If you’re thinking about starting a business or hanging a shingle, you’ve probably considered how to improve efforts to tap into social media and to use social networks to help promote your business, product or service.
Statistics detailing social media business opportunities via social networking
The statistics are pretty compelling. GrowingSocialMedia.com featured these numbers in a recent roundup:
- According to Statistica, the number of global social media users is expected to reach 2.5 billion in 2018.
- Pew Research Center found that 90% of adults age 18 to 29 use social media. (Although, that seems low!)
- We Are Social Media found 71% of women are active on social media, compared to 62% of men.
- Perhaps most importantly for business owners: 92% of small business owners who use social media believe social media marketing is important for their business, according to Business2Community.
- The fastest growing group of new users on Twitter are between 55 and 64 years old.
- 45% of users feel “worried or uncomfortable” when email and Facebook are inaccessible.
- The +1 button (on Google+) is hit at least 5 billion times per day.
- 189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only’, thanks to smartphones
Does social media propel direct sales?
With these statistics in mind, you may think social media marketing is a great direct line for you to help sell your product or service. Post a few great insights on Facebook, and VOILA! – you’re a selling machine, right?
Not so fast.
Last week, Ad Week reported about data from e-commerce vendor Custora analyzed between January and March, 2016. Reviewing about $100 billion in sales among 500 million shoppers, researchers identified only 1.5 percent of retailers’ last-click e-commerce transactions that came via social media. Of those, not surprisingly, Facebook dominated 81 percent of sales, while shopping-centric Pinterest generated 10.8 percent.
Why use social media marketing if it doesn’t produce direct-click sales?
Stay top-of-mind / inspire trust / leverage reviews
Why aren’t retailers dropping their Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and other accounts and desperately searching for another marketing tool to guarantee sales? They realize social media isn’t about “selling.” Instead, it’s a vehicle to help stay top-of-mind for clients and customers.
In addition, leveraging these tools helps companies inspire trust in their target audience. Especially if you are a small business or are not well known, if you have a community of social media followers who are engaged and to whom you respond frequently, potential customers may be more likely to take a chance on making a purchase from you.
Social media is a great way to help encourage happy clients and customers to leave a positive review for you, which, in a buying environment where people look for online validation that their purchase is a good idea, is very useful to drive sales.
Teach Google what you want it to know and demonstrate expertise
Another, equally important reason to leverage social media as a business owner. These tools give even the smallest business the opportunity to feed content and information directly to Google and to “teach” the search engine what they want it to know.
In addition, using social media helps business owners demonstrate expertise and leverage credibility, which is especially important for consultants and coaches, but also for people selling products based on their knowledge. For example, if you are marketing a diet product, you’ll want to prove to your audience you know something about health. Similarly, if you’re selling exercise equipment, it will help inspire confidence in buyers if they can easily see your social media stream is full of content demonstrating you are an expert in the fitness field.
Even if you’re already making money online — tap into a bigger audience
Email marketers or those who rely mostly on Facebook ads and webinars to sell products and services may think they don’t need to leverage non-paid social media to get the word out. Certainly, if you can drive people to sign up for a webinar where you can demonstrate your expertise, you’re on the road to success. However, you’ll never know how many MORE people might have taken the time for your webinar or purchased your product if you had a credibility-boosting social profile.
Expand your network and access referrals and assistance
- One new tool I’ve been checking out lately that fits in well with this model is called Brazzlebox. It’s a virtual community for small and home based businesses. Check out their video. Members of the community can easily network with other businesses nearby, and connect up with other businesses in the same industry. Members can post on the network, trade private messages or even give out coupons.