The uptake of small businesses trading entirely via social media platforms is on the rise, leading some to believe the traditional website is becoming a thing of the past. With interactive sites replaced by landing pages and social networking becoming a primary way to reach customers, how can small businesses embrace newer technologies and utilise them effectively?
Social Media Frenzy
A business is measured and rated by customers on a variety of different aspects, however one that seems to be having more of an influence than ever before is an online presence. Being active online not just through detailed websites but also through other mediums, such as social networking, is quickly becoming a tell-tale sign of a company’s attitude to contemporary mediums and their willingness to reach consumers in an entirely new way.
Although the power of a company website, with all information on the business and its products available at the click of a button, is substantial, many smaller businesses are cutting costs and maximising outreach by working entirely through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The reach of these platforms is endless, with millions of users worldwide who can become potential customers, but how can small businesses be sure they are investing the right amount of time and money on social media to make it favourable to a full website?
Cost Effective & CMS
The main draw of social media based commerce is the price. A large percentage of social media sites do not require payment to join, allowing companies to create a page on which their products and services can be seen and the customer has an interactive area through which to comment and speak directly with the brand. Customers are encouraged by the social setting and many companies find themselves being ‘liked’ and ‘favourited’ via customer posts, for example reviewing and sharing photos of products.
For e-commerce businesses, transitioning from a traditional website to trading via social media can be a difficult change. Having said that, there are various content management systems (CMS), such as Hootsuite and WordPress with vastly reduced prices, which can not only help you manage the trade side of your business but allow you to schedule social media updates on various platforms all from one place, making the process simpler and allowing for better control of the brand message over multiple networks.
Does it Work?
Every business is different and some companies just will not work entirely through social media, however that does not mean it should be ignored completely. Businesses who do not consider having at least part of their business available via Facebook, Twitter and the like will find themselves alienating a large part of the consumer group who conduct their lives mainly on these platforms. There are some people who prefer researching businesses through websites and may perhaps consider companies who do not have a dedicated site to be less established somehow, however a company who does now allow itself to reach everyone may miss out on key parts of their demographic.
The Guardian recently spoke to recruitment advertising agency andSoMe who now rely entirely on Facebook and Twitter to conduct their business. They wanted to make a statement about their company and the dedicated switch they have made from print to digital advertising, and have found that the cost-effective nature of the shift also comes in line with the massive rise in job searches made via social media networks. The recruitment industry is certainly working this technology into its routine, with low cost online recruitment agencies allowing their savings to be passed successfully on to their clients, but whether it can be implemented through any industry remains to be seen.
Small business recruitment may well have just got a whole lot bigger – thanks to social media!
"many smaller businesses are cutting costs and maximising outreach by working entirely through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram"