by Molly Bryant–
The rise of social media has made it essential for small businesses to consider using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as powerful marketing tools for their success. According to research done on Statista, the United States has the largest social media advertising market in the world and Sprout Social says 94 percent of small businesses are now using social media.
While it is a step in the right direction for small businesses to create platforms to keep consumers informed, it is also essential to now use those same pages to promote their businesses. Posts with promotional pieces, giveaways and current deals are just a few ways to use social media for marketing. By posting incentives for customers, businesses can see a rise in sales and customer traffic both in stores and online.
Dr. Doris Kincade, a professor at Virginia Tech, teaches a course called “Small Business Apparel” in which she teaches students what it takes to start-up a small business of their own. One of the topics she covers in the course deals with the most beneficial marketing tools for small businesses, and how to make the most of what is available while still remaining conscious of the tight budget that comes along with starting a small business.
According to Kincade, the popularity of social media and the number of users it has today influenced her to incorporate a social media marketing lecture into her class syllabus.
“Social media can be an inexpensive way to reach lots of potential customers. Be sure to know your customer and tailor your marketing to the customer,” Kincade says.
As Kincade emphasizes to her students, social media has become so powerful because of the number of people it has the ability to reach. According to a recent study, there are 2.46 billion active social media users and the average internet user has eight social media accounts.
Virginia Tech student Steven Nguyen says social media has become an integral part of promoting his family’s business.
“My family owns a nail salon in the Northern Virginia area. Since nail salons are so popular, it can be really hard to work up a reputation good enough for people to choose your business over another that offers the same services in the same area,” Nguyen says.
Nguyen created and now runs the social media accounts for the family’s nail salon. Between Facebook and Instagram alone, he truly believes the salon has seen a steady increase in business since the pages have been up and running.
By creating posts about promotions and weekly specials, Nguyen has learned the do’s and don’ts of advertising on social media.
“I have really figured out the best ways to draw attention to our nail salon to make it the most appealing it can be to customers,” he says. Nguyen emphasizes the great impact social media has had on the family business and recommends that others learn the best ways to promote their businesses as well.
As social media continues to grow, it is vital that small business owners educate themselves on its benefits. It not only allows the business to promote itself but also reaches more people than any other form of marketing. Social media is becoming essential to a business’s success and survival.