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Taking Advantage of Social Media: For the 21st Century Small-business Owner

Have you ever asked Google search bar how do I market my business? You’re not alone. And let me tell you, you no longer need to ask Google. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more, are all at your fingertips.

In an age where inter-state and global connectivity is central to business growth and development, marketing through social media is the move of the decade for businesses-- big or small. This strategy has proven to especially benefit small businesses, given its low cost. To the female entrepreneur who hasn’t yet thought about this, think about it now.

Let’s take a simple case study: Michelle Phan, YouTube beauty guru turned big-business fashion success story, built an empire over the “social media buzz.”[1] She is amongst the top five paid YouTubers in the world, and her beauty enterprise, Ipsy, is valued at $500 million.[2] How did a 19-yr old become the model woman for entrepreneurs looking to optimize social media to generate revenue and grow their businesses?

Harnessing the power of a 7 million plus YouTube following, Phan engages fans on every possibly social media platform, which keeps her fans loyal and interested. This helped to land partnerships with top players in the beauty industry. Hundreds of YouTubers like Phan (Lilly Singh, Roman Atwood, and Lindsey Sterling) have taken advantage of their loyal internet fans to ignite a following for their personal ventures. Small businesses looking to gain traction would benefit from following suit.

The facts only help our make our case: more than 60% of shoppers start online [3] when searching for an item they intend to purchase. 70% of small businesses see positive returns on investment from social media efforts[4] within five years. And women business-owners would be excited to know that 80% of consumer purchases are made by women.[5

What makes social media marketing especially key, is its ability to connect a business owner with her customer base. “Gramming” her latest product, tweeting a new “Buy 1 – get one 50% off” deal, or sharing the process of product creation through a Facebook Live stream has the potential to grow her base from 100 to 100,000! Actively utilizing social media gives an owner full and free access to her competitor’s game plan through their chosen marketing platforms. Tracking numbers of followers and mentions monthly allows a business owner to see the direct impact of her efforts. Further, keeping tabs on “sentiment,” or social media’s feelings about a business, by searching for keywords that highlight positive or negative opinions serves to improve strategies. [6]

Further still, it is critical that women business owners take advantage of the other side of the coin: accessing information, capital, and online training tools. Facebook and the NWBC are just two organizations that have made efforts to synthesize and encourage these resources in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. A month ago, we saw Mark Zuckerberg sit down with President Obama at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and discuss workshops[7]  that Facebook runs worldwide. The initiative is called FbStart, a user-friendly program designed to assist early-stage startups with web and app development, harnessing the power of social media and global connectivity.

Just a few weeks ago, the Council released Grow Her Business, a comprehensive resource platform with online tools considered “best-in-class” for women small business owners and entrepreneurs. The site is relevant to a variety of women-owned businesses including those just starting off, and those hoping to scale-up. Of the 196 fully coded resources on this platform, the primary content for 50 percent is accessed in-person, with at least one resource in every state. The other 50 percent of these resources have some or all online content.

Harnessing the exponential power of the Internet and its social atmosphere is a bigger and better way to multiply marketing efforts and raise funds -- and in some ways, is now the ONLY way. Don’t miss out on this critical opportunity, make the move to an online business presence!

 

Author: Kamya Arora is currently a Summer 2016 Research Fellow at the National Women’s Business Council, and is a rising junior at Barnard College of Columbia University.

[1] Michelle Phan: From YouTube Star to Entrepreneur." Fortune. N.p., 15 Aug. 2015. Web. 08 Aug. 2016.

[2] Michelle Phan: From YouTube Star to Entrepreneur." Fortune. N.p., 15 Aug. 2015. Web. 08 Aug. 2016.

[3] "Marketing Statistics, Trends & Data - The Ultimate List of Marketing Stats."Marketing Statistics, Trends & Data - The Ultimate List of Marketing Stats. Hubspot, n.d. Web. 20 July 2016.

[4] “The Ultimate 40-Point Checklist for Smarter Content Marketing Strategy (Infographic).” Medium. N.p., 28 June 2016. Web. 08 July 2016.

[5] "MARKETING TO WOMEN QUICK FACTS." She-conomy. N.p., 07 May 2008. Web. 21 July 2016.

[6] "Social Media For Small Business: How It's Different From How Big Brands Do It." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 18 July 2016.

[7] “Remarks by the President at Global Entrepreneurship Summit and Conversation with Mark Zuckerberg and Entrepreneurs.” The White House. The White House, 25 June 2016. Web. 08 July 2016.

 

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