This article covers quick tips and cost-effective ways for small and medium businesses to grow their business and manage their time and resources more effectively.
While social media provides an even playing field to reach new customers organically, its success will always depend on the marketing strategy applied.
Clearly, larger companies benefit from larger budgets and more resources. But that doesn't mean mall business owners’ social media can't compete with the big companies.
Only half of SMEs use the full potential of social media.
According to a study, Facebook and Instagram are the two main channels used by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to communicate with customers. 98% of respondents say they use Facebook and 82% Instagram to communicate with their customers.
While social media marketing is clearly a priority for small businesses, the research also shows that much of the conversations that SMBs have are one-sided.
Facebook or Instagram not only allows consumers to provide feedback to businesses, but they also encourage it in the form of public comments, direct messages, ratings, and reviews.
However, 51% of respondents in one survey said they don't consider feedback on social media and online reviews important to their business.
Are you surprised by these numbers? I do.
Nearly half of SMBs miss an essential and accessible opportunity to grow their business and develop stronger connections with their customers. That's why we've come up with the following tips for using social media for small businesses.
1. DETERMINE WHICH NETWORKS ARE SUITABLE FOR YOU
Not all social media channels are suitable for your company and the goals you have set.
Almost every business owner has a Facebook page, and that's a great first step in generating an audience. After all, the network is approaching 2.6 billion monthly active users.
Now that Instagram is owned by Facebook, Instagram is the fastest-growing network. Businesses are jumping on Instagram for its visual appeal to a younger audience.
It may sound like a good idea to put your business on every possible network, but it isn't. Sooner or later, you will find that you have spread out too thin. When the quantity increases, the quality usually decreases.
Don't worry about hitting a quota or a certain number of tweets or Facebook posts per week. Instead, do research and go to the social media channel where your audience is to provide their value. More on that later.
2. Take the time to set up your accounts correctly
You'd be surprised how many business pages I come across that don't link to their website or have a broken link to one of their social pages. You want to create a spider web with links from one account to another.
A social media presence is ultimately the front page of your business, so put your best foot forward. Your Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn page is often the first point of a potential customer's entry into your company.
Humanize your business so that customers know they are talking to a real person. You can do that with a spicy bio or authentic content.
3. EVERYTHING STARTS WITH CONSCIOUSNESS - THERE IS NO SHORTER WAY HERE
According to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, it's pretty simple:
"We can't change what we don't know and once we're aware, we can't help but change."
Any successful branding strategy starts with building brand awareness. But it will take a while for your efforts to be worth it.
The good news is that you can instantly increase your reach through social media for small businesses. With the right targeting, you can promote your product or service much faster and cheaper than with any traditional media.
4. SHOW OFF REVIEWS
It is very unlikely that today's customers will buy a product blindly.
Consumers rely heavily on online reviews, which have taken on the same role and meaning as personal recommendations from a friend.
So make sure to show yours.
Sharing positive customer experiences does more than just show that people are satisfied with the product or service you offer. It promotes confidence and a snowball effect.
Reviews and testimonials are powerful assets for your content strategy. Add a reviewer's kind (but honest) words to an image to increase engagement and reach. You will love the traffic, the leads, and the sales this can bring.
5. ADD A CRM TO THE MIX FOR ADDITIONAL PERSONALIZATION
Social CRMs are a concept that has not been around for very long.
Social customer relationship management software combines social data with more traditional CRM items such as email and purchase history to provide a thorough overview of a person's online profile.
This allows you to see your customers' interactions with your business on any channel and gain more insight into who they are.
This also allows you to encourage a customer to buy more products and services.
How? By personalizing the shopping experience with suggestions tailored to the buying behavior of the individual. It shows the customer that you are interested in what they are interested in.
Investing in your relationship with consumers increases the chance that they will continue to invest in your company.
6. LIVE FROM AN SMB NEAR YOU
Live video has been brewing for a while. Facebook Live videos produce six times as many interactions as traditional videos, and 80% of users would rather watch a company's live video than read a blog.
Live video on Facebook or Instagram is unsurpassed in grabbing attention and drawing viewers to your post.
With live video, you can expect, if not appreciate, the raw behind-the-scenes footage of a store owner unwrapping new inventory.
This is the “real you” of your business and offers a real taste of your small business culture on social media. This adds authenticity to your content and helps build that all-important element of trust.
7. BE RESPONSIVE AND INVOLVED:
As you build your business, you want to stay engaged with your audience. Remember, even for small businesses, social media never sleeps..
Consumers prefer to communicate with companies via social media. After all, it's quick and easy.
Especially for SMBs, interacting with your audience is very important because it positions you as a company that cares about your audience and takes the time to at least respond with a like if you can't find more time than that.
Staying accessible will work in your favor. People want to do business with real people, regardless of company size.
Consumers also expect quick responses. Here Facebook is your best friend. The network enables companies to respond to questions on time.
8. DO YOU LISTEN?
Remember that important conversations are always taking place outside your channels.
Listen to your customers because it's all about them.
Social listening is a reliable resource to pick up the most relevant social media chatter about your business and use it to bolster your online presence.
A business starts and ends with customer engagement.
Community involvement provides direction and real-time feedback.
9. KNOW YOUR TARGET GROUP
Understanding the characteristics of your target audience is a must to appeal to them. Creating characters for your customer helps you cut through the noise with content that truly resonates with your audience.
You can create a character for a customer through previous interactions on your channels and social listening.
The task here is to look for trends and general behavior, define and tailor target groups accordingly.
10. FIND INSPIRATION FROM OTHERS IN YOUR INDUSTRY
There's no shame in using winning strategies that have worked for someone else on social media. When you see a great idea that appeals to you, apply it to your channels.
You don't have to be Nike to achieve great success on social media.
I WANT TO CONCLUDE WITH THE LATEST STATISTICS.
In 2008, only 17% of the Dutch population had a profile on social media. In 2019, that number grew to 78%, with nearly all users following at least one company.
Social media is indispensable for your digital strategy. Implementing tactics that keep your marketing interesting and engaging will lead to a positive return on your efforts in the long run.
So think about what makes sense to you and be consistent, test what works, and find out what doesn't.