Social media has become dominant, not only in life but in business.

YouTube is second only to Google when it comes to search. Nine-thousand one-hundred Tweets happen per second. Three new members join LinkedIn every two seconds. Facebook is the third largest country (behind India and China) with eighteen percent of all internet users on Facebook.

  • Why use social media and get lost? I’d rather be a big fish in a small pond and stick to offline advertising.
  • Where else would your business be able to reach as many potential prospects for as reasonable a cost as social media?

Simple logic aside, there are statistical arguments to support leaving the small pond mentality. Although it is nice being established in a stable, smaller environment, the overall consumer populations have moved to social media when making purchasing decisions. Soon, that small pond will dry up until it’s merely a puddle and business opportunities will dwindle to obsolescence. There is evidence that this is already becoming the trend. According to a recent study by research team Aberdeen Group, 47% of Best-in-Class companies have incorporated social media with their marketing strategies. (Best-in-Class is rated as businesses that cite 20% annual revenue growth and 73% annual customer retention rate).

Social media makes it easier to lower barriers to conversion.

Social media allows any business the opportunity to turn happy consumers into content evangelists, thus organically growing your search. The cost of purchasing Google Adwords is no small feat when you are offering a product in a highly dense keyword category. If you are a small start-up or mom and pop store, buying keywords is most likely not ranking too high on your marketing budget. Relevant and heavy content is your opportunity to stay afloat. Social media marketing provides numerous opportunities for small businesses to upload heavy and relevant content through their blogs, fan pages, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, and ultimately get their pages ranked with Google.

Always make it a part of your strategy to encourage online reviews. Offer thank you gift cards to consumers who have shared their positive experience and essentially “endorsed” your business. Acknowledgment goes a long way. Be sure to acknowledge their favorable review with a very public “thank you – working with you was a pleasure” sort of feedback.

Driving the surge in social media is word of mouth advertising aka – trust.

The value of trust between friends and colleagues is paramount when consumers are making purchasing decisions. It is exactly this sentiment that drives word-of-mouth advertising, and now social media. Understanding this, full disclosure is vital when conducting business online.

If you are open for business, consumers are already talking about you.

Consumers use social web so they can talk with each other about organizations in which they have conducted business. Consumers can share information about their personal experiences and their feelings about the products and services they received. Some business owners might answer, “Well I am not ready for my customers to talk about me or my place of business in an open forum”. If you are not participating in the conversation, you are implying that you endorse what is being said . . . good or bad!

Don’t fall downstream by failing to get on the social media wagon!

Advertising was once a means for consumers to learn about new products and services. Today, advertising is merely a start into the process of learning about products and services that consumers may want or need. Nobody sets out to make poor decisions when it comes to making a purchase. Rightly or wrongly, people use the internet to make informed decisions. If you are a business owner and you wish to be seen and heard, social media is a must. Rather than ask why should you care about social media . . . you should be asking how soon can I get started?