As a small business owner, you’ve probably seen some examples of small businesses that have no business being on social media. They don’t post often enough (or they post way too much). They churn out uninteresting posts, neglect the audience for long stretches of time, and fail to ever register any real engagement. Maybe these experiences have caused you to believe that small businesses shouldn’t waste their time with social media.
I would say that in some cases, you’re right–but in most cases, small businesses can and do use social media to fuel their growth and make their businesses stronger than ever.
But what about the risks? Social media can be risky to use for a small business because results and website traffic are not guaranteed. Spending time or money on managing a social presence for your company can be intimidating and feel like too much of a commitment to something you’re not sure about. Don’t let that stop you from experiencing the benefits social media can offer your business.
Let’s talk about the ways social media can be a positive thing for your business and how it could potentially be a pitfall.
Benefits of social media
Managing social accounts successfully strengthens and rounds out your customer service and marketing efforts. If you’re using social media correctly, it will flip your current marketing plan upside down (and for the better). Don’t be afraid to experiment–sometimes, that’s how you’ll see the biggest and most telling results!
Using social media to market your business and provide great, fast customer service will benefit your business through:
- Increasing your exposure
Once your business has 100 customers, you become more likely to succeed long-term. Having social media as a platform to talk about, promote, and connect with the audience of your business helps you gain exposure, which helps you get more customers.
- Boosting your branding efforts
If you’re considering representing your brand on social media, chances are, you’ve put some effort into building a solid and marketable brand. Using social media as an avenue to reinforce your core brand beliefs, values–even colors, fonts, tone, and voice–is a great way to boost your branding efforts.
- Establishing you as a thought leader
Regularly using your online voice to talk about topics related to your company is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Using keywords you’ve defined as valuable for your business, write really good, meaty content on them and interact often with influencers and thought leaders on social media.
Social media pitfalls
Creating an online presence for your small business or startup does come with risks. You can expect to deal with at least one or two of the following social media pitfalls:
- Negative feedback
- Negative comments
- Bad publicity
- Posting mistakes/scandal
- Sudden influx of customer service demand
Beyond this, some businesses can’t keep up with interest in their marketing or ad campaigns. They don’t expect their efforts to go over as well as they do, and then visitors and customers experience long wait times and a decline in quality and posting frequency as they tried to respond to all inquiries or posts.
There is room for caution in business, but don’t be afraid of risk. Using social media the right way will enable you to build and grow your business, and knowing the risks ahead of time will help you navigate the journey.