Unless you’ve been living off the grid for a while, you know how popular social media is. But how popular? Well, last year there were 3.6 billion people on social media. Whether you hate or love social media, you must admit this is an impressive potential audience. Which brings us to our topic this week – social media for businesses, and what exactly to use it for.
Right now, social media can serve as one of the primary ways for businesses to communicate with their client base or potential clients. With many people still staying home until the majority of vaccines are distributed, social media and digital marketing are still the best ways to reach many Americans.
Companies can do this on social media by using the platforms to humanize themselves, educate, create partnerships, and even building local rapport. In this article, we’ll discuss each of these benefits in detail, so continue reading if you’d like to get the most out of social media.
Most Popular Social Media Platforms
Before we jump into the uses for social media for businesses, here’s a list of some of the most popular social media platforms, including their monthly user volume.
- Facebook: 2.32 billion
- YouTube: 1.9 billion
- Whatsapp: 1.6 billion
- Instagram: 1 billion
- Reddit: 430 million
- Twitter: 330 million
- LinkedIn: 303 million
- Snapchat: 287 million
- Pinterest: 250 million
Depending on your business and industry, you may want to use all or only some of these platforms. This will also determine whether a small business owner can handle their own content, or if they’ll need to hire someone (or an entire team) to run their socials. Now, let’s dive into what we’ve all come here for.
Uses of Social Media for Businesses
Social media for businesses is a great way for companies to communicate and educate their followers. There’s much more you can do with social media than just advertising. You can also use platforms to handle time-sensitive matters and create important partnerships for your business. First, let’s start by taking a look at how social media helps companies appear more human to their customer bases.
Humanizing a Company
Utilizing social media for businesses helps customers see the human side of a company. This is an important consideration while building your brand. While doing this, remember to stick to your mission statement and values, so your content properly aligns with them.
While a website is more professional, structured, and detailed, a social media account can be fun, quick, and further hash-out your brand. What’s great about social media, is that you can show off the more human side of a business. This helps people stay engaged and further identify and connect with their favorite brands.
Tips for humanizing your brand on social media:
- Introduce your staff (if they’re comfortable with it)
- Show off your company’s funny side (if appropriate)
- Develop an online community/group
- Throw in user/follower posts every now and then
- Sound personable and human
Now that we’ve covered how social media can humanize a brand, let’s jump into communication.
Communicating with clients
Consider, 81% of Instagrammers use the platform to research products, services, or businesses beforehand. Along with that, Instagram has over a billion users every month. Combine these statistics together and it’s understandable how beneficial Instagram alone can be for businesses! Clearly, social media for businesses is an underestimated tool for communicating with current and potential customers.
Handling Urgent Matters
Another reason it’s good to have social media accounts ready for your business – quickly handling a crisis. A perfect example of this – the weather in Colorado right now. A winter storm blasted through most of Colorado, so businesses all over the state have used their social media accounts to communicate whether or not they’re open, adjusted hours, services affected by power outages, and other impacts from the storms.
Communicating with clients doesn’t just mean advertising to them. This brings us to the next useful way businesses can utilize social media – education.
While social media is a great platform for communication, you can also educate existing and potential clients. Remember, people like to feel engaged with social media content. One of the best ways to keep people engaged is to provide them with new information they didn’t have before.
Content for content’s sake is not a good thing on social media. As much as we’d like to think any content is good as long as you’re staying visible, this simply is not the case. If businesses or brands don’t stay “true,” they can quickly lose followers. Think about your brand while also answers questions your audience may have. Your industry really determines how much you can branch out, but don’t be afraid to branch out.
Learn about your audience, followers, and community as well. You can do this by scoping out your company’s competition as well – especially if they’re killing the social media game. The more you learn about your audience, the better prepared you’ll be to connect with them. Speaking of connections, let’s get into social media partnerships.
While you may have heard the word “influencer,” you may not know exactly what this term means. An influencer is a person that has shown they are a trusted and/or credible source within their industry. There are different levels of influencers depending on the number of followers they have. It ranges from micro (below 100,000 followers), macro (over 100,000 followers), and mega (millions of followers).
This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a “professional” in the traditional sense. One of the best (and very prevalent) examples of this is the “beauty influencer” Many of these individuals probably would have started by describing makeup as a passion or hobby, but have collected enough of a following (and skills) that they are now seen as a trusted resource to learn about new products and trends within the beauty industry. And the same can be said for any industry.
While this doesn’t mean you need to strive to make your brand an influencer, you can create valuable partnerships with them. They are, after all, influencers – their title says it all! So, think about your company and brand and what type of influences could best vouch for your business.
- Restaurants -> “Foodies” or food bloggers
- Salons -> Beauty and fashion influencers
- Gyms & Fitness Studios -> health and fitness influencers
- Landscaping -> environmental and green influencers
Social media for businesses also helps them remind customers they’re local. Social media platforms make it very easy to build and interact with your local community. So, if you’re a small, local business, use this to your advantage. Participate and engage with the local community to remind people that you’re a part of their local environment too!
Speaking of local, you can look for local micro-influencers to partner with as well. As a small business, it’s very beneficial to have a somewhat local “celebrity” partner with you. It’ll further instill your locality and have a local voice vouch for you.
Saving Your Website for What Matters Most
Sometimes, companies need to share information that doesn’t necessarily need to be on their website. If you’ve looked into SEO or the site structure of your page (get a quick run-down about site structure from Yoast), you know there is certain content that just doesn’t do much for your website (strictly SEO-speaking). So for this content, announcements, or any of the aforementioned materials, use your social media accounts instead.
Additional Perks of Social Media
If you’re still not convinced of the benefits of social media for businesses, here are some additional perks to keep in mind.
- It’s completely free (unless you choose additional options/Ads)
- Easily increase the traffic to your website
- Fast and easy handling for customer support
- Keeps your website clean
- Get feedback about your product or services in a more casual setting
Before we go, let’s quickly touch on avoiding any social media pitfalls.
Potential Pitfalls of Social Media for Businesses
The internet is forever. Carefully consider who is in charge of your social media platforms, as one mistake can be detrimental to your brand. One wrong step can be on the internet forever with one quick screenshot. While this is keeping many brands more socially aware and conscious, it’s also a scary thought.
So, get as much experience and diversity on your team as possible. People’s experiences can shape how they understand something, so get as many perspectives as you can. This is especially true if your company is in an industry that has any sort of controversy. Doing this will help you avoid potentially damaging situations.
As we mentioned previously, social media can also humanize a company. But be careful not to humanize too much. Although this is supposed to be fun and show off your brand’s personality – don’t tread too far into unprofessional waters.
Now Give Your Social Media Some TLC
Now that we’ve covered all of the uses of social media for businesses, it’s time to put all of that information into effect! If you don’t already have social media accounts set up for your business, get started. If you have accounts but they aren’t generating much engagement, rework them and create content plans. By following our list of what you should be using social media for, your business could even become an influencer in its own rite.