Does anyone think that social media really works as a marketing tool for small business?

I saw this post the other day on Quora.

I read it in my head with the voice of a snotty 13 year old. It was like “Mom, do you really think Facebook is cool anymore?” *eye roll*

And as most parents feel, I just wanted to smack them. But of course, as a responsible parent, I decided the best route was to teach.

I don’t need to “think” social media works for small business.

Social media works for small business. Period.

Accept it.

Accept it the same way, we accepted that we don’t need Rolodex’s anymore.

  • The same way we accepted that computers are here to stay.
  • The same way we accepted online shopping is not a fad.
  • The same way we accepted email instead of faxing.
  • The same way we accepted Grandma on Facebook.
  • The same way I reluctantly let go of my CDs for going digital. (late acceptor of the iPod life)


That’s the way it is homeslice. (Ok, that didn’t stay, I need to accept that)

Numbers don’t lie. Social Media Stats 2018

  • There are at least 2.1 billion people active on Facebook
  • Then 330 million monthly active users on Twitter (plus 500 million tweets sent per day)
  • And 800 Million Monthly active users on Instagram (with over 40 billion photos shared)
  • Not to forget the 300 million monthly active users on Snapchat (over 1 million photos shared everyday)
  • And then there’s this crazy insane number of 6 billion monthly active users on Youtube (over 5 billion videos shared)
  • And the every growing hyper focused contender, Pinterest at 175 million monthly active users (with over 50 billion pins )
— these markets are too huge to ignore.


They hang out there. And what better way to sell your product or service then to bring it right to your audience? Just like cell phones to smartphones, social media has evolved.

No longer is just having a Facebook page enough.

No longer is just posting enough. (looking at you ever changing algorithms)

And no longer (or ever) are “likes” or “followers” enough.

It’s up to YOU to learn your audience.

Social Media allows you to tailor your message

Unlike TV, radio, and billboards that give your message to everyone with the hope that one of them is your potential customer, with social media, you can choose who your message gets to.

Sell a service for homeowners, then why spend precious efforts selling to renters?

With social media, you don’t have to.

When done right, social media:

  • can make a big difference for your email marketing
  • is perfect for customer service
  • lets you share A LOT about your business
  • can engage already active users
  • is cost-effective means of marketing
  • allows you to increase your visibility to those that care the most
But it isn’t magic. Being on social media alone doesn’t magically bring customers. As with any marketing, it needs a strategy and a plan.

If you say “It doesn’t work”, you’re doing it wrong.

Know your target audience

If your message is trying to catch everyone, you’ll end up talking to no one. Social media is personal. Know your audience and speak about what matters to them. This is not about you.

Stop selling the sock, talk about warm feet.

People aren’t on social media to be sold to. You need to find ways to add value while competing with aunt Martha’s cat photos and Gina’s engagement pictures (yeah, the one where she’s wearing that awful dress, ick!). You must bring enough value to their feed to engage them.

Forget about any platform that doesn’t matter.

A lot of small businesses think that social media is about “being everywhere.” But the truth is, if Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram deliver the best results, then focus on that before expanding into a new platform. Choose the platform where your target audience gathers most and consciously be there. Be involved, know how it works, become good at it. Half assed efforts are extremely transparent and can make you lose consumer trust and confidence.

It’s better to be full-assed in one place than half-assed everywhere.

What are you really here for anyway?

Ryan Deiss at Digital Marketer explains that social media for business consists of 4 goals. You need to be clear on your specific goals and make sure that your efforts are focused with that target in mind. Below are the four social media goals your tactics should fall into.

Social Media Listening

Monitoring and responding to customer service and reputation management issues on the social web

  • Manage Reputation
  • Increase Retention (keep the customers you already have)
  • Reduce Refunds
  • Identify Product Gaps (identify the product/service changes your customer needs/wants
  • Identify Content Gaps (identify the # of people that know what you offer)

Social Selling

Generating Leads and sales from existing customers and prospects on the social web

  • Generate Leads/Grow email list
  • Generate new customers
  • Cross Sell/Upsell- Sell more to the customers you have
  • Increase Buyer Frequency -Sell more often to the customers you have

Social Influencing

Establishing authority on the social web, often through distribution and sharing of valuable content.

  • Increase Engagement (increase the # of people that know like and trust you)
  • Increase website traffic
  • Increase Offer Awareness (Increase the # of people that know what you offer)

Social Networking

Finding and associating with authoritative and influential individuals and brands on the social web

  • “Earn” Media Mentions (get interviews, links from bloggers, invited to speak)
  • Develop Strategic Partnerships (develop mutually beneficially relationships with influencers)

Remove Social from the word and you have “Marketing”

Does Marketing work for small business? Social is just another avenue. A highly customizable, affordable, trackable avenue full of your potential customers.

So yes, it does work.

All you have to do is not screw it up.

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