It’s no secret that social media has changed our cultural landscape. Since the early 2000’s, it’s not only been altering the way we interact with each other or how we share and find news but also how we do business.
According to the PEW Research Center, two-thirds of American adults are on Facebook alone, while nearly a third are on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or Pinterest, too. It is no surprise then that 95 percent of the U.S. population over 18 at least occasionally searches for local businesses online, and 48 percent have interacted with a business on their social media. So when used correctly, social media presents a cost-effective tool for businesses of all sizes to market to a large pool of existing or potential customers, as well as providing a way to connect and engage with their communities in a meaningful manner. And platforms are making it easier and easier for business owners to create, implement and analyze their own social media strategies that can dramatically affect how many people end up walking through their doors or shopping on their online stores.
But it is not just social media content (i.e. posts, tweets, etc.) that is making an impact on consumers. Review platforms such as Yelp, TripAdvisors, Google+ and even Facebook have made it easier for people to get the scoop on businesses from people they trust. In 2016, 50 percent of consumers said they regularly read online reviews for local businesses, while an overwhelming 91 percent reported that they at least read them occasionally. And 74 percent said they were more likely to trust a local business that had good online positive reviews. With that said, when business owners respond to reviews in a respectful way, they can make an even greater impact on both reviewers and potential customers.