We’re not telling you anything you don’t already know: Social media has taken the world by storm. The rise of online social interactions is one of the biggest developments in the last decade.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – there seem to be new options popping up all the time.

Depending on your personal preferences,  these sites can be a lot of fun from a personal standpoint. But – without question – they are extremely valuable from a marketing standpoint, especially for small businesses.

So, is your small business social yet?

If not, here are 9 reasons the success of your business relies on getting with the social program.

  • Your customers (and future customers) are using social media.

This is obviously the most important reason. According to Pew Internet, 74% of Internet users use social media websites. This staggering number is only going to grow. So if you want to engage people, you need to know where they are; and this is it.

  • They know if you aren’t (and they care.)

It’s become the status quo. If a prospective customer goes to your website and can’t find a link to your social profiles, they form an opinion – and this isn’t one of those, “any opinion is better than no opinion” situations. Consumers, especially yours, expect to be able to engage with you socially. If they can’t, they will probably find someone else who is more “with the times.”

  • It’s ridiculously simple.

You can create a profile on most social media sites in just a few moments. It’s usually free to set up a business page, and you can include information about store hours and a profile picture that can be your logo or a photo of your shop.

  • Managing it doesn’t have to be time consuming.

Of course, the more effort you put into it the more success you will have with social media outreach and marketing, but you don’t have to invest hours every day to maintain a social media presence. At the end of the day, even just making a profile and logging in every once in awhile to engage with people or update your page with a  special promotion can make a big difference.

  • Viral marketing is huge.

Want to reach many people quickly? Social media is the answer. Create a useful, engaging post and share it with your followers. Don’t have a useful, engaging idea? Share someone else’s, prefaced with your own thought. You may be surprised by how quickly it is shared, and how much traffic that can generate for your own page.

  • There are options.

Okay, you’ve tried Twitter and hate it — so what? Instagram may be more your thing. Each of the major networks offer different features and levels of involvement, so if one isn’t working out for you, it’s worth trying another option.

  • You can advertise.

Yes, the big draw is the social shareability, but you can also purchase advertising directly on the social networks too. This can be a great way to get a quick start on your social media experience. If you are blogging, promote your posts and see how they do. If your audience is local, you can target ads specifically to people in your area. Social advertising can be tailored to your budget, so it’s worth trying out at least a few times.

  • Social media teaches you about your audience.

Social engagement gives you the opportunity to interact with your audience and get to know them in a way that you otherwise could not. While you are learning about them, offer them the ability to learn about you – not just your business. Personalizing customer relationships is one of the best ways to generate new and repeat business.

  • It’s Fun

At the end of the day, social media is fun. Unlike other forms of marketing, you will likely enjoy the time you spend on your social media marketing adventures. And, if it isn’t fun, read the list again and try something new, because you’re probably doing it wrong.

If you have any questions about how getting active on social media will affect your online payments processing, Best Rate Merchant Service would love to hear from you. Give us a call or contact us online and we can help you understand the process.