Is your business able to compete on the market without having established its presence on social media?
Answering “yes” couldn’t be farther from the truth.
With the ever-increasing impact of technology on our daily lives, it is no surprise that, in 2017, 90 percent of U.S. businesses were using social media for marketing purposes.
If you don’t consider engaging with your customers over social media, your competitors will beat you to it.
You might be wondering: why is there so much hype around social media marketing?
Is social media important for small businesses?
Do you have a personal social media account? If your answer is yes, you probably know where this is going.
Many people you follow have either transformed their personal account to showcase their own business or created an extra account to promote their business on the same platform.
The same can be applied to having a social media account for your business. You either actively or passively create a flow of information about your business which, if done correctly, reaches your customers and over time leads to increased sales.
You can use social media to:
- Increase awareness of your product
- Encourage engagement from customers
- Provide customer service support
- Create a competitive edge
To give you an idea, over half of the world’s population is online since 2018, and according to the latest statistics, nearly 250 million users joined the web in 2017 for the first time.
That’s a huge customer pool for you to target.
Your potential buyers nowadays look for both entertainment and substance online and social media is where one can seemingly get it all.
So why put it off?
It’s time to go social.
Strategies to take your small business social
You might be thinking to yourself, “Where do I begin?” or something along the lines of “Is it really worth my time and effort?”.
To get you on the right track, try and learn a few things first about how the game of social media is played nowadays. This will help you realize the benefits.
Here are a few strategies to help you get started:
Bonus: Use Social to study your audience
#1: Build awareness through word-of-mouth
Marketing comes with its share of costs but that’s one of the positives when you go about it with social media.
Most platforms do not charge you anything to create a business account/page on their websites.
You may have noticed yourself that most of what appears on your newsfeed are pages created to make a profit. This is because the more the name of your business appears on someone else´s app, the better the chance for those users to remember your brand.
By planting the image of your brand in their head, they might spontaneously think of later or mention it to their social circle while discussing a similar topic. This leads to word-of-mouth which in turn builds awareness.
How can you do this? Be active and try to create content as often as possible.
They say, repetition is the mother of learning and over time your newly gained experience and insight will help you attract more customers.
Case: Kukon Hoi An, the Pub that went Social
Kukun Hoi An is a pub located on An Bang beach in Hoi An, Vietnam. It is a stellar example of how this strategy can work to improve your business and make the brand more popular.
The pub’s Facebook page is updated regularly with events and posts informing visitors about various other things happening in the area.
Source: Kukun Hoi An’s Facebook page
This helps grow their customer base by people attending these events, who simultaneously invite their friends who are new to the place in one go.
What’s more, you can use your Facebook page to distribute compelling social media content and further drive engagement from your content.
#2: Authenticity – show them you’re the one behind your product
Your brand has to go beyond the boring, corporate look and be original. Customers should be able to relate to your brand offering
Nowadays, the trend is to be informative through visually attractive and stimulating posts. The use of memes, humour around current affairs and even dark satire is well received.
However, the strategy you employ should ultimately link back to your product. There has to be a clear connection between your post and the product you’re trying to sell.
Your brand should have a clear, distinguished voice on social media. It has to be something real: a face that your customers can see behind the logo.
Case: MoonPie, Bringing Humor and Crackers Together
Cookies probably don’t translate to comedy in your head. But MoonPie, the popular US confectionary product, brought authenticity to the table by incorporating humour into their brand.
When it comes to using Twitter as a platform, having a personality is key to your success. Followers look for entertaining content.
MoonPie’s use of humour adds a face to their brand that their followers can relate to.
Source: Moonpie’s Twitter
Their Twitter handle carries a clear voice and personality that makes their brand even more attractive, encouraging interactions with their tweets.
On another note, implement a story-telling approach into your social marketing to increase engagement with your audience. In fact, storytelling is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd, and further drives engagement as humans are naturally attracted to stories.
#3: Regularly engage in discussions with your followers and provide support
One of the greatest opportunities that social media offers are ways to instantly connect with and address your followers.
Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather buy from a brand that goes out of their way to make you feel valued as their customers?
There are a great number of ways you can do this. For example:
- Create a Facebook Page and use Messaging to address customer queries and build a community to encourage discussions
- Use Twitter to go back to customers in real-time and build your brand personality
- Leverage interactive Instagram stories and posts to announce new products.
Finding a hot topic that you can link to your brand and that your customers can relate can generate positive buzz.
However, managing a full-fledged social media campaign is no easy feat. There’s a ton of tasks involved that includes collaboration from different people. For this reason, I recommend managing your social campaign using project management tools to inform effective and efficient organization.
Case: Dove’s #ShowUs Campaign
Dove’s social media strategy has always incorporated social causes into their campaigns, especially regarding women empowerment, diversity and addressing beauty stereotypes.
Considering that women are their key demographic, this is a smart move on Dove’s part. Even smarter was their #ShowUs campaign.
Source: Dove’s Instagram
They posted photos of women from around the world, highlighting their individuality and uniqueness. The message was that diversity is beautiful and everyone should be loved and accepted.
Dove received a high volume of user-generated content (>5k) and sparked discussions that put their brand at the forefront of the positivity.
Bonus: Use Social to research consumers
Now, customer research isn’t really a social media marketing strategy but, instead, it’s a great strategy to inform future marketing and, of course, that includes social media.
Thing is, consumers love social media and are regularly active voicing out their opinions and issues. So this makes it a perfect opportunity to come in and collect key customer data.
For example, you can send out customer satisfaction surveys to understand issues of your audience as this data can further be used in decision making.
Be Small but Go Social
Small or big: the scale of your business does not matter when you are trying to make an impact.
Creating a relationship with your customers is vital to any business strategy. You know where your customers are at now, so you know where you’ve got to be too.
Social media can be the greatest tool at your disposal to do just that.
Whether you want to create a voice for your brand, grow your revenues or simply get your name out there: going social is the best way to start.