By Grant Shepherd
It’s easy for a small business to think that a social media presence isn’t important. For someone unfamiliar with the subject, it’s hard to comprehend how a “hashtag” (#) could reach thousands of people in a second, or a Google+ review could revitalise a failing business.
But it’s true… And if you aren’t at least doing the basics, your business will never do as well in today’s world.
I’ve heard it all before: ’We are too small to worry about a Facebook page’ or ‘I don’t trust technology and neither do my customers’ they say. You might think this is the case, but you will be surprised how wrong you might be.
It’s true some social networks (for example, Snapchat) target a teenage market, and may not be useful for a pub or bar with an adult demographic. However, you can’t avoid the incredible reach of a site like Facebook.
As of last September 30, Facebook has 1.35 billion monthly users. This is something you can’t ignore and it verges on careless not to harness the power of the most dominant social broadcasting network in the world.
According to recent article from SmartCompany, an Adelaide hotelier that was struggling to keep its doors open may have saved the business with a simple post on social media. Despite being in financial hardship itself, the Hampshire Hotel wanted to get the message out that it would offer free beds for those affected by bushfires in the area, and posted this on its official Facebook page.
At the time of writing this article, that post has generated almost 500 comments, over 11,000 people have ‘Liked’ it , and just under 4,000 people have ’Shared’ the story with a friend. The hotel’s Facebook page now also has just shy of 2,300 likes, which means any future posts about the business will be seen by all those people.
While these exceptional results may not happen to the majority of small businesses, even a small amount of traction on social media can be surprisingly effective. Every person that likes your Facebook page is a potential customer and advocate of your business. They have the potential to share your page and posts with their friends, who can then share it with their extended networks. The potential exposure of a strong social media presence is just too big to ignore.
Every week in this column I will be talking about the benefits of different social media platforms, and educating readers on why they are not only a useful tool, but vital in the future growth of your business. I look forward to Getting Social with you.