10 Reasons Small Business Shouldn’t Neglect Social Media

It doesn’t matter if you are running a micro enterprise, a small business, or a major company, as a business owner you need to use social media. Failure to do so could be detrimental to your business. Stop making excuses like lack of time or resources. The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. YEC polled its members to ask: What is one risk that small business owners take by not investing in social media for their business? Here’s what they had to say.

1. Losing Credibility

“Should an individual have a LinkedIn page? Social media is the equivalent of LinkedIn for businesses. It builds trust and credibility. In many industries, the first thing people do before making a purchase decision is check a company’s Facebook page and Twitter account. Choosing not to focus on social media risks having your company labeled as a fly-by-night operation.”

Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas

2. Missing Out On Potential Customers

“We’re in an age where every “legit” company should have a strong Facebook page and/or Twitter account with an active follower base. Being present on Facebook and Twitter gives people the opportunity to see what the general public thinks of you and shows potential customers that you are accessible. If you’re missing a social media presence, potential customers may choose the competition over you.”

Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc

3. Letting Your Competitors Take Advantage

“It’s easy for another company to stake out accounts for your identities on various social media sites, making it much tougher for you to protect your brand. In a way, opting out of social media is like letting your competitors answer the phone for your company: they’ll be able to talk to the people who were originally looking for you.”

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

4, Losing A Competitive Edge

“Even if you’re not actively engaging in social media on a regular basis, you should at least be listening. Listen in for potential customer service issues and general opportunities, and listen to conversations about competitors to get a better idea around what people like and dislike about others in your industry. This will help you get a competitive edge. If you don’t, chances are they will.”

Allie Siarto, Fare Oak

5. Becoming Obsolete

“Social media isn’t just something to consider — it’s an expectation from your customers. If you do not at least take a little time to give yourself a presence, you will not be heard from online, you will not be able to build customer relationships through this channel, and the opportunities will go to your competitors.”

Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee

6. Missing Competitive Intelligence

“It is more than likely that at least some of your competitors are using social media, regardless of your presence or ongoing investment. Your absence means that you miss key information on everything from how they relate to their key demographics to what they celebrate in their cultures. A lack of awareness of your competition is dangerous ground.”

Emily Holdman, PeopleKit

7. Losing Your Customers’ Attention

“You risk losing your customers’ attention. Your clients are pulled in many different directions, and if you don’t invest in building relationships with them — including via social media — you risk having your customers forget about you.”

Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors

8. Ruining Your Reputation

“By not investing in social media, you risk ruining your reputation as a customer-friendly business. Whether you participate or not, your customers will post on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc. You can either join the conversation and show you care or not join, which shows you don’t care. Why risk the reputation that you don’t care about your customers?”

Dave Kerpen, Likeable Local and Likeable Media

9. Not Hearing Your Customers

“The biggest risk is not having communication channels that allow you to listen to users. If I didn’t invest in social media, we’d be spitting stuff out but have no idea what people were thinking about us. It’s unlikely that anyone would let us know via email, but on social channels, we hear and can respond almost instantly. Listening on social media helps steer us in the right direction.”

Jim Belosic, Pancakes Laboratories/ShortStack

10. Missing Out On Growth Opportunities

“Without a social media presence, small business owners are reliant on word-of-mouth marketing and will grow much more slowly starting from a small, loyal and often local customer base. This especially inhibits international growth. Oh, and your competitors won’t have this problem, so you’re losing out.”

Christopher Pruijsen, Sterio.me