Don’t Be Afraid of Social Media!

social-3Social media is a huge part of the digital marketing landscape, and it shows no sign of slowing down. By population alone, Facebook would be the third-largest country behind India and China. Even a relatively specialized platform like Tumblr is bigger than Japan, Russia, and many other countries.

Yet, many enterprises let social media slide thanks to what they perceive as unacceptable risks of social engagement. These companies may have accounts on Twitter or Facebook, but rarely update them. To “protect” their brand, they avoid joining the social conversation and driving real engagement.

Businesses That Don’t Use Social Media are Missing Out

Despite the billions of purchase-ready social users out there, many companies remain unconvinced:

  • Almost half of small businesses – 47% – don’t use social media at all.
  • A quarter of small businesses have no plans to ever adopt social media.
  • Only 53% of small businesses plan to expand their social media presence.

social-4What’s the reason? Many business leaders worry about high-profile social media mistakes. However, such gaffes are rare. For each one you hear about, social-savvy brands generate millions in new sales.

Social media offers tremendous power to connect with customers, respond to questions, and humanize your brand. This effect is particularly valuable for small businesses that must differentiate from their established nationwide competitors.

Having a social media presence translates to more Web visitors, deeper engagement, and ultimately, more revenue. It also has the potential to cultivate existing customers into true brand evangelists who will be more motivated to spread digital word-of-mouth.

The Three Biggest Social Media Worries Brands Have

Social media anxiety often breaks down to these concerns:

  • worryFear of detractors – in Internet parlance, trolls – spreading negative buzz on your brand.
  • Fear of a backlash based on an accidental, ill-timed, or “tone deaf” post on social media.
  • Fear of the time investment involved in monitoring and managing social media accounts.

These worries have a simple answer: Listen to customers, don’t just talk at them. Used correctly, social media opens up immense market research opportunities; companies should be willing to focus in on the conversations about competing products and services. Active listening makes engagement efforts – the actual posting – that much more effective.

Scheduling and automation tools allow individual social media experts to act with the agility and scope of an entire team, so time investment can be reduced. Without an effort to truly understand customers, however, quality social engagement will remain elusive.

Small businesses that haven’t discovered how to use social media to meet their business goals shouldn’t be discouraged. Get started today and you’ll be ahead of many competitors!