That is a question I get asked a lot, and it’s understandable that small businesses are doubting social media when in almost every industry, highly competitive or not, there are always going to be big players with seemingly endless budgets who are seen as impossible to rival when it comes to fighting for your audience’s attentions.

But the truth is, no matter how large or small your company or your marketing budget, social media is an important and valuable tool for reaching your audience. Here are just some of the main reasons why:

Your Customers Are On There

Current customers, potential new leads, ones who slipped the net, they are all on there, no matter what your industry. Everyone spends increasingly more time on social media every day for the pure enjoyment of it, people are even accused of being addicted! So if people are spending every possible free minute on there, why would getting your company’s name viewed by millions of people on their on a daily basis be a bad thing?

Keep Up With Competitors

The likelihood is, some, if not all of your competitors will be on social media already, so you need to level the playing field by getting on there too. And if they aren’t on there? That doesn’t mean there’s nothing for you on their either, it just means you can gain a huge competitive advantage by tapping into a fresh new audience.

Have Meaningful Conversations and Interactions

Traditional marketing methods are often one-way conversations. For example, you send out an email and the only response from your audience that you can gauge is the number of click-throughs. Social media allows you to get much more personal than that, which is one of the main reasons it has become so popular.

You can send out your marketing message in the form of statuses, pictures, videos, blog posts, etc. and your audience can actively interact with your company and those messages, giving valuable feedback in the form of likes, retweets, comments, shares and more.  It adds a personal touch to marketing your company and builds a sense of equality and community between you and your customers.

It’s the New Customer Service

No-one waits for hours on hold to call centres or waits days for a reply to a customer service email anymore. The new, fast and effective way to get your query addressed is by going directly through the brand’s social media. Customers much prefer to ask questions, make complaints and even give positive feedback through social media, as the public nature of the post means the brand needs to reply efficiently if they don’t want to hurt their reputation.

You may be thinking that doesn’t sound like a good reason to be on social media, but it actually is! When you consider the impact a demonstration of great customer service skills have when you are considering re-using a company’s services or purchasing a product from them, it makes sense. Good customer service is an attractive feature when it comes to building customer loyalty, so a public demonstration of how your company turned a negative experience into something positive helps build trust in your company and their products/services.

There are plenty more reasons why social media is important for small businesses, the list is endless! But the above are just a few of the key reasons why social media should be entertained as a marketing tool. Are you a small business? What made you join social media and what do you get out of it? Share your thoughts with us via Twitter, @silverbean, or comment below!