Why SMEs must embrace Social Media

Dee Dosunmu is the Managing Director of the UK’s ‘largest digital community’ of startups and small businesses UKStartUp which regularly promotes and manages social media for SMEs in the UK.

A keen entrepreneur and marketeer, Dee oversees the digital creative arm of UKStartUp which offers business leaders professional digital marketing support, proven campaign techniques and strategic growth ideas leveraging social media. Below, are Dee's four key reasons why SMEs must embrace social media.

 

Social Media for the Modern Day SME

With a 71% increase in social media advertising spend to £588.4 million in 2013 in the UK, it is clear that the digital ‘bug’ has well and truly bitten British businesses. Statistics report that the world’s largest social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, have a combined total of 1.7 billion active users*. That’s an estimated 1.7 billion potential customers for businesses worldwide. This is why now more than ever it is increasingly important for CEO’s, Directors, Managers and professional marketeers like you and I, to understand the utility of social media for the growing business.

 

Communicate Brand Identity

Whether you’re still pulling together the foundation blocks or you’re running an established enterprise, social media is a great way to communicate your brand identity. In growing your successful business, you must be intentional about how you would like their target market to think, feel and respond to your brand. Globally, top brands across industries invest several millions of pounds every year into marketing campaigns designed to make customers perceive their brands in a particular way.

Now, thanks to social media, now more than ever, well-executed campaigns with similar outcomes are achievable for the small-to-medium enterprise. Regular and undiluted communication with your social media followers, can afford your firm the opportunity to cleverly engineer key brand messages, quickly and cost-effectively.

 

Build your Community 

Building your business community is another great use for social media. With platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, you can create groups and targeted lists of loyal followers who will not only celebrate your brand but more importantly share your content. In the world of digital marketing, content is king, so whilst members of your online community won’t all fit neatly into your target market demographic, this doesn’t undermine the power of “digital word of mouth.”

 

Improve your Customer Service

More and more companies are leading the way with ‘dynamic’ customer service by extending beyond the traditional confines of jammed telephone lines and stagnant email exchanges. Using Twitter and Facebook for example, will provide your business with more interactive customer service platforms to attend your valued customers in real-time and again at relatively low-cost. Engaging your customers this way regularly, will help to communicate the message that you value their custom and committed to offering the best service possible.

In the age of the ‘complainers,’ this is something every business should consider. Would you rather a disgruntled customer took to Twitter to rant and quite possibly damage your company reputation; or ensure your team is available to bear the brunt of their complaint on social media. However, with a view to resolving the matter quickly and effectively (which by the way you can publish), to show that your company cares about the problem and is doing something about it. Social media is a great way to do some damage control.

 

With such benefits which linked to business growth, it is not surprising that the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) predict that in just 5 years, digital will account approximately three quarters of total marketing budgets within UK businesses.