How important are social media for SMEs today? A lot! Nowadays, in fact, social media are a communication channel which must be integrated as a part of a broader corporate marketing strategy.
Who among us has not at least one active social account? According to recent studies, about 59% of the world’s population (4,57 billion) use social networks, the average time spent on social media is 2 hours a day and 98% of users access from smartphones. In short, whether it is for staying in touch with friends, filling leisure time, staying up to date, sharing photos and videos, and lots more, social media have fully come into our lives.
However, SMEs are not so close to “social world” because they do not consider it a strategic element for business, even thought their two main features (family management and strong link to territory) of small companies could seriously help them to create an online identity.
It’s necessary to understand we are living a digital revolution and “traditional” communication seems to be no longer appropriate in taking advantage of market opportunities and prospects. In particular, social media have strongly changed the ways of communication between companies and customers. On one side, in fact, social media can push the company brand awareness, that is how familiar (aware) consumers are with a brand or its products; on the other, the moments when consumers and companies interact (even within the same group) have deeply increased.
Therefore, we cannot avoid social media but it’s important to emphasize that social networks are not a means to an end: they allow to achieve both online and offline goals. In other words, as mentioned, to make the most of their potential, SMEs must integrate social media in their corporate strategy. Of course, to do that, time, specific skills, perseverance, and a lot of study are required.
First of all, companies need to identify the right channel (or more than one) according to their target market. In effect, it would be unthinkable and counterproductive to be present on multiple channels at the same time without first:
- having a complete and clear vision of the goals to achieve (e.g., to increase sales, brand awareness, leads generation, etc.);
- analyzing competitors’ behavior;
- identifying the target (through a commercial but also “social” analysis, because it’s important to understand the way it interacts);
- studying the specific language and content (which should be interesting and well-made) of a social network (there are differences from one channel to another)
Being present on social media highlights another important aspect: companies should pay attention to their public image, ensuring coherence between brand values, vision, and behavior. In other words, it’s fundamental to maintain a positive brand reputation, which is simply how a brand is viewed by the others. A great brand reputation reveals customers’ trust in a brand and that they are confident to buy its products or services. In this respect, social media become a mean to spread the brand identity.
About the advantages, investing in social media marketing can help companies achieve the greatest impact; in particular:
- increasing the visibility of a brand/product/service;
- encouraging the communication with a “community”, generating new leads and therefore selling products and services;
- helping build a loyal network (with existing customers);
- increasing the quality and quantity of site traffic, so also the SEO (search engine optimization).
And not only that, specifically for SMEs, we can include additional advantages:
- cost-effectiveness: social networks are cheaper than traditional channels (press, TV, radio, etc.). Besides, if used properly, social media enable to achieve a clear target audience and increase conversions, delivering a higher ROI compared to other means of communication;
- monitoring of competition: social media can help SMEs analyze competitors and be inspired by reference brand in a sector;
- development of partnership: through social media it’s possible to identify new potential partners to forge strategic alliances and improve the digital presence.
However, one of the critical points linked to social media is that SMES often do not have the right skills to use these tools and to seize all the opportunities they offer. Of course, to have effects, especially at beginning, companies have to trust the experts in the sector who have the professional skills to draw up an effective digital marketing plan.
By the way, social media platforms often offer online and totally for free programs, courses and tools for SMEs, sometimes also implementing post COVD-19 aid programs. In short, social networks are an opportunity not to be missed.
Not by chance, Giobby offers a business social for interacting with about twenty-five thousand companies which currently use our platform. As other channels, it’s possible to publish posts, create groups, visit and follow other companies’ pages, read news about technology, economy and much more.
We cannot ignore social media to implement a winning marketing strategy; even the smallest company can become “great” by investing in social media!