The meteoric rise of social media in the past decade and a half has led to the prominent use of social media marketing and advertising in recent years. There are currently about 3.5 billion active social media users altogether, meaning that these platforms are extremely potent avenues for brands to gain recognition and ultimately improve their sales. In addition, 63 percent of customers expect companies to have social media presences, and a whopping 90 percent of users have already used social media channels as a way to communicate with a brand or business.

It’s undeniable that utilizing social media marketing has become an essential part of business models and strategies. For small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in particular, social media represents a great opportunity for growth and success in the digital age. Here are some reasons why SMBs should consider increasing their presence on social media.

 

  1. Build More Meaningful Customer Relationships

When companies open up a social media profile, it often acts as another form of customer service. Social media provides a way for customers to show their support or bring any feedback directly to SMBs, instead of through an impersonal email form on a website. This direct connection makes it all the more important for brands to be open and honest in their customer communications and actively work to build positive relationships with the customers who engage the business on social media.

According to a survey by social marketing app Ripl, Facebook and Instagram are the top two channels of communication that companies have with their customers. While Facebook’s numbers have begun to decrease, social media as a whole remains an effective method for driving better customer experiences and building a solid reputation for your own brand. It takes more than simply being on social media to grow from it, but if SMBs take the care to listen and connect with their audiences, it can give them a significant leg up as they continue to strive for success.

 

  1. Advertise Your Business with Low Cost

At its core, social media is completely free to use: SMBs can create an account and make posts and content free of charge. Of course, once you venture in the realm of social media marketing it gets a little more complex.

Brands can use organic and paid methods to increase engagement. Organic marketing includes the direct management of customers through social media — as brands engage with customers openly and honestly on social media, they build strong reputations that pass along through a virtual “word-of-mouth.” Another major part of organic methods is actively directing content and posts to the right audiences through relevant tags and hashtags. This consolidates the content you create under a specific set of categories, whether they are already established or you create new ones yourself.

Paid social marketing methods, when used correctly, are effective strategies for increasing brand awareness. Investments into various analytic tools or promotional/sponsored posts can provide SMBs with breakthroughs in customer growth.

Regardless of whether a company pursues organic, paid or both types of social media marketing, entrepreneurs should realize the importance of investing time and resources into social media — while social media marketing isn’t necessarily free, social media is the cheapest form of advertising to date. For SMBs, their relatively inexpensive investments in social media advertising will almost certainly prove worthwhile.

 

  1. Improve Your Business’ Search Results

SEO is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days, and “search engine optimization” basically implies the techniques you can use to make sure your business shows up when people use search engines. Being active on social media has a strong correlation to search engine rankings, and these days, every entrepreneur is clamoring to get their business on the first page of search engine results.

In addition, social media accounts provide great opportunities to backlink to your business website, increasing traffic and allowing that site to also rank higher on search engines. The more visibility, the greater the chance for higher sales and engagement online.

 

Using social media marketing practices opens entrepreneurs up to larger audiences and gives them the opportunity to build up their company’s reputation and personality. All in all, social media has given SMBs an opportunity to truly thrive in the digital landscape. SMBs should be attentive of social media’s effect on business success, and fully engage customers through these platforms in order to take their business to the next level.