Considering pausing your social presence? Here's why it still counts for small business.
No matter what happens, it seems like the world is never short on small business optimism. The Q3 2018 Small Business Index infographic released by Wells Fargo and Gallup revealed that small business optimism is at a 15-year high. The Index score is currently at 118 points, up 12 points from April. It is now officially the highest mark since 2003 when the Index first made its debut.
The glass is more than half full for the entrepreneurial set. Seventy-eight percent of small business owners surveyed say that their financial situation is currently very or somewhat good. Cash flow is also on the up and up in the past year (with 69 percent reporting that it was positive) and the year to come (with 77 percent anticipating 2019 will be a strong year financially).
Interestingly enough, only 54 percent of small business owners surveyed plan to increase the online presence of their business. That percentage may lean on the higher end of the spectrum, but it’s not on the same level as percentages for overall finances and cash flow. With the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal still making headlines and Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all reporting a slowdown or decline in users, many might think it’s time to put social on pause in favor of other small business initiatives.
Don’t be too quick to pump the brakes just yet — here’s why your social media presence still matters.
Social media remains a valuable communication avenue.
When it comes to small businesses, or any business really, it’s better to have more than too few methods for communicating with your customer base. Mailing addresses, phone calls, email, and contact forms on websites are all helpful, but if the customer has a quick question to ask or wants to share the good news about their order arriving earlier than anticipated they tend to do this through platforms like Twitter and Instagram. The real-time advantages to social platforms allows your business to engage with your customers in a timely manner. You don’t have to be on every platform, but it’s helpful to have a few active accounts where you know your customers can be found.
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The platforms allow you to better understand your customers.
Who are your customers? If you don’t know, social platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be of great service in helping you aggregate data and define your target market. This isn’t exactly ‘new’ news to any small business already doing so, but those that think they can skip out may actually be missing out on potential leads and an audience interested in investing in your products and services.
It keeps you a step ahead of your competitors.
While a small business shouldn’t copy every move that their competition makes, they should at least be mindful of where their competitors are at and what they’re up to. If your competition is actively engaging through social with its customers, they have the advantage of being able to boast about that presence.
By simply having active social media profiles, you’re actually doing your business a favor and increasing its visibility through search result pages. As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to plaster your business on every social platform — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, YouTube — to show that you’re active. CNBC reports that sites like Instagram and WhatsApp continue to remain popular with their user base. Go to the sites where your brand’s voice will be at its strongest and able to engage with customers while still getting its overall message across.