Does your small business really need social media? Considering that more than half of customers learn about new brands on social, we’d say the answer is yes.

Social media is everywhere these days, and leveraging it properly can help your small business stand out in more ways than one.

Let’s break down how to use social platforms — from Facebook to TikTok — to gain valuable insights and grow your small business one follower at a time.

Reach and Engage with Your Customers

A successful marketing strategy should be an omnichannel experience spanning across platforms. From your storefront to your website, and your social channels. One of the biggest benefits of social media is how easy and inexpensive it is to reach potential customers.

And there’s one thing for certain — if you’re not capturing their attention on social media, your competition is.

Boost Brand Awareness with Engagement

Do you know how social media algorithms work? It’s OK if you don’t. While the technical aspects of algorithms vary across platforms and change frequently (we’re looking at you, Instagram) it all comes down to engagement.

If a person sees your social post and interacts with it in some way (likes, comments, shares), their friends or followers will be more likely to see that same post, increasing your reach.

Why does this matter?

Building brand awareness is step one in the marketing funnel. You want people to instantly remember who you are and what your business does when they hear your name.Click to tweet

Creating engaging posts on social allows you to leave a memorable impression on potential customers. Plus, people who engage with a business on social spend up to 40% more with that company in the long run.

So why not make a splash where they’re likely to choose to do business with you?

And, by tracking the metrics that matter you can learn which content works best for your brand.

Provide Customers with Social Proof

Social platforms offer more than a place for you to interact with your customers. It also gives potential customers the peace of mind they need before doing business with you.

If you have zero followers and posted once back in 2015, it’s not a good look. But if you have a couple hundred followers commenting and liking your content, it provides the social proof buyers need to gain trust in your business.

But it’s more than just likes and follows. Potential patrons want to see that you care about your customers and the quality of service you provide.

In fact, 63% of customers say they expect companies to offer customer service on various platforms.

Remember, by responding to negative comments or answering questions about your products or services on social media, you aren’t just making an impression on the customer you’re talking to. Nope, you’re leaving an impression on every person who sees that post.

It’s a Cost-Effective Strategy

Advertising can be a burden for small businesses. This is especially true when you’re just getting started. One of the key benefits of social media is that it is a completely free way to get your name out there.

Social media campaigns designed to boost engagement can easily generate a lot of new eyes on your business.

And when you’re ready to throw a little money at your marketing efforts, various social platforms allow you to create targeted ads at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing avenues.

Keep an Eye on Your Customers … and Competition

You hear a lot about identifying your target audience and doing market research to determine the best strategy to market your small business. One of the best (and potentially easiest) ways to gather the insight you need to effectively market your business is through social media.

Know Who’s on Your Profile

Each social platform gathers a lot of information on the people who interact with your business. By checking out this data through each platform, or through a CRM that gathers it for you, you can begin to make more informed business decisions based on who interacts with your business and how they feel about you.

Furthermore, by looking at demographic or geographic information you can see who typically is interested in doing business with you and where they are located.

Tapping into the data provided by your social platforms can save time and take the guesswork out of your marketing strategy.

Watch the Competition

Social media allows you to do more than just keep an eye on your customers. It allows you to take a look at your competition as well. For instance, are you seeing your competitions customers complain that it’s hard to communicate?

Make a post about how (thanks to your do-it-all customer experience platform) you respond to every message within 24-hours.

In addition to keeping an eye on pain points, customers may be facing — you can also see what products or services the other guy is coming out with or any new promotions they may have.

Grow Your Business

Don’t be left out, 41% of local businesses depend on social media to drive revenue. Whether you’re tapping into TikTok or Twitter here’s how to use social to grow your business:

Drive Traffic to Your Website

Social media posts can help your small business achieve a variety of different goals. You can showcase new products and services with preview videos and teasers. You can put a call out for User Generated Content to boost brand awareness. Or you can drive traffic to your website.

This can be a little harder than it looks with many social sites (cough, cough, TikTok) doing everything they can to keep folks on their respective platforms. Here are a few proven tactics to get users to make the leap:

  • Share teasers of exclusive content like blog posts or videos
  • Engage with customers. Answer questions and link back to FAQ pages
  • Promote special deals or provide discount codes exclusive to social sites

 ‘TikTok Made Me Buy It’

More and more we are seeing social platforms offer the ability for users to book appointments or purchase products directly from the platforms themselves.

Case in point, Facebook and Instagram’s “Book Now” tool allows your customers to schedule an appointment right from your business profile.

As mentioned above, the last thing social platforms want is for people to leave the app. While driving content to your website is preferred, lean into the tools offered by social platforms to sell your products or services directly to your customers from within each social site.

Building the Perfect Social Media Strategy

As you can see, there are numerous benefits to using social media for your business … and we could go on. But the most important part of managing your social media accounts for your business is ensuring your social strategy is up to par and is working for you.

To get started, set aside some time to set clear goals before building out your social media strategy. And don’t feel like you need to hop on every platform to get noticed. Make sure the platforms you choose aligns with your business goals and pick one or two to start. Just make sure you have an easy-to-recognize handle.

Once you’re up and running, keep an eye on engagement and take a look at the data you are collecting and make adjustments as necessary.