Written by Kevin Plankey On the Wed, 05/29/2013
'"Small businesses know how important their web presence is for presenting a desirable online identity and attracting new customers, yet don't fully understand how to achieve those goals, implement new technologies, or adapt to new trends as deftly as larger companies," Phillip Klien, CEO of SiteApps, said recently in a statement.
While a recent SiteApps survey revealed that many small business owners are having difficulty keeping up with the pace of technological change, a separate study from Constant Contact found that an overwhelming percentage are achieving success in one particular area: social media marketing.
According to the report, 97 percent of respondents have a small business social media strategy in place, listing sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and the rapidly emerging Pinterest.
This isn't shocking to Joel Hughes, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Constant Contact, who noted that as "small business owners are still getting their sea legs ... it's not surprising that they're leading with two areas where they have a solid track record of success with customer engagement: social media and email."
The top 3 benefits
With the rise of online shoppers, traditional marketing strategies are no longer as effective. These days, it's all about finding a way to engage consumers.
How, then, is small business social media marketing the best way to do this? Here are three ways these strategies will boost your advertising campaign:
No. 1: Achieving a high ROI
If you're a decision-maker at a smaller company, you're probably familiar with the phrase "return on investment" (ROI).
With a shorter budget, you don't have as much (or any) money to waste on failed projects. That places an emphasis on identifying investments that increase the likelihood you will receive this aforementioned ROI.
This is one of the main reasons social media marketing has taken off in the small business sector.
According to a survey from Mantra, about half of these developing companies are investing more time and money in their social networking strategies, particularly since they've been able to see a quick return on investment with these strategies. Thirty percent of respondents said they experienced returns that exceeded $2,000.
No. 2: Boosting SEO - a lot
Search engines like Google are frequently changing their standards, leaving companies in a constant quest to adjust. Nowadays, social media is becoming increasingly important with regard to enhancing a company's search engine optimization.
For one thing, social networking sites provide another platform where your business can incorporate its keyword strategy. But the benefits of social media for SEO extend well beyond that.
For instance, research by SurveyMonkey revealed that the more your content is shared via these platforms, the greater the likelihood that it will show up in searches. Facebook "likes" and Twitter "retweets" were particularly impactful, the report found, and those standards will more than likely evolve to include other social networking sites in the near future.
No. 3: Meeting customer service expectations
As I discussed earlier, customer engagement has become a key marketing component with the rise of the online consumer.
Perhaps no platform allows you to interact with your customers better than social media.
The vast majority of people have at least one social networking account - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you name it - and having customer service strategies catering to these sites allows you to engage consumers through channels they regularly use.
It will also help you reach more customers than before, thereby leveling the playing field with larger companies that may have live chats or call centers.