Social Integration And Small Business

A couple of months ago, we had a post on why consumers use social media.
The main reason they utilized social networks was to connect with others –
friends, family, coworkers or people they lost touch with.
As a business, social media can help you better connect with more than just customers – it can help you create deeper relationships with your vendors & suppliers, your employees and other businesses that you are engaged with.  Social media is also a tool that can also help you connect the various aspects of your business. But a recent report shows that many small and medium businesses are not integrating social media into these parts of their business.

• Currently, less than 40% of small and medium businesses integrate social media capabilities into their company website – over the next year, another 35% plan to

• Just over one in five integrate social media into their marketing campaigns and 36% expect to do this in the next
12 months

• 20% of SMBs are using social media in their customer service and sales processes

• Just 13% are utilizing social media in their customer contact or customer relationship procedures

• Currently, fewer than 15% of small companies have integrated social media into their mobile web sites and over 40% have no plans at to

• Only 12% of companies are using social media for product development information

What Does This Mean To You?

Social media is not going away.  Nationwide, over half of adults have gone to a social media site in the past month.  Valuable target audience such as moms and professionals are even more likely to be social networkers.  There are indications that social media fans are also your loyal customers. Building social media into you company’s business strategy will help you in many ways.  Not integrating means that you are missing out on opportunities to connect with more customers, develop loyalty, improve engagement and create the goods and services your customers want.

Why is social media important to your customer service efforts?
Social networks have become the portal for which many consumers connect with consumers. They not only want but expect that you respond to feedback and answer their questions.

How does social media directly impact my sales?
Social commerce is one of the newest trends to emerge. Social media could supply your business with a whole new revenue stream

What does social networking have to do with mobile?
Social networking is rapidly becoming a mobile function. Many social networks, such as Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare and Instagram are mobile-first or mobile only applications.  In the past month, over 20% of consumers nationally accessed a social network via mobile device.

How does social networking play into my loyalty programs?
When a social networker “likes” or follows a brand it’s a great indication of whether they are a loyal customerSocial entities can help you increase sales and have these loyal customers become brand evangelists for your business.

How can social media help me with product development? 
Customers like for their voices to be heard.  If you’ve got an idea on something you want to do or a product you may want to introduce, who better to ask than your loyal customers.  Remember, the information may not be scientifically accurate or statistically valid – but you will at least hear what they have to say.  Polls and questions are also great forms of engagement.

Social media can help your business in a number of different ways.  It starts by simply adding social links or icons to your current marketing efforts.  This will at least let them know you have a social presence. The more you integrate and optimize your social capabilities, the bigger the benefit can be.  For more information on how to grow your business with social media, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: eMarketer; SMB Group; The 2012 Scarborough Multi-Market Report, Release 1


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