through regular updates of the right type of content that small businesses can achieve success.
How small businesses can achieve social media success
• Formulate an intelligent and integrated strategy. Research released by Grayling this week shows 22 per cent of companies have no social media strategy, while many of those that do have not integrated theirs with their overall communications plans. Small businesses should have a strategy that takes into account their broader business goals, as well as the needs and behaviour of their target audience.
• Focus on quality rather than quantity. Most small business owners will agree that ten sales are better than 100 Facebook fans. Therefore it is important not to get sidetracked by attempts to build follower numbers on social media and instead working to engage and convert at every touchpoint.
• Content is still king. People unfollow brands on social media if their updates are boring or overly promotional. Ensure your content strategy is geared to giving your audience the kind of information they need in the format they prefer.
What are your top small business social media tips?