Social media is the best place for your small business dollars

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The amazing revolution that is social media doesn’t just reconnect you with old high school friends, allow you to view family photos from all over the world or let you see how much weight your old girlfriend or boyfriend has packed on – it’s also helping small businesses in a very tangible (and profitable) way.

Until relatively recently, if you wanted to get your small business noticed in your local community, you had to call the newspaper, go through two or three people before connecting with a sales person and then look at two or three proofs of your advertisement before it was correct. 

But what did you get after all that heartburn (not to mention several hundred dollars of your business’ hard-earned money paid to the newspaper) which may not even be owned or published in your local community any longer? If the advertisement was correct, it appeared in the newspaper for one day – or a little bit longer, if you paid a lot more for that to happen.

That’s why the explosion of social media has been such a benefit to small businesses all over the nation, and can be a benefit to the ones right on your Main Street. 

Here’s a challenge: Think of your 10 closest friends; now, how many of those friends use even one social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Snapchat? 

According to Statista.com*, 78 percent of all Americans have some sort of presence on social media. That number was just 24 percent in 2008 – only eight years ago. It’s grown substantially every year, including 48 percent in 2010, 56 percent in 2012 and 67 percent in 2014.

That means nearly eight out of every 10 Americans – regardless of their age – are on social media in 2016! And when you consider the only ones who are not on social media are – quite frankly – never going to be have a social media profile (likely your elderly parents or grandparents), the customers your small business are trying to attract are on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other social media that have gripped our world today.

So why can’t you just go back to the newspaper example above and use the web-based tools that industry offers? If the newspaper sites were still free for all to view, that would certainly be a good option. But since news sites – newspapers, in particular – have put almost all their information behind paywalls, your ad on that site only goes to the limited audience that actually views that site.

Although we’ve only used the newspaper example, it applies to TV, radio, magazines and other so-called traditional media, too. When that TV or radio ad ends, it’s out of our minds because there is another ad coming right behind it. And honestly, with satellite radio and on-demand TV, who even listens to or watches advertisements on radio or TV any longer?

That’s why getting the word out about your small business on social media is so important. Not only is it easier to do than calling an advertising representative, YOU control the message – and the frequency it appears on the sites your customers are frequenting. 

And how about those hundreds and thousands of dollars you were spending on traditional advertising – that you weren’t even sure was being seen by the customers you want to target? That doesn’t happen with social media. For a fraction of what you were spending on a one-time newspaper advertisement, or a TV/radio ad that might run seven or eight times (including in the middle of the night when your customers aren’t really listening or watching), your ad appears when you want it and on the laptops and mobile devices of the customers you want to view it.

More now than ever, social media is the best place for small businesses to advertise.