For many business owners, social media is seen as a Pandora’s box of additional responsibilities and expenses that would take a toll on their already thinly-stretched resources.
As with any form of marketing, you get what you put in when it comes to social media. But the returns are a lot higher than you might think relative to what you need to do.
These powerful platforms are transforming how businesses interact with customers, advertise, sell goods and services, and operate overall.
Here we’ll explore the importance of a business social media profile to help you put your company in the best position to succeed in today’s landscape.
You can expect to come away with a better understanding of the following:
- Why social media is important for business
- The specific benefits of social media for business
- The upsides and downsides of the best social media platforms
Why Is Social Media Important for Business?
Social media is important for businesses because it brings an organization’s marketing, communication, and advertising strategies into the 21st century.
A business social media gives your company access to this unprecedented connectivity, exposure, and influence.
With just a few clicks you gain access to vast networks of millions of potential customers.
You’ve most likely noticed, both as a consumer and business owner, how the landscape of traditional business-customer interaction is changing drastically.
The internet and other forms of technology are the primary drivers behind this rapid change.
Social media is the tool your business can use to harness the power of internet connectivity.
Here’s what you can do through social media:
- Connect with potential customers directly
- Sell products and services
- Promote to your target audience
- Increase brand awareness
- Build your email lists
- Conduct market research
- Spy on competitors
Benefits of Social Media for Business
Before you start a business social media profile, it’s helpful to better understand the advantages it offers.
Statistics prove the impact of social media on business growth and performance is undeniable.
Let’s explore some specific benefits of social media for business growth overall.
Social Media Exposure
In 2018, 244 million people were using social media in the United States alone.
This already impressive number is expected to reach 257 million people by 2023. That’s roughly 78% of the population.
If your business sells outside of the country too, the numbers are just as promising.
Globally, it’s estimated that there were around 3.5 billion social media users last year.
These numbers are only expected to rise in the future.
Having a business social media profile allows you to tap into this vast network of users for unparalleled exposure.
Social Media Affordability
On most platforms, starting a business social media profile is completely free.
While you can always pay for extras, you don’t have to worry about straining your business’s marketing budget at the beginning.
You’ll be able to engage with posts, communicate with potential customers, and publish your content without having to spend a dime.
Social Media Customer Interaction
Improved customer interaction is an often-overlooked advantage of a business social media profile.
Most platforms come with a built-in and user-friendly direct messaging function that allows users to contact businesses directly.
This eliminates the need for users to seek out your business’s contact details online and make a phone call or send an email.
In fact, over half of consumers prefer having customer service take place on social platforms.
It also simplifies customer service on the business end by having all communication happening in one organized location.
Creating Loyalty on Social Media
Around 77% of consumers report they’re more willing to buy from a business they follow on a social media platform.
This highlights the loyalty a business can develop by engaging on social media.
These platforms give you a chance to gain the attention of potential customers by breaking the ice without having to rely on more pushy forms of marketing.
Once you have their attention and trust, it’s much easier to transition into another channel such as an email list.
It’s something that takes time, consistency, and unique content. But it comes with a clear return on investment.
Top Social Media Sites for Business
With so many social media platforms and a limited marketing budget, small businesses often struggle with picking the best one.
Let’s take a look at the advantages and downsides of the most popular business-friendly social media sites to help you decide which is best for your business needs.
With 2.7 billion active users each month, it’s no wonder why Facebook remains the preferred choice for businesses of all sizes.
This impressive exposure, along with Facebook’s massive data pool, gives you the ability to target users with unrivaled accuracy.
Setting up a Facebook business page is easy and also comes with handy analytics to help track your engagement, such as how quickly and how often you reply to messages.
Facebook Business Advantages
- Precise targeting capabilities
- Easy customer interaction
- In-depth analytics
Facebook Business Downsides
- Significant competition
- Steep learning curve
Unlike other popular social media platforms, LinkedIn focuses on working professionals instead of the general online user.
This platform is designed to help people display their credentials, network with other professionals, and search for open positions or employees.
Given the platform’s unique setup, your focus might be on finding new business partners, suppliers, or employees rather than converting new customers.
The average user on LinkedIn is looking for more information on their industry, searching for job opportunities, or building their contact list.
It’s not built well for online shopping or entertainment like many other platforms.
LinkedIn Business Advantages
- Ideal for networking
- Great for finding new talent
- Excellent for sharing industry-related content
LinkedIn Business Downsides
- Fewer users than other platforms
- Not built for eCommerce
What started out as a simple platform for sharing photos has quickly grown into a leading social media opportunity for businesses.
With a business social media account on Instagram, you’re automatically in touch with a network of one billion monthly users.
Although this platform remains centered around photos, Instagram has expanded over the past few years to offer eCommerce integration, link placements, and a variety of other business-friendly capabilities.
Due to its exposure and ease of use, Instagram is a powerful lead generator for businesses. Instead of having to talk about your business’s offerings, you can show people through images and videos.
Instagram Business Advantages
- Optimized for mobile use
- Appealing visual focus
- Easy to learn
Instagram Business Downsides
- Demands active engagement
- Limited analytics
Twitter might seem like a limited opportunity because of the restrictions it puts on word count.
However, this limitation has some upsides for businesses trying to get their voice heard within all of the noise.
This platform is great for driving traffic to other websites such as your blog, eCommerce store, newsletter, or a landing page.
When it comes to running ads, Twitter has been shown to produce a higher engagement rate than Facebook for some users.
Twitter Business Advantages
- Great for redirecting traffic
- High engagement on ads
- Easy to connect with users
Twitter Business Downsides
- Limited content
Many small businesses underestimate the power of YouTube by assuming it’s simply a video-sharing platform.
While this was the original intention, this social media platform has since become the second most popular search engine in the world, only behind Google.
As the dominant platform for sharing information in video format, YouTube represents a great opportunity for businesses to connect with their audience.
Here are some potential video ideas:
- Instructional videos to supplement blog content
- Q&A videos answering common questions in your target market
- In-depth product descriptions of your offerings
- Press releases or news-style segments
YouTube Business Advantages
- High conversion rates
- Increased engagement
- Displaying your unique branding
YouTube Business Downsides
- Time-consuming production
- High-quality expectations from users
Getting Started With A Business Social Media Profile
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when starting a business social media profile.
To ensure your efforts pay off, follow these tips when you’re starting out.
Start With One Business Social Media Account
In the beginning, choose one social media platform before experimenting with others.
Consider the advantages of each, and choose the one which most closely aligns with your social media marketing goals.
Maintain Consistency with Business Social Media
To find success in social media, you need to be social.
- Posting regularly
- Engaging with content
- Responding to comments
- Sharing content
Use Business Social Media to Stay On-Brand
It’s important to have consistent branding throughout your social media to keep users engaged.
You can accomplish this by:
- Establishing an authentic voice
- Using the same logo
- Developing a unique color scheme.
A business social media profile gets your company in front of millions of potential customers.
Whether you want to boost brand awareness, promote new products, or study the market, you’re only a few clicks away from unlocking these benefits.
With so many platforms available, it’s best to invest time into a few that fit your specific business.
If you’re ready to boost your business’s online presence, don’t forget to start with a website. Take a look at Bluehost’s competitive hosting plans today to get started.