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Social Media Stats Every Local Business Should Know (and What to Do About Them)

Getting started on social media can be daunting for a local business. You’ll have plenty of questions about it: are my customers using social media? How much does it cost? Is it even worth it?

Here we share five social media statistics every local business should know, and how you can use them to your advantage.

1) 9 out of 10 businesses say the biggest benefit of using social media is increased exposure (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

Social media is very similar to word-of-mouth marketing, just on a much bigger scale. The huge numbers of people who use social media mean using it to market your business will increase exposure for your business, encouraging more people to talk about you and visit your website or shop.

The important thing is to make sure you give people something to be interested in. With so much choice of who to ‘follow’ on social media, if you don’t give people interesting, relevant and helpful updates you won’t find you gain much exposure. Put your customer first and think about what they need from you (not just what you want to tell them).

For example, if you’re a local restaurant you might use social media to share discounts and promotions. But your audience would also appreciate – and might need – culinary expertise, so you could also use it to share recipes, cooking tips and helpful hints which will encourage people to keep following.

2) Nearly half of companies using social media don’t have a plan for it (Socialee Media, 2015)

Lots of businesses who use social media often start using it without really thinking about what they want to achieve. But just like any marketing technique, it’s essential you have a clear objective and marketing plan for social media – otherwise, you won’t have anything to aim for.

For example, if your objective for social media is to develop better relationships with existing customers, you might focus on sharing useful information to show your expertise, or featuring testimonials of happy customers. If your objective is to attract a whole new audience, you might start by offering incentives like discount codes for new social media followers.

By understanding why you’re using social media, you’re much more likely to use it effectively.

3) More than three-quarters of B2B businesses can only show return on investment for social media marketing some of the time (or never at all) (Marketing Donut, 2015)

One of the biggest challenges with social media is the difficulty in proving the return on investment of time and money. Many businesses don’t track if what they’re doing has any impact, or don’t know how to link social media marketing with sales.

Being able to track whether what you’re doing on social media is having an impact on your bottom line is very important. You can use a mix of techniques, including Google Analytics, landing pages, social media management and much more. Some of the biggest social media channels, like Twitter and Facebook, also have built-in measurement tools which are very useful. Doing this will help you see what you’re doing well – and what you’re not.

4) People over 65 use social media, as do people of all ages (Pew Research Centre, 2015)

A common misconception is that it’s only people of certain ages or backgrounds that use social media. However, as social media becomes increasingly popular and talked-about, and internet access is improved through smartphones, more people than ever use a range of social channels.

This means that assuming your customers don’t use social media could be a costly mistake. Think about asking them through a survey or quick phone call, and search on social media to see what people are talking about to understand whether those who use the channels are interested in businesses like yours.

5) Over 80% of people on Twitter listen to friends’ recommendations (Twitter, 2015)

The key word in social media is “social”. Just like word-of-mouth marketing, a good reputation on social media will result in more people knowing about you and recommending your local business. This research by Twitter in 2015 suggests a high number of people take recommendations very seriously.

This doesn’t mean you have to join Twitter. But it does mean you should know how important recommendations are for people using social media, and make sure you present yourself in a way which is positive, customer-focused and helpful to ensure you maintain a good reputation. This includes responding to feedback, positive and negative, professionally and swiftly – don’t forget, lots of people are listening.

If you’re not already using social media to market your business, it’s time to have a think about it. Statistics like this show just how important it is in people’s lives, and it’s likely to become even bigger in the future. By taking part in social media now, you can start talking to people in a genuine, friendly way and build up a bigger customer base than ever before.

To help you get started on Facebook, the world’s favourite social media network, download our step-by-step guide.

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