Be there or be square.

A business without social media is like a person without a cell phone. Dysfunctional and irrelevant.

Okay, that was harsh. But it’s almost completely true.

Sure… there are mom and pop stores that have been around forever and don’t need a Twitter account to connect with their twenty repeat customers. But these stores are slowly becoming obsolete, and small businesses can benefit from social media just as much as big businesses can.

According to Forbes, 97% of marketers participate in social media and 92% of marketers think social media is vital for their business. Being on social media can increase brand awareness, authority and loyalty, and costs next to nothing to use.

When I hear about a business, particularly a restaurant or a boutique, I immediately look it up on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. If the business isn’t on any of these social media platforms, I forget about it. Often times I find out about a business on social media. A friend will retweet a post from a restaurant and I’ll go check out the restaurant’s page. The way I look at it, this is free advertising that it would be crazy not to use.

Not to mention that social media advertising is hardly a time commitment. According to Hubspot, most marketers only need to spend six hours per week working on social media content in order to increase traffic on their pages. Given the nonexistent cost of social media marketing, it’s easy to justify less than one hour per day of sending out tweets and posting photos on Instagram.

Social media is also the perfect tool for interacting with consumers. Almost everyone is on social media, and people post about companies all the time. If your business is mentioned in a tweet or tagged in an Instagram post, you can read and respond to this feedback immediately. This gives marketers the opportunity to fix what consumers want fixed and improve on things consumers already love. This, in turn, makes consumers more loyal as well.

I feel a strong obligation to the businesses I follow on social media – especially local businesses. A great example of this is Sup Dogs, the relatively new hotdog joint located on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Most of my friends love going to Sup Dogs, and they tweet about and Instagram it regularly. Madison Cavalchire, a junior at UNC Chapel Hill, said seeing a business like this on social media keeps her craving their food.

“I won’t even be thinking about it, but then I see Sup Dogs tweet a picture of some fries and I immediately want to go. It’s right on campus, so I usually end up going,” said Cavalchire. “I don’t think as much about going to restaurants that don’t pop up on my different feeds.”

To think that social media marketing is this much of a game-changer for a consumer is mind blowing, but it makes sense. As our generation becomes more involved with social media, it will only make sense to advertise where people are looking.

One thought on “Be there or be square.

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