As a small business owner, you have an advantage over major, nationwide competitors in the social media marketing channel. You can achieve more success because your business is community based, making it easier to engage with your customers, and foster relationships.
Social media is far more affordable for smaller businesses. Something as simple as sharing a photo helps share your service and sales offerings with the cost only being the time it takes to post a picture to your Facebook page. Pay per click advertising is also less expensive because advertising features on social platforms target users within a certain radius of your business’ physical location, so you won’t pay for advertising outside of your service area.
Local businesses can also more easily collaborate on marketing strategies. The greatest example is the ALL Local Meals & Deals- Washington Co Facebook Group. Their post shares from local restaurants, retail shops, auto repair, events, deals and more are always drawing me out the door to my favorite places, and new ones, too. This group helps build brand awareness for all local businesses, and there are other strategies that local businesses can team up for: joint coupons, contests and sharing your neighbor’s promotions all support local businesses with minimal investment.
Small businesses are more individual focused – you likely know more of your customers personally, making it natural for them to share and refer your products and services. You have a better opportunity to genuinely connect with your customers on social media than a big corporation.
What NOT to do:
Don’t make promotion your primary focus on social media. According to sproutsocial, in 2017 users were just as likely to make a brand purchase for being funny (36%) as they would for a brand offering exclusive content (35%). Set your social goals to align with your business values. Primarily, the biggest goals of social marketers are to increase brand awareness and community engagement. One of the greatest benefits of social media to small businesses is through customer service. Give your customers a personal and unique experience that endears.
You don’t need to commit to every major social media platform. Curb your enthusiasm – choose your platform to cultivate your presence and focus on attraction and retention through engagement. You can choose two or three but do your research and plan effectively.
Don’t jump in without a plan. Develop your strategy for each platform according to your industry. Set your goals, and track your progress through impressions and engagements.
Steps to take for social media growth:
- Create a plan that supports your SMART goals. These are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. For example: In six months, we will grow our followers by 150%.
- Choose your platform based on research. Check out some social media demographics from Digital 2020 and Hootsuite.
- Identify and grow your audience. Follow your industry influencers, share their posts and tag them in yours. Include links to your social profiles on your website and in your email signature.
- Share quality content and use scheduling to make it easier. Write timely content, using images and post regularly. Use hashtags and emojis.
- Monitor your results with analytics. Monitor website traffic, post engagements (clicks, shares, comments and mentions) and sales, leads or conversions to influence your decisions in your social media marketing strategy and tactics.
Small business social media tips:
- Answer questions in a timely manner.
- Combine organic with paid advertising to target separate social media goals through campaigns.
- Use social media to craft your brand persona through personality, tone, style and values.
- Be authentic.
- Audit your presence to see what worked and what didn’t.
- Watch your competition and your neighbors or similar businesses for trends.