Small businesses are still struggling to get to grips with the best marketing methods on social media, according to the latest 2016 State of Small Business Report.
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The report, which is analyzed by Brian Sutter over at Forbes, found that one in five smaller businesses don't even use social media for marketing at all. And out of those that do, 45 percent use social media to promote products or services, while 38 percent use such sites to share information about discounts, promotions and sales. Another 38 percent simply try to gain likes and fans, Sutter claims.
But Sutter says social media is not the best place for promoting your products, such as your newest listings for example. Instead, experts argue that social media is best utilized as a platform to build relationships with prospective clients and other professionals.
“People are being sold on social as a place to generate leads, but it’s really a place to build loyalty, answer customer service questions and to build a community,” said Ted Rubin, a social media strategist.
It could be a mistake if you just use social media to scoop up fans and likes, Forbes notes. Thanks to Facebook's constantly changing algorithms, it's believed that less than three percent of your fans will actually see any posts you make in their news feeds. As a result, it's better to collect email addresses instead of fans or likes. That way, you can use email marketing tactics to communicate directly with your chosen audience, instead of just trying to raise your voice above the crowd on social media.
In his article, Sutter goes on to stress how important it is for small businesses to use their websites for marketing. The report shows just 25 percent of businesses actually attempt search engine optimization (SEO) to increase the visibility of their websites, and many more are guilty of not displaying company information such as their location, phone number and email address, clearly.