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All Media Insights March 7, 2024

Social Media for SMBs: Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

Writen by Lawrence Peter

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Social Media Marketing for SMBs: Challenges and Opportunities

In 2005, when social media was still breaking out, only 5% of users across the US were using social media. The number grew by 70% in 2019 and has been evolving continuously, with its use growing worldwide. Research shows that over half of the global population (62.3%) actively uses social media platforms.

Key stats about social media

  • The number of social media users has grown to over 5 billion around the world, with an increase of 266 million users from last year alone.
  • People around the world are spending an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes daily on social media
  • Among all the platforms, Facebook remains the leader with the most monthly active users, followed closely by YouTube
  • Research also shows that an average person uses 6.7 social media platforms each month
  • Nearly half of social media users say they are using it to connect with family and friends
  • It is also one of the most popular ways to get information and news, especially for teens and young demographics
  • Most users are using social media for entertainment purposes and inspiration

Overall, social media usage has been on the rise, with most people using a variety of social media platforms for different purposes.

What is social media?

Imagine a gigantic online space in which we all connect and share ideas, photos, videos, entertainment, and more. That’s social media! A computer-based program or technology that allows for mass media communications on the internet.

Social media is a broad term for applications and websites that allow smooth communication, interactions, collaborations, and content sharing. It is used by businesses, common people, teenagers, etc.

Social media, therefore, is defined as the means of interactions among people, businesses, and creators in which they exchange information and ideas in virtual/online communities and social media networks. There are many types of social media platforms, such as blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, social networking sites, photo-sharing sites, instant messaging services, video-sharing sites, podcasts, widgets, and more.

Social media are technologies that enable users to create, share, and gather content, ideas, and interests through virtual communities and networks. Social media refers to new media forms that involve interactive participation. Although the definition of social media is challenged due to the diversity of both stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available, there are some common features.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media for SMBs: Challenges Amidst Opportunities

Social media marketing is an ever-changing digital space with new trends, platforms, and behaviours, which require businesses to redefine their social media marketing strategies accordingly.

As one of the leading social media marketing agencies in Dubai, Wide Wings Media recognizes the value of social media when crafting marketing and business strategies, taking into account the differences in targets and goals for all our clients. We have a team of talented social media specialists who have helped in the growth of our services and capabilities in line with the growth of the social media platforms we know today.

We tailor our digital marketing strategies to meet the needs of local consumers worldwide. By using localization, text translation, and keyword research by city or country, we provide you with highly targeted keywords that will attract and convert users in the local market where you plan to establish your business. Adapt your content to local markets using localization of textual content, and work with the most searched keywords in the local market to enhance your brand awareness and sales.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is one of the different disciplines of digital marketing that uses social media platforms to promote brands and their offerings to ideal audiences. Contrary to common belief, social media marketing involves much more than just random postings on business accounts and achieving the best out of it. Businesses need to have an effective marketing strategy and plan.

From creating business profiles to maintaining and optimizing them, a social media manager needs to create a content calendar that describes all the posts, the timeline, and the popular social media platforms for posting. Social media marketing involves community management, reputation management, paid social media ads, and many more.

No matter the industry/niche, social media is one of the quickest and most effective ways to connect with your target audience, strengthen your brand, establish customer loyalty, and increase your business revenue.

How Social Media Can Boost Your Business and Brand

Social media has proved to be an excellent tool for connecting businesses and brands with their target customers and building meaningful relationships. Even though there are many positives, there are many disadvantages to social media that businesses should be aware of.

  • Social media is public. This means all posts, regardless of the industry or product interests, are visible to everyone, which calls for superior caution on posts and message delivery for a good brand reputation.
  • Social media is time-consuming. Maintaining a positive relationship with your followers and posting regular updates can be time-consuming. However, neglecting to do so can result in low levels of engagement on your posts and decreased traffic to your website.
  • Social media requires marketing skills. If your social media posts are offensive, you risk losing customers who prefer more civil options. Failure to heed warnings could harm your business.

How Social Media is Shaking Things Up in Every Business

  • Business Promotion: Entrepreneurs, influencers, and professionals use social media to showcase their products, services, and personal brands, displaying their skills and expertise to attract clients.
  • Brand Building: Social media platforms are extensively used by companies for digital marketing purposes. These platforms facilitate paid ad campaigns that help increase brand awareness, engage customers, address customer service queries, and boost sales. Social media channels are essential for brand building, and companies across industries and niches, ranging from startups to big brands, benefit from their use.
  • Personal Branding: Professionals use social media to showcase their work, skills, and achievements to industry connections. Personal branding helps them network and find jobs.
  • Massive Impact Across Sectors: Social media has an impact on industries like media, entertainment, tourism, retail, education, and policymaking. It enables discussions and change and has immense business potential and personal branding prospects.

The impact of social media is far-reaching and affects different areas, indicating the wide-ranging consequences of digital connectivity.

  • Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok have transformed the media landscape by fostering creativity and engagement. However, the rise of piracy and copyright violations can be problematic.
  • Social media allows for personalized marketing, but negative influencer reviews can sway customers.
  • Tourist locations worldwide benefit from image sharing and reviews, but excessive social media usage during vacations can have negative consequences.
  • Students and teachers can use social media for knowledge sharing and collaboration, but it can also be a source of distraction and inappropriate content.
  • Policy-making discussions on Twitter and Facebook can lead to policy changes. The spread of fake news is causing tension.

Love it or Like it: How Social Media Affects Us

The advent of social media has greatly changed how we communicate with one another. Not only that, but it has also changed how businesses market their services and products. People have access to social media platforms with a simple touch of a button. The growth in social media usage prompts quick responses and instant answers, which has led to the growing numbers of teenagers and younger adults spending much time on social media.

Research reports that in the US alone, almost 95% of teenagers and young adults have access to smartphones and 45% of those engage with social media almost continuously. Being constantly connected to the internet can lead to impulse control issues because access to information is always available.

The more time you spend on the internet, the more notifications you will receive, which can be detrimental to your focus and productivity at work or school. Social media can also disrupt your sleep patterns, as many people end their day scrolling through their feeds.

When someone likes, comments, or shares your social media post, it triggers the release of dopamine in your brain. This reward pattern can lead to addiction and make you spend more time on your screen.

If a person does not receive ‘likes’ for their content on social media, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Often, people tend to compare their lives to the way they see others living on social media, including influencers, even though most people only post highlights from their lives and not the entire story.

It is difficult to determine the lasting impact of social media on individuals and society since it has not been around for a significant period of time. People often turn to social media as a way to conceal underlying issues such as anxiety or loneliness.

Should your small business jump on social media marketing?

Social Media for SMBs: Challenges Amidst Opportunities

Social marketing and networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram were created to strengthen social ties and provide a sense of personal connection. However, research shows that extensive use of social media may decrease communication with family and friends while increasing feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

One of the problems with social media is that it allows people to present an idealistic version of themselves and their lives, selecting only the most positive aspects and leaving out the negative. This often leads to “Facebook envy,” where users compare their real lives to the digital facades of their friends and acquaintances, concluding that their friends’ lives are happier and more successful.

As third-party content hubs, businesses are subject to the publisher’s policies, and staying informed about algorithm changes and consumer sentiment is crucial for success.

Recently, several companies have stopped social media advertising, boycotting all media purchases from Facebook. The boycott was based on the misleading content found on most of these platforms, including the spread of negative, abusive, and false news. Multinational companies like Coca-Cola, Hershey, and Unilever announced that their advertising would be pulled back indefinitely, which saw more than 150 different companies also pull out of social media advertising.

Advantages of social media for businesses

  • Expansive reach: Almost half the world’s population, or over 3.6 billion people, use social media, making it a vast audience for your brand.
  • Increased brand awareness: 60% of Instagram users discover new products on the platform. Your next loyal customer could be just a post away.
  • Direct customer engagement: Social media provides a direct communication channel. Engage with your audience, answer queries, and build relationships.
  • Boosted website traffic: Active social media engagement leads to a 6% increase in website traffic, making it a direct link to your primary digital storefront.
  • Higher conversion rates: Social media has a lead-to-close rate that is 100% higher than outbound marketing, demonstrating that it is not just about visibility but about results.
  • Cost-effective marketing: Digital advertising on social media platforms can be more cost-effective and yield better results than traditional methods. On average, businesses earn $5.20 for every $1 spent on Facebook ads.
  • Real-time feedback and insights: Collect customer feedback instantly and use data to improve strategies.

Disadvantages of Social Media for SMBs

  • Effort: Social media success requires expertise in strategy and marketing. Managers may lack these skills, hurting your brand’s reputation. Social media demands specialized skills and expert help. High-quality content is vital to meeting audience expectations.
  • Reach: Social media provides exposure opportunities but growing your audience takes time. Your brand perception is affected by your following and verification status.

With changing algorithms, organic growth can be challenging, so you must work hard on content and user interaction. Advertising is also beneficial. Growth-based strategies help source, nurture, and convert leads from social media.

  • Management: To succeed on social media, protect and monitor your accounts. Have a reliable community management system in place. Be cautious about the causes you support and your messaging. Carefully manage and monitor feedback to avoid negative consequences.
  • Disillusionment: People get tired of social media content, and some prefer to disconnect and share information in person. Privacy and false information are concerns for active users, so businesses must cater to their audience’s needs.
  • Platforms: Social media only allows profiles or accounts, with no control over policies or updates. Businesses need to be cautious since they don’t own their presence and should keep up with platform changes but not rely on social media as their only online tool.

Stay updated on social media news and make changes to your strategy accordingly. Pay attention to boycotts and updates, and be aware of platform disadvantages to address them. Are you struggling with your social media or interested in developing a strategy that enhances your brand’s credibility while driving growth?

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