In Southwest Florida, there is no shortage of small businesses. Matter of fact, according to the US Small Business Administration, 99% of all companies in Florida are small businesses. That means fierce competition, especially in the services and restaurant industries. So how can a small business in a pond full of small business stand out? Simple, leverage social media.

The use of social media and the time that consumers spend on it, most likely will only grow, not decline. For many social media has become a primary resource for brand and product information. Around 60% of people follow businesses they have purchased from, and over half believe that those companies who engage customers through social media provide better products and services.

As an example, let’s look at some numbers for Instagram. A staggering 68% of users engage with brands regularly. As a platform, it is unrivaled. Approximately half of all Instagram users follow a business. Over 60% state they have learned more about a product or service from the platform. Even better, 75% have taken action based on a post they saw.

Social media offers small businesses one of the most cost-effective ways to not only retain customers but also expand their reach. The one issue many companies, especially smaller ones, is time. Most small business owners have to focus all of their time on growing and maintaining the business. They do not have a full-time marketing person, much less a social media manager. Many often have to do it themselves, which usually results in inconsistent posting, which lowers engagement.

Finding a company that can help you manage your social channels and help you maintain consistency can have a significant impact on sales, for small costs. The goal is to increase your engagement through social media and grow your customer base. Having content that engages people is also critical and often time-consuming. To do all of this effectively, you will need a plan. Once you have the plan, execution becomes vital to the overall success. The good news is that none of this should be overly expensive. Finding the right partner is essential, also be cautious of companies offering “Amazing Results” and amazingly high prices. Building out your social media can take time, but if done right and organically, it can be beneficial.