In recent years, social media has become much more than simply a way to share your thoughts and keep in touch with friends. As more social media platforms continue to reach the market, businesses and corporations have found ways to use social media to their advantage. However, it is quickly becoming more important for small businesses and non-profit organizations to become familiar with the positive impact that the use of social media could have on their own future success.
Before social media, most small businesses were fairly limited in the markets that they were able to reach. These businesses were often held to advertising using traditional methods such as radio, TV commercials and outdoor advertising. Although all of these methods have proven themselves in one way or another, the overwhelming use of social media now enables smaller businesses to reach any market they desire with the click of a button. In a survey of 1,000 small businesses that make $1 to $50 million in revenue, LinkedIn found that 81 percent use social media to market themselves, while another 9 percent plan to use it in the future. The survey also uncovered that 94 percent of small businesses used social media as a marketing tool and 49 percent used it as an educational tool and to derive business insights.
Of all the current social media platforms, I feel that small businesses should focus most of their marketing energy on Facebook. While Twitter may be more popular with younger age groups, I believe that a business would reach a wider audience by marketing through Facebook. I would look to Facebook first because it is much easier to create a bond with customers through Facebook. While Twitter is great for sharing simple messages and updates, it is harder to truly connect with individuals when you are limited to 140 characters. It is this bond and sense of community that customers are looking for and that helps a business build and keep a strong foundation of loyal followers.