Online Small Business: Social Media Marketing – Why It’s Your Best Investment

Social media marketing is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to advertise your business globally. With almost every one of the world’s 500 million-plus population having an online persona, the potential to connect with consumers is enormous. Forbes ranks social media marketing as the #3 most effective advertising platform, behind only TV and Radio, and ahead of Digital Print.

The key is in understanding the nature of the beast. While your traditional media advertising will bring in customers locally and regionally, social media marketing will help you establish your brand nationally and internationally.

Here, we’ll discuss the various forms of social media, how to use them to grow your business, and how to measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy.

The Different Forms Of Social Media

The most basic and popular forms of social media are Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Together, these platforms account for over 3.8 billion active monthly users worldwide (Statista). Additionally, the number of people using these platforms is only expected to increase in the future. That’s a lot of potential customers!

You may be familiar with Facebook, as the world’s largest social network is used by over 1 billion people worldwide. With nearly 1.9 billion monthly active users as of September 2021 (Statista), Facebook is the largest and most popular social media network globally. If your product is relevant to this audience, then Facebook is an ideal platform for you to promote it.

Similarly, Twitter is a globally popular social media network, with over 500 million monthly active users (Statista, April 2021). While it was originally designed for short text-based messages, today it is used for everything from status updates to company news to engaging with followers on a personal level. If your product is relevant to this audience, then Twitter is a great place for you to promote it.

Along with Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is one of the most popular social media platforms. Launched in 2011, it initially focused on building a community of users around shared interests. It offers many of the same features as the other two platforms, including status updates, photos, and videos. Like Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is used globally, with over 500 million monthly active users (Statista)). If your product is relevant to this audience, then Google+ is a great place for you to promote it.

Why Is Online Small Business On The Rise?

The world of online small business is currently in the midst of a major shift. From retail to digital marketing and shopping for everything online, people are often doing their home shopping from the comfort of their living rooms. In 2020, 89% of Gen Z buy online, compared to 79% of millennials (Pew Research Center). Additionally, 71% of adults between 18-29 use TikTok, compared to 56% of adults between 30-49 and 47% among 50-59 year olds (Pew Research Center).

With the majority of the worlds’ population having access to the internet, and with nearly every online market place operating on a global scale, the opportunity for international business and online small business growth is huge.

How Can Social Media Help My Business?

The nature of the beast is that people use these platforms to connect with others and find information. If your product is relevant to people on social media, then you’re in luck, as they are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

The key is to ensure that your content is of value to this audience. By engaging with your audience and showing them that you’ve considered their needs and wants, you establish trust and show that you understand their motivations. This in turn will encourage them to become brand advocates and potentially buy your products or services.

Why Are People Embracing Online Small Business?

It’s no secret that people are getting sick of the traditional brick-and-mortar retail model. As more people shop online, the world of online small business is flourishing. According to The New York Times, “Retailers have shifted their attention to online marketing, noting that 40% of their business comes from online shoppers. They’ve also adjusted their business models to accommodate online shoppers’ needs. For example, a store that focuses on online marketing will almost certainly have an online shopping portal, as well as an app to make purchasing easier for customers.”

Businesses are evolving to embrace digital marketing and online retailing, and no platform reflects this more than social media. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 62% of businesses have used social media to market their business, and 77% of those brands say that social media has had a “significant” impact on their sales.

The Importance Of Digital Marketing

It’s well established that people are spending more time online, and with that, digital marketing is growing. In 2020, over 4.5 billion searches were conducted globally via search engines (Statista). Smartphones saw an incredible increase in usage, doubling from 2019 to 2020 (Statista). Additionally, people are increasingly relying on mobile phones to access the internet (Statista).

According to MarketingCharts, the cost of a single TV ad in the U.S. is now $5. The cost of a Twitter ad is $2.35 and an Instagram ad is just $1.15 (MarketingCharts). So, for less than $6 you can potentially reach a global audience on one of the world’s most popular social media platforms. Not bad!

Traditional forms of marketing, such as magazine, newspaper, or radio ads, still have a place alongside more affordable and effective digital marketing strategies, but perhaps not in every case. For example, let’s say your product is mobile phones and you’ve decided to run a TV commercial to showcase your product. TV commercials are still prevalent, but with the rise of smartphones and online marketplaces, you may not want to limit yourself to one platform. Why not go big or go home?

The world of online shopping is growing, with almost 95% of American adults reporting to the American Institute of Stress that they regularly experience anxiety when it comes to buying things online (Pew Research Center). This anxiety is compounded by issues such as: security; delivery; and, of course, the fact that you can’t try on clothes online.

These issues can be mitigated by using a reliable delivery service and checking out the size of the clothing item before committing. To address security and confidentiality concerns, many websites now offer a secure socket layer (SSL) for encrypted data transfer and websites leveraging the HTTPS protocol (which offers more security and privacy than HTTP). Another way to mitigate online shopping anxiety is by educating yourself on how to buy online safely. Additionally, many credit cards offer special rewards or benefits to customers who make online purchases. For example, the Citi ThankYou® Card offers three months of free groceries and one year of free medical assistance to patients and their families.

The Rise Of Online Marketplaces

In the past, if you wanted to purchase something online, you either went to a physical store to do it, or you searched for the item you wanted and found it somewhere online, usually a store that was either nearby or online-only. In either case, you had to physically go somewhere to make a purchase.

This model is being disrupted by the rise of online marketplaces. Once limited to the big-box stores and travel agency websites that dealt in leisure travel and group vacations, online marketplaces are now a vital part of any business’ digital strategy. Just take a look at the travel sites, such as TripAdvisor and Booking.com, to get an idea of how important online marketplaces can be to a business.

From luxury brands selling couture directly from the brand’s website to high-quality, luxury meals and snacks available for purchase online, the world of online commerce is evolving.

Social Media Marketing Is A Cost-Effective Way To Grow Your Business

These three platforms have become ubiquitous in our digital landscape, and with good reason. Not only do they offer a global audience, but they also allow you to target the right audience at the right time via relevant content.

The fact that so many people use these platforms means that you’re bound to find an audience for your products or services. And if they’re using these platforms, then they’re probably interested in what you have to offer.

Additionally, social media marketing is a cost-effective way to grow your business, as many of the popular platforms are completely free. On occasion, you may have to spend money on a few key tools to make your content look polished and professional, but that’s it. With many platforms offering free basic services, you’ll have little to no financial burden if you opt for this digital marketing strategy.