Why is that question – how many people use social media in the UK – an important one? Well, when you know that in January 2017 the number of active social media users in the UK was 42 million, or 64% of the population, as a small business owner, in fact any business owner, that’s a figure you can’t afford to ignore.

Social media has taken the world by storm. And, it’s taken the business world by storm too. No longer just a downtime social activity, it’s an online conversation which SME’s need to be a part of if they want to help their businesses grow.

It is the ‘World of Mouth’.

Looking at how many people use social media in the UK should give you some clue as to the importance of making sure your business is visible on social networks.

Whether it’s gaining more followers or increasing customer engagement, small businesses around the world are discovering that social media has the ability to contribute to success and growth.

Think of it as yet another platform to let people know about you.

Know, Like, & Trust – The 3 Keys To Succeeding At Social Media

Three words that are key to securing your success on social media: know, like, & trust.

Social media isn’t about the hard sell. It’s about building relationships with people. It’s a platform for engaging with your prospects and customers which breaks down the boundaries of traditional company-customer interactions.

You need to get people to know you before they can like you, and they need to know and like you before they trust you. How? You build the relationship by providing value to your followers.

That value can take the form of great content which brightens people’s day, exclusive discounts, expert advice or a myriad of other things. Make it useful and relevant for your audience and your followers will engage with you.

What’s the benefit to your business?

Ultimately, the more connected people feel to your business, the more any barriers to buying from you are removed.

People like to feel secure. Social media enables you to build the rapport and trust which makes people feel that way (in their choice of following you, at least).

So, when it comes to choosing you or a less familiar competitor, it’s likely they’ll choose you.

And if nearly three quarters of the UK population are actively using social media, your business can’t afford not to implement social media as part of it’s digital marketing strategy.

Hopefully, now you understand why asking how many people use social media in the UK, is such an important question…

So now you know it’s important to get your SME on social media.

But how do you do it?

That’s a question we get asked so often at our Birmingham based digital agency.

It’s more than simply signing up to various networks and adding your logo. Claim your space, yes, but if you’re not going to bother with adding content you might as well not bother at all.

It’s important to focus on what you can reasonably manage and do well. We think this from Alex Honeysett’s article on Inc.com sums it up just perfect:

“You don’t need to do it all to do it well.”

Not every social media platform will be right for your target audience. If your brand doesn’t fit with one network don’t be on it just for the sake of it.

As with traditional marketing, it’s important you’re targeting your message in the right place.

If you think a social media network might be a good fit but don’t really have the resource to do it well yet, don’t. Get good at what you are already doing before posting half-thought out content on another channel.

Different social media platforms need different kinds of content. Some content is easily shared “verbatim” across different channels, but some also needs altering to fit the network.

A 1000 word article might be ideal for LinkedIn, but how are you going to translate that to an image-based platform such as Instagram?

Think about and strategise how you will deliver great content that’s of value to your followers on each different social media platform you maintain a presence on.

Like many things that go towards building brand loyalty, quality reigns over quantity.

Social media today has certainly diversified. There are hundreds of networks to choose from but Facebook remains the most popular with a staggering two billion users.

 

Image credit: Techcrunch

For our SME clients, in general we find a good focus consists of:

Blogging
Facebook
YouTube
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram

Of course, as we’ve already said, suitable platforms will vary by business type and where your target customers are. So, do your research. And don’t forget to consider how to market yourself locally on social media. Especially on Google+.

Whilst the search engine giant’s own attempt at a social network may not exactly have hit the heady heights of social media stardom like some of the others, there are some surprising reasons you would still want to use Google+ as part of your social media strategy.

Because it forms part of Google’s overall digital ecosystem, the platform is great for your SEO, since posts and pages even show up in standard search results. Google ranks higher and crawls it’s own network faster that other social networks so content posted here – websites, articles, memes – is more likely to show up in search results than that posted to other networks, which can drive traffic back to your main website.

So, as well as being a social media network, Google+ is a powerful search engine marketing tool for small businesses.

The power of social media for helping small businesses succeed

Hopefully, we’ve given you some valuable insight into how using social media can help you grow your business. We hear time and again from the companies we interact with across the Birmingham region, that the uncertainty over Brexit is currently their main concern.

As part of a coherent digital marketing strategy, social media can help SME’s make the most of Brexit and future-proof their bottom lines by enhancing the way they do things. Social media has great potential to generate new leads, open up new sales opportunities and enhance existing ones.

If you’d like to use it in your business but are unsure where to start, or if you’re already tinkering and want advice on how to make the most of it, our upcoming interactive “Growing Your Business Using Social Media” workshop might be of interest to you.

In it, we’ll show you the latest trends and statistics which are relevant to your business.

We’ll be covering off things like:

1. Making sure your website and social media presence reflects your business.
2. Seeing which social media channels to use to build participation and engagement.
3. Using social media to boost your SEO.
4. The importance of local search, video and mobile in social media.
5. Learning about tools that measure success and monitor social media mentions.
6. Exploring funding options to help you to grow.

It takes place on Friday, 6th October, 9:30am to 12:30pm at Solihull College & University. It’s an event we’re running in partnership with Solihull Chamber for SME’s. If you’re a small business based in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area, it’s FREE to attend.

You just need to register by emailing Anabela from Birmingham Chamber at: A.Ferreira@birmingham-chamber.com

You can also see the full event details on the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership website here.


For enquiries about the workshop or if you’re curious as to how we can help put digital marketing to work for you in any other way, please email Sarah on info@aiminternet.co.uk or call her today on 0870 062 8760.

You may also like to read our previous blog on 5 Social Media Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Business (And What To Do Instead).

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