By Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors   |  March 03, 2022

The advent of social networking has been a game-changer for businesses the world over, with impressive impact. Social networking which is the use of internet-based social media platforms to stay connected with friends, family or peers have gone beyond a ‘social’ tool to an important tool needed for business growth and survival. Put in another way, social networking refers to the way communication is managed with an emphasis on personal and social connections based on and trust. Insights relating to potential customers or clients can be mined from social networking sites which could provide understanding of consumer choices and behaviour too. Some of the dominant social networks include Facebook, Instagram, twitter, LinkedIn. Other content oriented social networks include Youtube, Google+, Pinterest etc.

Small businesses have continued to witness varied changes in different areas as they assume their role in job creation, poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihood. Interestingly, many small and medium-sized enterprises are becoming aware of the crucial role importance of social networking and social networks in the overall operation of their business. Nevertheless, there is a growing concern on the level of awareness especially as it relates to the varied benefits they provide. Small business leaders can grow their businesses by changing how they operate through information they get from social networks. This is made possible as the internet has removed barrier to interacting with different people and generating ideas to solve real business problems.

Social networks have evolved over the years and continue to be important elements in the marketing strategy of small businesses, helping them also in brand positioning. Despite the many advantages of social networking and social networks, many small-sized business owners are hesitant to use the channels for their business operations and promotion. Some SMEs wonder if the effort is worth it. Some of the SMEs say that they are not big firms and as such cannot afford big budgets for social networking.

 The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP) survey reveals interesting data on the level of support the sampled small businesses receive through social networks. The survey highlights the crucial role of social networks in the provision of supports to SMEs. According to the survey, 60% of the respondents reported receiving external support through social networks in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis. There was a significant jump in the figures as only about 13% of the respondents reported receiving external support in the earliest round of the survey.


Here are why SMEs should be on Social Networks

Many small businesses in Nigeria are using social media to experience growth. Foodies and Spices, Tricia Biz and Augustsecrets just to mention a few have all attested to the fact that they have used Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp offerings to connect to target audiences and record successes in marketplaces. Augustsecrets, an award-winning child nutrition brand for instance, has fed over 30,000 children with her products within the first 18 months of operation. Tricia Biz, an online training platform has used Instagram to reach and guide over 130,000 SMEs in increasing their bottom lines in various industries.

Boost your Brand and Sales

According to a survey by Wildfire, 88% of small businesses sampled reported achieving visibility through a clear and useful message to position their businesses in the minds of their consumers. This helped them compete in the market. In most cases, this has resulted to increased sales.

Get Feedbacks and Customer Insights

Feedbacks can easily be gotten from customers through social networks. Social networks also enable SMEs to have a better understanding of customers’ preferences, and this can help in good decision-making. SMEs can also use social networks to engage their customers by seeking their opinions on some business decisions. This allows brands to improve gradually and improve customer experience.

Innovate and develop new products

Small businesses need clear strategy to use social networks to search for target consumers and then engage them to know their needs. These social networks research can be deployed throughout the new product development process to monitor both consumer and market trends and make adjustments to current products. SMEs can also identify new product platforms and either develop or refine new product ideas.

Social media have proven to be an important consideration for small business growth. Small business owners and managers could build strong communities through online platforms. Through insights from audience, tracking of industry trends through the various platforms, SMEs could garner sufficient information that could aid in good decisions for the business. However, SMEs must be deliberate in using these social networks to improve their businesses. Engaging followers online means that there must be relevant contents including photos, videos etc. that are aligned to their interests. Using social networks can help push out more products and attract more patronage for services.