What comes to mind when you hear the word small business? For some they picture a small mom and pop shop or restaurant. In this digital age, a small business does not need a physical building. Nope, all a small business needs is a niche, a website, and vast social media accounts. Don’t believe me? Go to Youtube and you can find numerous of tutorial videos about how to use social media to advertise ones business. Even major corporations have tapped into the digital age with Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Vine accounts, and more.
In the age of rapid technology, social media is an important tool of success for small businesses, for many reasons listed below.
Social media has an outreach beyond ones neighborhood, county, city, or country. Think about the amount of people who shop online. Last year, the Wall Street Journal did an article on online shopping and found “seventy percent of more than 3,000 online shoppers surveyed in February say they prefer to shop their favorite retailer online.” They projected that the number of online shoppers would continue to grow. Combine this with the ability to use cell phones to shop and you have easy customers and money.
There are communities for small business owners on the web. In life support, tips, ideas, information, sharing, and exchange is crucial, so why wouldn’t it be for entrepreneurs. While some are able to physically meet up with fellow business owners, some aren’t. Luckily social media has remedied this. The U.S. Small Business Administration, an independent government agency that aids small business, constantly updates their Twitter page, @SBAgov, with information. Earlier this year, they held a Twitter chat session for young entrepreneurs. All you needed to join was a Twitter account and a wealth of information was at your fingertips. This agency also has Facebook, YouTube, and Foursquare.
It is cost effective to build a website using free social networking sites. Some people have no problem paying hundreds of dollars to create a website and there is nothing wrong with that. However, it is cheaper to use a free WordPress or BlogSpot and change it into a website for less than $500 dollars. These and similar sites can help take care of the SEO hassle tracking visitors and page views.
Last but certainly not least is networking. Networking is a must in any professional atmosphere. You never know the client or customer who will be able to bring attention and traffic to your business. The internet provides broad networking to specific networking. You can network with other small businesses or network with businesses specifically in the same market as you.
I am not saying word of mouth, flyers, or attending physical events are superfluous because it’s not. These actions are just as important, but they can be done in addition to creating an online presence. Brand awareness is necessary, getting customers to know who you are or what the product is, can be achieved greatly online.