I have often heard local entrepreneurs say, why is social media even important? They argue that the bulk of the business they receive is from referrals or repeat customers, so why does it matter if they use social media or even have social media accounts for their brands.?
It’s a great question! Exactly WHY is it important and relevant into today’s business landscape?
Imagine this scenario: If my friend refers a removal company, a plumber or hairdesser to me, the very first thing I do and MILLIONS of others do according to the research, is go online to check out the business, person or service being recommended to us.
Do they have a legitimate website or business page? This speaks to credibility. Do they have any customer feedback and is it positive for negative, this tells me how trustworthy, reliable and competent they are. It’s only after I have done a little of my own online research that I will decide whether or not I want to do business with them. For many people, this is so automatic, they don’t even realise how often the cyberstalk companies, products or services before eventually making a choice to spend money. South Africans are especially known to guard their hard earned money very tightly before finally making a decision to part with it online, and rightly so.
There are other great reasons of course – if you are under 35, your daily routine most likely includes staring at your phone, tablet or computer for hours and hours every day. If you are a business owner or a marketer you will know – to promote your business you need to be where the EYES are. Those eyes are not looking at billboards or magazines anymore. The majority of your customers are more likely to be scanning social media on their mobile devices. So if you want to follow your customers and present your products or services for brand awareness, you will need to be where they are.
Another wonderful reason is engagement and feedback. Social media means your customer can find you in the digital space and interact with your brand. This can create a sense of community and brand loyalty. Your customer may also have a query or complaint that they are hesitant to share with you in person but online they have no problem telling you EXACTLY what they think. Some companies may see this as a negative but savvy business owners know that handled correctly and used wisely, this is exactly the kind of feedback they need to improve their service and products.
Another great reason to invest in digital marketing, especially social media – Traditional advertising is very costly and hard to change, whereas online marketing and social media can be incredibly cost-effective and flexible according to the needs of the moment.
As you can see, social media marketing has many advantages for startups as well as established brands, it may be daunting for those who have no prior experience but with guidance and a little time, you will see the great benefits and value in establishing your own unique online footprint.