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With over 400 million Twitter users, 3 billion Facebook users, and 800 million LinkedIn accounts, it’s safe to say that social media is a powerful tool for both personal and business use. Gradually, more and more SMEs are becoming aware of the importance of social networks in the day, but still have doubts as to whether they provide benefits or not. Many small-business owners are hesitant to participate in or use these channels for promotion. The question is whether the effort is worthwhile or not. They are not large corporations with larger budgets. As a result, these entrepreneurs wonder whether they should promote their small businesses through these channels.
Is it necessary for SMEs to have these platforms?
Social networks have evolved into highly effective business tools. If you use these platforms effectively, you can attract millions of new users while maintaining direct contact with existing customers, thereby improving the brand experience and reputation on a daily basis. Social media should be used by SMEs as a vital tool for growth. According to the findings of a Wildfire study, which polled 700 companies in the digital world via social media,
How could we possibly forget?! The most obvious advantage of using social media is that it is completely free. There are no registration fees on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. There are account options on LinkedIn that require a subscription, but they are completely optional. Importantly, the free options are designed to meet the needs of a company. It’s critical to ensure that the tools are used correctly.
The social revolution is undoubtedly altering the way brands and businesses communicate with their customers. According to recent studies, 60% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices, and user-generated content is linked to 26% of search results for the world’s Top 20 largest brands. About 32% of bloggers share their thoughts on products and brands.
Most brand executives agree that they have complete control over their brand’s perception among their target audience. The most difficult part is gaining genuine insights. True to the saying “only half of the advertising really works but I don’t know which half!”. Plans will start to fall into place fairly well once we find the one key insight on which we can act. The idea is to converse with your audience. That is only possible if you have insights and can create content that will compel them to discuss their issues or their opinions on related issues. Emotionally involving them is also important.
In this scenario, SMEs must recognise that the conversation is taking place in a variety of areas and situations. It is critical to observe and learn about such conversations, as well as to ensure that you are participating effectively in them. You must abandon the pursuit of large groups of people in favour of highly targeted groups of people. Make Twitter another channel for customers to contact you about problems or jobs to be done.
Many companies have successfully used these principles to achieve superbrand status: Starbucks, the number one brand on Facebook for a long time, uses it as a distribution of information to add value to conversations with their customers. It uses its brand as an interface for content distribution by establishing communities for activism, entrepreneurship, good music influencers, and so on.
Another global brand in the digital space is Virgin. It repositioned itself as a distribution-facing brand. It is now a place to construct and incubate ideas.
The open nature of digital platforms increases information availability while eroding the advantages of large brand power. The social revolution also necessitates the coordination of marketing, sales, and consumer research functions, which have not always worked well together in the past.
Most experts agree that it is critical to test and learn. It is more important to achieve goals than to deliver perfect but irrelevant metrics. The metrics will arrive, but the opportunities may have been underutilised. SMEs must consider product and people stories.
Experian’s research clearly demonstrates the importance of having an online presence. It has the potential to make or break a company, which is especially true for smaller businesses. According to their findings, 76% of British adults use the internet on a daily basis. Up to 2 million small businesses lack an online presence, according to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, despite the fact that “small business owners now have an array of options when it comes to raising awareness of their company.”
According to the Experian article, one of the most common reasons for start-up failure is a lack of online presence. When you consider the amount of exposure a company can get, it’s not surprising. It goes on to say that many established SMEs aren’t “digital ready,” which means they’re missing out on important marketing opportunities. When you consider that in 2014 and 2015, the most important benefit of having an online presence was being able to reach a larger geographical audience, it’s clear that using social media is a must for SMEs.
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