Social media as we know it got its start in the early 2000s. Sites like Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube came out at that time, and they’ve grown like wildfire ever since. It’s estimated that there were 2.77 billion social media users around the globe in 2017. Many dismissed social media as a fad, but the past decade and multibillion-dollar valuations for companies like Facebook have silenced any naysayers.
To drive the point home even further, it’s estimated that there were 80 million SMB Facebook pages as of 2018. To put that in perspective, there were only 1,128,112 retail establishments in the United States as of the last census taken in 2007. I think it’s safe to say that social media isn’t a passing fad and that investing in a business page, retail or otherwise, is a rule rather than an exception.
As a retailer, you know how important it is to connect and build relationships with your customers. From the niche boutique hosting an invite-only wine tasting to merchandisers running loyalty programs, customer loyalty, brand affinity and repeat business is essential for growth. With retail facing uncertain times, social media can provide a competitive advantage for retailers being forced to compete against e-commerce behemoths like Amazon, eBay and Walmart by focusing on the very things that set them apart: locality, independence and their small size. Let’s dive into the five advantages that small retailers have when it comes to using social media.
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