Brand & Marketing Strategy, Marketing Channels

9 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

Despite changes in how people use Facebook, Twitter & Co. over the past decade, social media has shown it is here to stay. And with it, a lot of significant benefits of social media marketing for small businesses.

Yet many small business owners aren’t tapping into this vast potential, mostly because they’re short on time or money. In 2020, however, the options available on social media are endless (which is probably part of the problem).

But you don’t have to be an Instagram influencer to make it work! With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok and more at your fingertips, it’s worth exploring.

So, if you’re considering using social media, have a look at these 9 benefits of social media marketing and how you can use it to grow your small business and attract more of your ideal clients.

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

Benefit 1: Brand awareness

The biggest of all benefits of social media marketing is exposure. If you enter the stage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms, you can reach out to thousands of new potential customers.

You have the opportunity to explain your brand and attract like-minded people – aka the ideal audience for your small business.

How to get started:

Make sure your profile name, company description (or bio on some channels), your cover photo and profile image reflect your small business brand. Your content should be relevant to your ideal customer. And it doesn’t matter if you share it from third parties or your own blog/website or a mix of both.

For example, if your company promotes a sustainable business practice, make sure your message comes across. If you’re a friendly family business, choose your tone of voice accordingly and post lots of pics from your team at work. The goal is for customers to recognise your brand through visuals and voice, even without your logo.

Find out which types of content to post on social media.

Benefit 2: Research

This is one of the most underrated benefits of social media marketing. When you’ve gathered your target audience around you, you can use it to learn more about your potential customers.

No other marketing platform gives you a faster and more direct response from your ideal clients than social media. You can find out easily what works and what doesn’t, ask them questions and even use your followers for some small-scale market research.

How to get started:

You can add polls or link to surveys on most social media channels, and these can be incredible for engagement. You can also invite your most active followers to a beta test of your newest product and get their feedback.

Additionally, comments, discussions, messages, reviews and even the number of shares on your profile give you an invaluable insight. Use it to further optimise your products, customer service and marketing.

Read more about things you can learn from existing and past customers.

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Benefit 3: Influence

While you’re already listening to what your followers have to say about you and your small business, take part in the conversation! Don’t sit quietly on the sidelines.

People will likely talk about your business on whatever channels they’re using anyway. But with you being present there, you can respond and control what is said about you online. Showing customers that you are active, engaged and up for a conversation is a huge positive. As they say, communication = community.

How to get started:

By monitoring comments, mentions, reviews and messages sent directly to you, you can see what the word is on the streets and reply accordingly. Got a bad review? Make sure to publicly respond to it as quickly as possible. This way you can steer the complaint into shallow waters before it turns into a full-blown viral campaign.

You should also use people’s reaction to your small business to improve your products and services. And if you get really good feedback, spread the word, share and let even more people know about your business.

Here’s how to best respond to negative reviews.

Benefit 4: Customer service

That brings us directly to another one of the main benefits of social media marketing: It’s ideal for your customer service! Never has solving problems, answering questions and increasing customer loyalty with excellent service been easier than now.

Additionally, it increases repeat business from your happy customers and the chance that they recommend you to their friends and family.

How to get started:

Make sure to be available for your followers by checking for messages or questions on your social media channels regularly. This will enable you to respond quickly to complaints and questions.

Also, deliver a fast, easy and direct service and the customers will eat from the palm of your hand. And, quite possibly, shout about your amazing customer service.

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Benefit 5: Web traffic

Only 20% of your social media content should be promotional in nature (here’s what the other 80% should be). But it’s more than enough to help you drive traffic to your website, webshop, blog or newsletter sign-up.

And that, in turn, should give your organic search traffic a boost as well.

How to get started:

The possibilities are endless: Share your blog posts, link to your clients’ or customers’ testimonials, invite people to check out a landing page for your newest offers and specials. Offer your followers an exclusive peek at your newest release or the opportunity to pre-order.

Invite them to events, ask them to take part in a survey on your website or in a discussion that’s evolving around your latest blog attribution. Make sure that they can explore your web presence from there by internally linking to your product pages, about page and your other social media channels.

Benefit 6: Leads

Another big one of the many benefits of social media marketing is growth. Being able to reach out to so many people gives you the opportunity to generate new leads for your business.

Social media, when done properly, is like a virtual word-of-mouth system. People that follow and enjoy your content will share this with like-minded friends. They, in turn, will like it and share with their friends and so on.

They trust their friend’s recommendation more than any advertising in the world, so this is the perfect way to grow your small business and reach out to larger audiences.

How to get started:

As mentioned above, your followers can share everything you post, so your content should be interesting and engaging according to your brand and social media strategy.

Make it worth sharing and recommending! If your organic reach is not good enough, you can invest some money to boost your page or single posts to get in front of new people. And from there it is easy to convert them into leads with your promotional posts (see number 5).

Read more about how to turn your social media followers into paying customers.

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Benefit 7: SEO

Social media activities are very likely to lead to an improved ranking of your website in online searches. And that means that even more people are finding your website, products, offers and blog on Google and Bing.

Also, to find not only your website in the search results but also your social media presence gives them even more opportunities to learn more about your business.

How to get started:

The engagement of followers on your social media channels as well as the increased traffic through your promotional content improves your reputation with Google.

Also, when people share your blog post or link to your latest offer, it creates another boost for your page rank. The same applies to comments on your blog posts and your content going viral for example.

Benefit 8: Data

Another underdog among the many benefits of social media marketing! It might not always be possible to see exactly which lead or new customer has come to you through Facebook or LinkedIn (although you can always ask).

But as explained above, you can gather a lot of data about your followers, your content’s success as well as reactions to your promotions. This information can be very helpful for your future marketing planning.

How to get started:

You can always check how much of your website’s traffic came from your social media channels with the help of Google Analytics. But most platforms have their own analytics that show you the extent of engagement from your followers.

And much more: Often you can get insights about your followers’ gender, age, location, the time they’re online for example. This can help you improve your social media efforts going forward.

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

Benefit 9: Low cost

In comparison to conventional marketing channels, one of the benefits of social media marketing is that it’s cheap. Posting content on Facebook and sharing your offers on Twitter can save you lots of money otherwise spent on expensive print advertising or marketing material.

All you have to invest to get started is your time and brainpower. And even if you get a social media marketer to help you, it’ll still give you a better return than any cold calling campaign ever will.

How to get started:

Your profiles can be set up for free and you basically only pay for additional advertising if you want to boost your page or specific posts.

The brilliant thing about Facebook and Instagram advertising is that you can control what you pay even after the ad goes out. Set up an ad to run for two weeks, and after three days find it’s not doing well? Hit pause and edit the ad!

Or, if you change your mind, turn it off completely! You will then only be charged for the three days (or however long) it ran. So unlike a radio ad, leaflets or a billboard, your money isn’t gone the moment the campaign goes live.

Of course, you’ll have to create and curate content for your posts and blog, your cover photo might need some custom-made design and sometimes you have to pay for a good management and scheduling tool.

But that’s nothing in comparison to the cost of a telemarketing campaign or an advert in a nationally distributed magazine. Often there are free versions of services that you can use to help you with your social media marketing. And there’s nobody keeping you from writing your blog yourself.


If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm as a Small Business Owner
Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Leads
Why You Should Focus on Your Social Media Engagement
How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Social Media Success
Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses

Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.