SCORE Small Business Blog

Why Social Media Matters More Than Ever

Are you still feeling tentative about using social media to market your business? A new study by Mass Relevance, reported in ClickZ, shows that more than half (59 percent) of customers prefer to do business with companies that integrate social media into their websites. And in the same study, nearly two-thirds of respondents have made purchases based on content they found on social media.

Here’s some more of what the study found:

  • Social leads to referrals. More than 50 percent of respondents say they are more likely to suggest friends try a product from a company that uses social media.
  • Social gets people talking. 75 percent say they talk about brands on social media. Among younger customers (aged 18 to 34), a whopping 91 percent do so.
  • Social gets people buying. 63 percent say positive comments about a product or company on social media make them more likely to buy.

What’s the takeaway from this survey? Personally, I see a turning point. Today, if your company doesn’t have a website, prospective customers are likely to feel somewhat suspicious. “Is this a REAL business?” they’ll wonder. “Why can’t I find them online?”

In the same way, participation in social media is becoming a marker of a business’s credibility. Just like having a website, it’s rapidly becoming essential—especially among the younger crowd. The 18-to-34-year-olds in the survey are far more likely to value social media involvement, with 67 percent saying they prefer to do business with companies that use social media, compared to 46 percent overall. As this age group is rapidly growing in importance as consumers both today and in the future, you need to think about how they’ll choose companies to do business with going forward.

If you’re already using social media, think about ways you can incorporate it even further into your business’s digital presence. Are you linking to your social sites from your website, your email communications, your newsletters? Are you mentioning them with icons in your print marketing materials and signage?

If you’re not already using social media, please don’t wait another minute. The mentors at SCORE can help you get started and find the social media tools that work best for you. Don’t have a mentor? Visit the SCORE website to find one and get advice 24/7 to grow your business.

Rieva LesonskyCEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. | @rieva | More from Rieva

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Discussion (3) Comment

  1. Great post. Like Danielle said, many businesses are hesitant because social media is something fairly new and there is no good way of measuring your return on investment. These are some very interesting numbers.

  2. MichaelVisitor

    Interesting shift with social going on here. I used to discount products mentioned on social media channels, but now I found myself pitching “Which one should I get?” type questions on FB all the time – and I often go with what my friends answer.

  3. Those are some interesting numbers. I think the reason so many businesses are still hesitant to develop social media strategies is that there just isn’t enough information out there about the ROI sales-wise. That said, as an online marketing specialist, I’ve never really understood how traditional advertisers can really measure the ROI of any given radio or TV ad, either. No matter what channels you market through, you have to be able to build brand awareness before you can expect to make any significant sales. With social media, however, most people aren’t using the platforms with the intention of buying something advertised — they’re there for a social experience. Business owners need to realize social media is 95% about building brand awareness and 5% about increasing sales. Too many people expect direct sales just because they’re using social media, but that’s not what it’s about.


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