Social media is quickly becoming an important marketing tool for many small-to-midsize businesses (SMB) today, and the trend is likely to keep expanding. For SMBs that often lack the resources needed to invest in costly marketing tools, social media marketing is a boon, and for many, social platforms are largely outpacing email and mobile interaction as a form of customer communication. In fact, according to a recent report from Clutch, most SMBs in the US are now using social media for marketing purposes.
Clutch surveyed 351 US business owners and company managers at companies employing fewer than 500 employees; 71 percent of the respondents stated that their company is presently using social media, while 16 percent stated their company plans to in the future.
Interacting with customers, consumers, and clients through social media platforms allows SMBs to communicate their brand message in a personal way that traditional advertising and email marketing strategies just can’t compete with. From daily information about new products and services to hosting contests to answering customer questions and addressing complaints, social media platforms provide a unique way to connect with a target audience. According to a study by social marketing app Ripl in September 2017, the top two media channels US SMBs reported they rely on for communication with customers, clients, and other professionals are Facebook and Instagram. In fact, 98 percent said they interact with their customers on Facebook, while 82 percent reported relying on Instagram for that purpose. Following Facebook and Instagram, the most-used platforms SMB utilize for marketing and branding are:
- 46% – YouTube
- 44% –Twitter
- 31% – LinkedIn
- 25% – Snapchat
Social media platforms offer endless ways for businesses to engage with their audience. For example, although much of the interaction is fairly one-sided, customers can provide reviews and share favorite pages with their peers. Businesses can post blogs and get customer and reader feedback in comments and forums. Businesses can also offer promotions, sales, and discounts and reward readers who comment, like, or share their content. When it comes to the content SMBs are posting, there’s plenty of types to choose from. Clutch reported that SMBs stated the following types of content posted to their channels:
- 54% – Images and infographics
- 52% – Offers and promotions
- 49% – Reviews
- 44% – Videos
- 40% – Blog posts
- 33% – Research and data
Posting on social platforms is a proven method to get engagement, shares, and drive traffic to a website. Posting frequency success rates may depend on the business type or industry, but generally, more isn’t always better. And, each platform has its own metric as far as how many posts are not enough and how many posts will seem like spam. For example, Ahalogy recommends that marketers only post on Facebook once a day between 1 pm to 4 pm. On the other hand, you should be posting on Twitter at least 15 times per day, according to Quick Sprout, and Local Vox says businesses shouldn’t post more than once per day on LinkedIn, while Buffer thinks a business should post Pins five times a day on Pinterest, with 80 percent of those Pins being re-Pins from other sources. When it comes to posting frequency, respondents told Clutch that across all social platforms they posted:
- 42% – Daily
- 79% – Weekly
- 94% – Monthly
- 6% – Less than monthly
Keeping up with trends in the different platforms, the types of content your competition is posting, and the recommended frequency of posting for each platform can help your SMB attract followers to your brand, develop customer relationships, and create product loyalty.