You’re feeling quite accomplished: your small business has an official Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You have a decent following, so you’re happily floating along the social media river, right? Wrong. Social media is now an ocean with a killer undertow. Social media and small businesses go hand in hand; smart businesses not only welcome the pull, they dive in and surf.
The amount of growth that social media has been a pivotal part of creating for small businesses is undeniable. But before I say any more, let me shatter some glass: this growth is not attributed solely to younger users. 72% of all Internet users are now active on social media. But that’s not the interesting part, this is:
– active use of social media is up from 67% in 2012 and 8% in 2005
– of users aged 30-49, 72% are active on social media
– of users aged 50-64, 60% are active on social media
– of users aged 65+, 43% are active on social media
Social media is boundless. Users aren’t only getting at it through computer bases, but on their mobile devices and tablets, too–a whopping 103% increase in website traffic since 2011 is owed to smartphones alone! Businesses are rousing tremendous amounts of growth by anchoring themselves with a strong presence across multiple social media platforms. Don’t believe me? A study by researchers at Brandeis University shows that technology-intensive service firms added jobs at a rate of 5.1% from 2001 to 2009. Growth like this doesn’t just happen overnight, small businesses develop social media followings for the long run. Even the most effective content marketers use an average of seven different social media platforms, and social marketing budgets are expected to double over the next 5 years. With the increase in investment of both time and money on social media, the benefits are being reaped–85% of all businesses with a dedicated integration of social media platforms reported an increase in their market exposure.
So how exactly are businesses not only treading water, but freestyle swimming in the ocean of social media? Let’s explore some of the most well-known examples.
With a total of nearly 1.2 billion users, it’s no surprise that 70% of marketers have used Facebook to successfully gain new customers. Facebook users and experts alike agree that the use of photos is a must; more than three quarters of brand posts shared on Facebook are photos. With some users (23%) checking their accounts more than five times daily, the pressure’s on for businesses to create and share photos that will make their following want to revisit the business’s page over and over again.
This social media giant boasts 560 million users. Like Facebook, Twitter allows businesses to interact with their following through mentions–some 85% of followers feel more connected with a small business after following them. Twitter’s unique way of allowing small businesses to reach their following through hashtags and trending topics is a wave too big to ignore. With the use of only one or two hashtags, a tweet can get a 21% higher engagement. Users follow small businesses on Twitter because they want to interact with them by sharing ideas and feedback, a crucial way of monitoring performance. Your small business has a ton of fish eagerly biting at the line–reel them in.
Just as Twitter hinges on an interaction with a small business’s following, this next social media giant hinges on the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Instagram is a social networking service that allows users to share photos and short videos with creative digital filters. With the ability to link Instagram to a user’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare, this platform provides a small business with the opportunity to better spread out what they share with their following fourfold. With the increasing interest in visual content for business purposes, Instagram is ready to make your small business the lighthouse among your sea of competitors:
– Instagram engagement is actually 15 times higher than that of Facebook
– 41% of brands on Instagram post one or more photos per week to their accounts
But lower that raised eyebrow–though Instagram’s following is small, businesses can reach their target audience more effectively within Instagram’s clutter-free atmosphere. Because Instagram attracts less users as compared to Facebook and Twitter and marketers use the platform less, businesses that post on Instagram don’t have to fight through the fray to be noticed. Instagram has 200 million active users and counting; don’t let these astronomical engagement rates pass you by.
The stats don’t lie. Social media is now the ocean businesses are swimming in–will you be a guppy or a shark?
Share these stats with your following! Images from infographic can be found here. (click image to reveal most effective Facebook & Twitter image sizes):