Why Small Businesses Should Capitalize on Social Media

If only every business could fund a thirty-second Super Bowl ad for $7 million, there would be no need to worry about how to reach large audiences on a smaller budget! However, with 99.9 percent of all US businesses being considered small businesses (Bottorff, 2022), it is imperative for them to use one of the least expensive and, yet, most effective means available for reaching clients: social media.

Certainly, the role of social media is not underestimated in how people connect, learn, and discuss – but how often is it seen as a primary source of generating new business, retaining existing clients, and driving sales? The average sign up cost for any of the most popular social media sites in the US is exactly zero dollars. The only tangible cost? Time for the owner or employee to engage in the business’s social media account actively, genuinely, and passionately.

In a 2022 Statista poll, YouTube and Facebook led American consumers in brand awareness with 92 percent of respondents saying they were familiar with each. Rounding out the top five were Instagram at 88 percent, TikTok at 86 percent, and Twitter at 84 percent.

How or where else can small businesses have free, unfettered access to the vast majority of the general American population?

When it comes to creating and nurturing a strong online following for a small business, a few key points should be addressed to fashion a successful social media presence:

1. What is the ultimate goal of the social media account?

Before a business even initiates the creation of a social media account, it is important to determine the goals and objectives of using social media. Is the goal to drum up a larger customer base? Or maybe it’s to expand the client business network beyond the local geographic area? Perhaps the business desires increased sales? What about appealing to a younger or a more diverse crowd?

All of these are wonderful reasons to start a solid, well-defined social media presence. However, ensure the end goal is clear so the business knows which platform(s) to not only utilize but to maintain and strengthen.

One silver lining across all platforms: according to the Pew Research Center, the number of social media users between urban, suburban, and rural settings is nearly identical; urban and suburban Facebook users are both at 70 percent while its rural usage is 67 percent.

2. Which platform(s) will be the best for the intended goals?

While users of each social media platform are generally diverse, some platforms appeal to certain age groups more than others. Knowing which platform is most used by a business’s desired clients makes all the difference! Choose one platform at the outset, and, as the audience builds, expand to other networks.

  • Want to appeal to Gen X and older? A strong, well-crafted Facebook presence would be the way to go. An impressive 73 percent of US adults between the ages of 50 and 64  have identified as using Meta’s main platform (Pew Research Center, 2022, “Social Media Fact Sheet”). When it comes to those adults 65 and older, half of all adults in that age range use Facebook.

  • Want to appeal to younger Millennials and Gen Z? YouTube dominates this demographic, with 95 percent of 18-29-year-olds utilizing the video-sharing site (Pew Research Center, 2022, “Social Media Fact Sheet”).

  • The video-sharing app TikTok is exploding in popularity with the younger generations, too, with more than 100 million daily users on the app (McLachlan, 2023). What’s more, guess which social media site is the only one users spend more time on than TikTok? No surprise – YouTube!

3. Who will be running the account as the supervisor?

The account supervisor does not need to be the small business owner or manager, but it should be someone who knows the business and can seamlessly utilize the features available on the chosen social media site.

Fortunately, sites like Facebook and Twitter have fairly user-friendly features so anyone can hop in and get started, regardless of tech savvy. However, social media sites heavily relying on video reels and images – such as TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat – usually demand someone with more expert knowledge of not just picture-taking, but effective imaging and marketing on those apps.

This is where a social media supervisor who knows how to appeal to wider audiences, how to effectively use hashtags, and has a general understanding of how each site’s algorithms work is a must. Many businesses take advantage of expert knowledge and hire outside help to manage social media. At The Write Touch, we manage social media accounts for a wide range of businesses and industries. Schedule a consultation to help you get started with reaching your ideal client base!

4. How engaged should the account supervisor be in daily or weekly social media activity?

For potential clients to be invested in the small business’s content, product, or service, it is imperative for the social media manager to not only post actively but work to engage actively with clients, too.

The easiest way of doing this is for the supervisor to have a set calendar for posting, liking, and reposting content from other accounts, as well as responding to comments made on the business’s original content. This should be done regularly enough for potential clients and customers not to feel ignored once they attempt to interact with the small business online – generating momentum is almost always tied directly to the amount of engagement from business to client and vice versa! Think of it as digital word-of-mouth!

While these ideas may seem simple, it can quickly feel overwhelming for small business owners who are new to social media. Since the advent of social media in the early 2000s, it has taken an unprecedented place within the American business discourse. As time evolved, so did social media’s intimate role in starting, growing, and maintaining small businesses’ success, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores; this has not changed but only grown stronger in recent years.

Want more information on social media and small business success? At The Write Touch, we are more than happy to help small businesses start, refine, and maintain their social media presence to ensure the best results for them and their clients!

By The Write Touch Writer: Lindsay Reid