This post focuses on how small businesses, large companies and non-profit organisations have the chance to advance their objectives, enhance their image and improve their awareness through our ever so famous form of communication >>> social media . Using social media as a catalyst for success, these entities can utilise all kinds of social channels to circulate their lucrative messages and promote their offerings.
Small Businesses, Non-profit organisations and Social Media
A chance to get personal. Small businesses and non-profits can use social media to engage and form closer relationships with their target audience directly, producing long-term benefits. Moreover, small businesses can post non-product related stories and images online, which may lead consumers to have an emotional reaction and so cause them to share with their peers. They can also encourage consumers to express their own personal stories and opinions about their products, encouraging user-generated content. Social media not only gives small businesses and non-profits the chance to promote their comings and goings but it makes their target audience feel more connected to their brand, moving them to purchase their goods or to make a donation.
Take advantage of consumers and individuals’ daily mobile use. Mobile phones allow individuals to access social media 24/7, which benefits small businesses and non-profits as they can influence people to make a purchase or elevate a charitable cause at anytime of the day. A mobile phone also allows these groups to communicate their key messages to the public on a regular basis via social media.
Implement customer service. Small businesses can better serve their target market via social media, promptly addressing consumers’ problems or questions and resolving or dissolving any negative experiences or comments consumers may have in relation to their product/service. Likewise, small businesses can also toot their own horn by sharing consumers’ positive feedback…and in this case I reckon they should use as many social platforms as they can to spread the good word about their brand!
Hootsuite. To all the businesses and non-profits out there…I suggest you take a look at this!
The Risks of Using Social Media in a Business
- Negative publicity: A small business may post an improper comment about another business or individual on social media that could lead to damaging exposure.
- Security issues: Confidential information about the small business could be leaked to the wrong channels via social media.
- Public criticism: Consumers can publicise their frustrations about a small business, which is likely to taint their brand’s image.
- Lack of education: Small businesses who are not techno-savvy and fail to use social media effectively due to a lack of knowledge (it pays to get some training or ask an expert for some help) will have to wear the opportunity cost.
- Competitive exposure: Competitors also using social media could gain insight to a small businesses’ marketing tactics.
- Wasting business time: Regular updates and monitoring social media takes time, time small businesses would rather spend on their essential day-to-day tasks.
“For a business owner who might be preoccupied with the day to day challenges of running a business in a sluggish economic recovery, maintaining an active social media presence is clearly not easy.”
Small & Large Businesses
On the whole, businesses are more likely to use the Web in ways that are less time-consuming such as paying suppliers and buying goods online however find it difficult to draw out their social media existence in the long run due to their limited means.
Small businesses may be interested in utlising social media and would like the benefits that come with it however are scarce for time and resources. They stand-alone and focus on the matters at hand rather than sustaining an active social media presence. This is a tad sad as it could help their brand in the long run with gaining loyal customers and a profit.
Ms Smith said, “Much like social media, search engine marketing…requires specialist knowledge and expertise that is probably not available to many small businesses. We know…that the majority of consumers will search online first before choosing a product or service, so this is an area where businesses are missing out if they do not have the time or resources available.”
Larger businesses on the other hand have the means to not only implement a wide range of online marketing activities such as digital advertising or electronic direct mail but they can also invest time and resources towards building a strong social media aura.
This all leads me to think…does a business’s use of social media wade in the hands of time and money?
Mobile Social Media and ‘Traditional’ Social Media
Mobile social media = A constant connection and interaction on social media due to mobile devices (e.g. Facebook Places, Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp).
‘Traditional’ social media = A stationary connection and interactivity on social media (e.g., posting Twitter messages, Facebook status updates, watching a YouTube video or reading a Wikipedia entry).
Mobile social media is a collection “of mobile marketing applications that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. Companies engaging in mobile social media will often have some sort of knowledge about the consumers with whom they’re dealing, such as current geographical position in time or space.”
Entrepreneur. (2016). How Your Small Business Can Use Social Media to Boost Sales. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244383
BarnRaisers. (2015). 27 surprising stats how social media is changing healthcare. Retrieved from http://barnraisersllc.com/tag/business-strategy/
TechXB. (2014). Top five risks companies face when using social media. Retrieved from http://techxb.com/top-five-risks-companies-face-when-using-social-media
MYOB (2012, 14 November). New Zealand business getting less social. Retrieved from http://myob.co.nz/myob/news-1257828256743?articleId=1257830446976
Kaplan, A. (2012). If you love something, let it go mobile: Mobile marketing and mobile social media 4×4. Business Horizons, 55(2), 129-139. doi: 10.1016/j.bushor.2011.10.009