Chat BubblesMore and more small businesses are using social media to generate and maintain a customer base, and rightfully so, as there are more than one billion users on Facebook worldwide. According to a study by eMarketer, social media users will increase from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion in 2013; that’s an 18% increase. A main reason for a small business to jump on the social media bandwagon, aside from the continual increase of users, is that their customers are on these sites, making it easy to reach them. Other reasons include connecting with loyal customers, gaining visibility, and self-promoting, all of which help with business development and growth.

The Benefits of a Business Becoming Social.

Among its benefits, social media provides both large and small businesses with a powerful new way to connect and interact with current and potential customers. If a customer has a comment to make about a product or service, they are most likely going to post it on social media. If your business is on any of these platforms, not only will you immediately be aware of these public questions, comments, and concerns, but you will also have the ability to respond quickly.

For example, if a customer has a question about a product or service that a company provides, rather than calling a customer service representative, he or she might search for the business on social media and ask the question there. Not only is it easy for a customer to do this, but it’s also a more convenient way for the business to reply. Social media provides an effortless person-to-person interaction that replaces the need for a customer to physically go to the business. Moreover, businesses are able to immediately identify their customers and respond to them in a timely manner.

It’s noticeable that social media has become a crucial marketing tool for small businesses; however, there are still an astonishing amount of business owners not utilizing even the most basic social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Many businesses claim that social media is too time consuming, generating content is too difficult, and their expectations are unattainable.

Becoming a Social Business Takes Time.

When they first develop a social media presence, some businesses find that they are not receiving the desired outcomes as quickly as they would like. The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that creating relationships on social media takes time. Expecting to gain 1,000 followers in a month for a small, local business may not be realistic. It’s not necessarily that a business is doing something wrong; it’s because social media is a place to build brand loyalty, communicate with customers, and build a community. Those things take time.

In short, customers are on social media, so it only makes sense that businesses be on there as well. Not only will you get to know your customers, they will get to further know your business, thus creating loyal, regular customers. Remember to be patient and don’t get discouraged; becoming a social business takes time and dedication to attain favorable results, but they are achievable.

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