PRWeek had an interesting article in June about how small businesses were making big progress with social media. It referenced a recent study of small business owners where 81% weren’t using social media to expand their businesses, even though 63% said word-of-mouth was the most effective way to market their business.

What I like most about small business owners is that they aren’t afraid to take huge risks and lay it all on the line. However, I am a bit baffled why they are so tentative to making the social media plunge.

No one has a monopoly on social media. In fact, it is the great equalizer between large brands and small companies. Consider this for a moment: If large brands such as Pepsi and Starbucks are having a major presence on social media platforms, engaging consumers and building buzz, then why are small businesses, with less funding and fewer resources, having a harder time embracing the trend.

Is it that small business owners believe social media don’t have any value to them and their business? Here are five reasons why you should embrace social media, according to Carlana Charles, Principal of Carlana Charles VA Service:

  1. Get an edge on your competitors. Because most small businesses are still not into social marketing, you have the opportunity to get a competitive advantage over your competitors who are not using social media marketing. Jump on the bandwagon and become one of the early adopters! Your customers will thank you for it.
  2. Your customers are utilizing it. Internet users are utilizing social media to influence their purchasing and where they spend. They are influenced by the rants that consumers make about products and will often check out forums and groups for opinions when purchasing. By being active in social media you can defuse any negative reactions to your product or brand. If you are not using social media it will be challenging to keep your fingers on the pulse of your clients.
  3. Your toughest competitors are probably already using it. If you follow your competitors closely, you’d probably realize that many are using social media to gain and maintain a competitive edge. By also using social media, you too can  demonstrate your expertise and the strengths of your product or service, and also establish yourself as a thought leader, thanks to social marketing. Keep your competitors on their toes by leveraging the potential of social marketing.
  4. It is a cost-effective strategy for marketing. Employing a social marketing strategy is more affordable that you would think. The financial outlay required to set up a Facebook profile or start a blog is VERY minimal. However, time will be the greatest investment that will be required if you are going to craft and hone a successful social marketing strategy. However, you may just determine that you may need to enlist the support of a professional to assist you if you are not sure how you would want to approach the implementation of your strategies.
  5. Traditional marketing strategies have lost its edge and are becoming less effective. Social media and the internet have revolutionized buyer behaviour significantly. With this in mind, businesses should not expect traditional marketing strategies to influence their current and potential customers as it would have in the past. Using social media will keep businesses on the cutting-edge and well attuned to clients and their needs.

However, as small businesses continue to figure out how best to use social media, I hope they will no longer be afraid to make the social media plunge. What most are feeling, is definitely a fear of the unknown. I hope this post was able to quell some of your social media fears, especially if you add a dash of some good old-fashioned rationalization and logical determination of what Social Media can do for you.

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