By Timi Olubiyi, Ph.D
Surveys and available records indicate that social media is the fastest-growing marketing channel in the world. Consequently, as a small business owner, if you are not quite convinced you need to use social media to improve your business, you will benefit extremely from reading this article. It is important to state that failure to have an effective social media plan could be detrimental to your small business, especially with the advent of the new normal era. Since social media is valuable for businesses of any size or industry, it usually has a direct impact on sales and your bottom line. Social media can equally help with looking for new ways of getting your business brand on the radar of potential online customers and also help in discovering new customers. Many small-sized business owners are becoming aware of the increasing relevance of social networks and channels as a means of business promotion and marketing. Currently, the most prevalent social media practices involve creating and operating a business fan page and posting pictures. The novel coronavirus (COVID19) has brought disruptions to the normal ways of doing things and the respite is in technology adoption.
However, recall social media success does not depend solely on having an online presence or on how many followers a business or entrepreneur has. More importantly, it depends on customer engagement and continuous innovations. For example, the online experience can include addressing customer service issues, giving discounts, giving business advice or information, reviewing products and services, share images, news, updates, events, and so on. This can help in reinforcing business reputation online and also encourage more followers, prospects, and customers. Metrics such as the number of page viewers, visitors, friends, or followers will experience enhancements with consistent updates and good content.
Social media is now a critical part of any business strategy online because of the growing usage by adults especially the middle class and entrepreneurs. Many people consider Facebook presence but Facebook alone will not be enough to maximize your online influence and business patronage. The big question is what are the platforms necessary for SMEs? You need to establish a presence on as many social platforms as possible. Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Telegram, WhatsApp, Twitter, and many others. Furthermore, if you have good use of these platforms, you can attract millions of new users at the same time to yourself and business, having direct and personal contact thereby improving the brand experience and reputation of your business every day.
As of 2019, the record indicates an estimate of about 2 billion worldwide active internet users, that presupposes ready customers if you ask me. In fact, that makes social media a crucial part of the business brand’s marketing strategy. So, it is time to start exploring the benefits and sustainability this will provide to businesses this COVID-19 era. Rather than expend huge funds on marketing and promotions, social media can give your business the ability to reach a global marketplace on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year provided there is internet connectivity. From Lagos, you can have prospects/customers in Nnewi, Abuja, Maiduguri, Sapele, and vice versa or even outside the country. It all depends on your products, services, and the content you provide. Social media will provide a less expensive advertising option to you and your business, though with a global outreach. You can target a particular market segment, age group, interests, affiliations and also reach people within a certain radius of your locality, the choice is yours. With as simple as having an account on Instagram you can start creating your business brand recognition. For any small business, raising awareness should be a top goal. With your online presence, it will allow you to engage with your prospects and equally improve search engine ranking for your business. So, make good use of the opportunity with keywords relating to your products and services.
Similarly, you can design a simple business website and drive traffic to the website with good use of social media platforms. Sharing informative content on your pages and providing links to your website can also be achieved, remember relevant images and videos are important to attract prospects. Generally, social networks can be very useful to save money and reduce costs, not only in terms of a marketing strategy but in terms of market research to gather information on consumer behaviour, demographics, and even for recruiting staff through platforms like LinkedIn.
This may sound strange, but social media is a great way to keep an eye on your competitors, you need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing and learn from your competitors to improve your products and services. You now have a better understanding of how social media can be beneficial to your small business, so you might need to can take a cue from this article. Consequently, creating an online presence and interacting with consumers on social media should be your important marketing strategy Post COVID. It is time for you to start using social media to get more businesses, build brand awareness, increase your customer base, and increase sales. Consequently, good management of the social media platform for your business success will come to you gradually. Good luck!
Dr. Timi Olubiyi is an Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management expert. He is a prolific investment coach, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) and a financial literacy specialist. He can be reached on the twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: [email protected], for more information, comments reactions and tips on how to promote, manage, improve and spend wisely on business.