A lot of people ask me whether social media networks help to make a small business grow. The question is not an easy one to answer. Some businesses have success on social networks whereas others fail.

The only true answer is: how you use social media to engage your audience will determine your level of success.

There is little doubt that online businesses need social media. It’s free so why not take advantage. It also has various other benefits such as keeping up with trends, following user-behaviours and assessing the competition.

Knowing your audience is crucial to small businesses. You need to know who they are, what their interests are and how you can engage them. Social media platforms are powerful online tools to help source consumer data.

The downside to social media is you gave to be active and interact with other users. This can be time-consuming. It can also take a long time to build a profile other users trust. But if you are patient and do a little each day, you increase your chances of social media working for you.

Small business marketing online

There is no doubt that small business need to advertise on the internet. But small business marketing online is restrictive to companies that only have a small budget.

Yes, there are plenty of free sources. Take advantage of these, but don’t expect a flood of customers in the short-term. A small business marketing plan has to involve earning the trust of buyers and building an online profile takes time.

Social networks are an important platform for building your brand and authority. They enable you to connect with the right customers, so make sure creating a brand identity is part of your social media marketing plan.

Furthermore, social media networks are adding buy buttons in an effort to drive sales for paid advertisers. Although brands admit it is too early to know whether this “will be a drag or enabler” the more online consumers recognise the convenience of making one-click purchases, the more popular buy buttons will become.

My advice to small business marketers is to maintain a social media account as much as possible. Build an audience and establish your brand identity without social costing you anything other than your time.

Once you are engaging an audience, look at adding paid advertising to your small business marketing strategy and take advantage of the tools you can use to leverage your business. In the meantime, ask Brand Development how we can help you build a brand identity.