In the past few years, the online market has grown in staggering proportions. And, as more and more businesses incorporate digital marketing into their strategy, social media platforms are becoming more important than ever before. For small to medium businesses (SME’s) with low budgets, social media has become a great way to build brand awareness and develop meaningful relationships with customers. Below we look at why SME’s should be active on social media.

1. Building relationships with your customers

At a basic level, social media is an effective strategy for directly engaging your target audience. At the touch of a button, your audience can like, retweet or follow your content and engage with your brand. Likewise, you can respond to customer comments and engage in organic conversations very effectively.

No other traditional advertising medium offers you the opportunity to engage in a direct conversation with your audience. Fostering relationships with your target audience not only assists with driving sales, but also develops brand loyalty. The more your customers feel connected to your brand, the more they come back for more.

2. Developing customer insights

One of the best things about social media is it allows you to develop a deeper understanding of your target audience. Everyday you’re active on social media producing content and engaging with your followers, you generate a mass of data about your audience. Every online interaction provides you with valuable information.

When your audience reacts to a piece of content you produce, it tells you a ton about what their preferences are and the relationship they have with your brand. You can then utilise this information to tailor your social media strategy towards your target audience. The better you understand your audience, the better you can produce content that resonates with them.

3. Less expensive than traditional marketing

An added benefit of social media, particularly for SME’s with low budgets, is that’s its free to setup a business page and start communicating with your existing and potential customers. If you choose to incorporate paid advertising, the costs are substantially less than traditional marketing and the high targeting ability and large reach provides an attractive return on investment (ROI). This makes it easier for small businesses to compete with global brands thereby providing a more level playing field.

Whilst having a page for your business is important, with the ever-changing algorithms on social media, and in particular, the new Facebook update, it’s becoming increasingly important to use paid advertising alongside your organic social media campaigns. Organic (free) social media is a great way to build brand loyalty, however it is a long-term strategy so paying for advertising on social media is recommended if you want to build brand awareness quickly.

No matter what your strategy is, make sure you’re posting content that provides value to your target audience. In doing so, you will benefit from a reach that dwarves that of traditional advertising.

4. Build brand awareness and reputation

It’s no secret that social media is one of the most cost-effective mediums for building brand awareness. Statista notes that Facebook alone boasts over 2.2 billion active monthly users, and according to a report in The Drum it influences over 50 per cent of consumers purchases. Other social media sites such as Instagram boast 800 million active monthly users, Statista also notes. In other words, there are plenty of potential customers available on social media for SME’s to start connecting with.

Regularly posting on social media enables you to build a direct relationship with your audience, and establish yourself as a credible brand within your industry. It provides you with a platform to connect with your target audience and demonstrate your expertise. The more your brand awareness and reputation increases, the greater chance you have of customers wanting to do business with you.

5. Social media improves the customer experience

In an age where customer expectations are higher than ever before, having a social media page provides you with a platform to meet customer expectations. Rather than trawling through your website to piece together an answer, if a customer has a query about your brand or a product, they can simply go to your page and ask you directly. Providing a swift response creates the impression that you care about your customers, and go the extra mile to provide a quality service.

In summary, social media is the most cost-effective tool for building your online presence and developing a wide network of followers. Long-term engagement with your followers will not only nurture leads, but also build meaningful relationships with your customers. The better you understand your customers, the better you can service their needs.

If you’d like to know more about how social media can help take your SME to the next level, drop us a message here.