If you own a business, you’ve likely asked yourself why social networks are so useful for businesses that sell to consumers.
After all, aren’t they meant for social interactions, rather than sales?
Moreover, if what you sell is to businesses (rather than consumers), why would you ever use social networks for marketing?
The key is in the network.
Sure, social networks are meant for social interactions.
But regardless of whether you sell a product or a service, you’re selling to people.
And if these people happen to congregate on a social network, it would make sense for you to be there.
Before we get too far into it, however, let’s back up a bit.
What Are Social Networks and Why Are They Important?
To clarify, social networks are more than just social media.
When you think of promoting a business, you might immediately think about those annoying ads you constantly scroll past on Facebook.=
Then there are the sponsored posts and messages you’re sent on LinkedIn from people (and companies) you don’t know.
These are social networks, true, but you need to think broader.
There are literally dozens of social networks that exist, each having a specific target audience.
Think about YouTube, Amazon, and Pinterest, for example—all areas where people congregate to be social.
Their importance to you as a business owner is that they often offer a single location where you can connect with others.
Sales begin with making connections.
It’s not just about being on the social network; rather, you have to be active on it.
You need to stand out if people are ever going to notice you.
That’s not to say you should constantly talk about what you sell, or pitch potential customers.
No different than how you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger at the mall and start trying to sell to them.
All sales begin with relationships, so when you are involved in a social network, be social.
By doing so, you’ll start to form relationships, and as people get to know you, they’ll become aware of what you sell.
Example of How to Use Social Networks to Sell
You likely already have a friend who sells real estate and who, amongst various other personal posts on Facebook, shares some pics of a house they’re selling.
Possibly you’re connected with someone who is a hairdresser, and amongst various pictures of family members and dishes, she posts pictures of hairdos she’s recently, cut, coloured, and styled.
Then there’s your personal trainer on Instagram who, amongst posts of their fitness tips and pictures of their family, throws in some pictures of their clients’ progress.
When you become involved on a social network, you have the opportunity to periodically post about what you do, and most importantly, what you sell.
Doing so brings awareness to you and your work, keeping your name top of mind.
So, Why Are Social Networks So Popular?
We’ve always been accustomed to being social and sharing.
The advent of social media like Twitter and Facebook, in conjunction with the continued adoption of the smartphone, has further grown this interest.
Where we might have once taken a picture and placed it in a frame or shared a copy with friends, we can now instantly share it with the world.
As the social networks have developed, they’ve added other means to share, including live video, as well as the ability to cross-post.
As social beings, any means to share information about our daily lives with others will always be popular.
This popularity has created an opportunity for marketers who have a goal of getting in front of their ideal customers or clients.
But Why Are Social Networks So Addictive?
Remember back in high school that friend that was at every party?
They just couldn’t seem to stop socializing.
Those are the very same types of people that have become addicted to social networks.
Unfortunately, the addiction is supported by the ability of virtually all social networks to “notify” you of updates or changes.
If you crave attention and social interaction, the software developers have you covered.
So, in truth, social networks aren’t addictive for everyone.
However, they are addictive to some.
As marketers, we can use those who have addictive tendencies as our referral sources.
If we share information they enjoy, they’ll be sure to share it with others.
Alternatively, if they purchase our product or services, they’ll tell their network about it.
Plug into those who can’t stop using social networks, and you’ll amplify your message with little to no effort (or cost)!
The fact that using social networks can be addictive for some is one of many reasons why social networks are so useful for businesses that sell to consumers.
Let’s explore how to use some of those networks for marketing your small business.
Why Social Media Is Important for Business Marketing
If you are a marketer, or own a business of any kind, you can likely recognize the opportunity social networks offer.
From sharing posts on common platforms that are of interest to your target audience, to purchasing ads that attract the masses, social media is an important tool for business marketing.
There are six reasons why you should be using social media to market your products or services:
Social media offers you the opportunity to increase the awareness about what you do, and the value you offer.
If you move beyond posting into commenting and responding to others’ posts, you can actually use social media to engage with your customers. Consider it a gateway to customer dialogue.
Having a large following on social media provides authority. A huge number of Facebook likes, for example, can convince others that what you offer is valuable.
Being active on social media and giving a voice to your product or service can build authenticity. It allows your customers to learn about you, your product, or your service.
Most social media platforms are free to participate in. For that reason, they can make marketing very affordable.
It’s easy through social media to give the impression that you are everywhere. Never has there been a means to get in front of so many people, with so little effort.
Let’s look at some examples of why are social networks are so useful for businesses that sell to consumers.
Examples of Networks and How They Are Used
There are literally hundreds of social networks.
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook offer a chance to easily get in front of your ideal customers, whereas some social networks like Amazon are a selling platform in and of themselves.
Here is a list of some of the more common social networks used by marketers:
Amazon: An ecommerce platform allowing you to promote, sell, and distribute products.
Facebook Marketplace: An ecommerce platform allowing you to promote, sell, and distribute products.
Instagram: A social media platform allowing you to share pictures and videos (including live video).
LinkedIn: A professional network offering the ability to network, share, and connect with others.
Facebook: A personal network offering the ability to network, share, and connect with others.
Pinterest: A social media platform that is based on sharing images.
YouTube: A social media platform that is based on sharing videos.
There are dozens of others I could mention, but for the purposes of marketing, these are the platforms I’ve found are the best places to get started.
If you agree you need to be where your customers are, then social networks are a great opportunity to be recognized.
Where to Get Started
With all of the options and opportunities social networks can offer, where should you begin?
It all starts with being clear on where your ideal customers or clients are.
If you’re a lawyer, for example, being active on LinkedIn makes sense; Pinterest, not so much.
Selling a book? Amazon is a great platform to use; however, Facebook Marketplace likely isn’t.
Identify who your ideal customers are, and where they spend their time online.
With this in hand, you’ll be well positioned to identify which social network is right for you.
© Shawn Casemore 2021. All Rights Reserved.