Bay Area Social Media Opportunities for Local Businesses
Almost 68% of people who live in Walnut Creek work for privately owned companies, and of those companies, more than 30% are considered small to medium sized locally owned businesses. On average, only 18% of small businesses are using social media as a marketing tool to reach out and engage with current and potential customers. A recent survey revealed that more than 60% of business owners don’t think investing in a social media marketing strategy will benefit their brand or financial success.
Business owners disregarding social media as a waste of time will continue to alienate potential customers and slowly lose current customers. Even your loyal customers will gravitate toward similar (and competitive) local businesses that are actively engaging with the community online and creating brand recognition that digital consumers recognize and trust.
Digital media is how most consumers are attaining information. Bay Area social media has outgrown the days where social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube simply helped people keep in touch with college friends and share baby pictures.
Why are Bay Area social media marketing strategies such a vital vehicle to engage with customers? There are more than 325 million mobile devices in the United States alone. Consumers use their phones to find the best deals on products and services close to them. Cars even have built-in technology that tells the driver where the cheapest gas station is within a 5-mile radius. Consumers can literally ask their mobile phone questions about where to eat if they’re looking for a restaurant close by. The voice on the other end, commonly known as “Siri”, quickly searches the web and provides a list of the closest sushi restaurants or what Mexican restaurants are still serving happy hour prices.
If you aren’t implementing an Internet strategy, you aren’t coming up in these searches and you’re losing a lot of customers simply because they don’t know you’re there. Mobile devices graduated from simple communication conveniences to human appendages. This wasn’t a slow evolution, we blinked and the digital age surrounded us… America’s primary source for information and sometimes even an addiction. If your advertising efforts with print coupons, mailers, magazines, or newspapers does not include online placement of those coupons you are wasting valuable time and money.
The same survey, sponsored by Network Solutions, provided the below feedback from the 18% of small business actively using social media to engage with consumers and increase brand awareness. Here are some stats about what social media can do for Bay Area businesses, especially if you have competition you’re losing business to.
70% indicated that their social media presence met or exceeded their expectations
61% stated that social media brought them new customers
52% found it developed a higher awareness for their organization with their target market
46% stated that it helped them stay engaged with current customers
Only 6% reported that negative comments by dissatisfied customers hurt the image of their company more than social media helped it (Keep your eye out for our next blog that will discuss reputation management and why monitoring your online brand is so vital – regardless of your hesitation to actively push your business online, you are likely still being mentioned in reviews and rankings.)
50% found that it takes up more time than they expected
75% reported that they broke even or made money using social media, in spite of the time required to actively participate
84% believe that they anticipate that they will either break even or make money with social media within the next year