These days, it can feel like a buzzing social media presence and ever-increasing following are essential for business success, but for some people this can be a daunting prospect.
Whilst the idea of developing a social media strategy and maintaining a constant flow of content can be off-putting to some, other business owners will accredit most, if not all, of their success to cracking the social media marketing code.
We explore whether or not a business needs to be on social media in order to compete and succeed, and compare this to the pros and cons of setting your business up with an active social media presence.
Does a business have to be on social media?
No, it isn’t mandatory for a business to be on social media, and it’s entirely possible to run a business without any sort of social media presence at all.
In fact, for some businesses it doesn’t make strategic sense to invest time or money into generating that type of content and managing several social platforms. For example, businesses dealing with pharmaceuticals, cigarette sales, and CBD products may find that advertising laws and restrictions have a huge impact on their ability to use social media as a promotional tool.
Alternative forms of marketing and promotion
There are many other ways businesses can grow and scale outside of social media, including marketing channels such as:
- Organic content (e.g., blogs, reports, tutorials)
- Search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Google search ads (including retargeting ads)
- Influencer and affiliate marketing
- Events (including networking and sponsorship)
- Experiential marketing campaigns
- Public relations (PR)
- Print advertising
- Out-of-home (OOH) advertising (e.g., billboards, vehicles, radio ads)
- Referral programmes
Social media isn’t for every business and with so many other advertising and growth options, that’s okay, but for some businesses this might mean missing out on opportunities.
The business benefits of being on social media
Reasons to be active on social media extend far and wide, which is why so many businesses today have a substantial online presence. Possible reasons for investing time, money and energy into social media include:
- Further brand reach and visibility
- Cost-effective advertising
- Access to granular insights and metrics
- Wider distribution of content
- Competitive advantage
- Slick customer service
- More effective influencer and affiliate marketing
Further brand reach and visibility
Take a look at these figures:
- X (Twitter) currently has almost 530 million monthly active users
- LinkedIn has 950 million members
- Facebook has nearly 3 billion global users
- Instagram is expected to have more than 1.4 billion monthly active users by 2025
- TikTok has 1 billion monthly active users
- YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide
When your business is on social media, you unlock the potential to reach billions of people using these platforms every single day. Without a social media strategy, you’re leaving huge audiences like this untapped.
Increased reach and visibility mean there’s more potential to find new customers, and therefore make more profit.
Depending on the nature of your business, you might even find it more cost effective to use social media rather than going to the effort of creating a full website.
Other businesses, including your competitors, are amongst those users. Many of your competitors will be online, accessing global audiences, sharing content, raising brand awareness, and reaping the rewards of being on social media. Keep up and stay ahead of your competition by finding your own social media flow.
Traditional advertising where you buy space in a particular format can be incredibly costly. Paid social media ads, on the other hand, enable you to reach wide audiences without hefty advertising expenses.
You can normally set a daily budget, and target adverts at a specific audience to help you get the best out of your efforts. It can be a far more appealing marketing tactic for new businesses or those with modest budgets.
Access to granular insights and metrics
Social media platforms have their own integrated analytics tools that allow you to track the performance of your social content. This data can help you measure things like engagement, impressions, and reach, all of which can be incredibly useful to learn more about your audience. You might even find some unexpected surprises! It all helps you to evolve your marketing strategy accordingly.
Slick customer service
You might find that many customers will turn to a brand’s social media channels for customer support. Being available on these platforms to respond and resolve issues in a timely manner will enhance your customer service and overall satisfaction. Social media is also a great way to interact with customers in real-time and react to feedback.
Only invest in relevant platforms
It’s also important to realise that, if you do decide you want your business to be on social media, you don’t need to be active or even available on every single platform. Only prioritise the social media channels that are:
- Relevant to your industry
- Where your customers are (the social platforms your audience engages with)
- Going to deliver some sort of ROI for your business, whether that’s revenue, awareness, or simply upholding brand reputation
It’s better to pour your energy into a smaller number of channels and make them work harder for you, than spread yourself too thinly over more social platforms. The latter will only lead to poor engagement and low interaction – neither of which will yield any positive results.
- Conduct thorough market research to find out where your target customers are hanging out in the digital realm.
- Carry out some competitor analysis to figure out which social media platforms your competitors are on, and through which channels they seem to be having the most success.
Whatever you do, don’t waste your valuable resources on social platforms that aren’t going to boost your brand or your bottom line. Every social media strategy should be geared towards your business goals.
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