Social media is one of the greatest tools to effectively drive sales and market small business to the outside world in this present age and time. Social media just like yesterday has tremendously crunched the world making it easy for both the buyer and seller to meet through diverse platforms and exchange marketing values.
In fact, social media has really helped to breach the gap between organizations and its customers through communication and feedback which end up promoting the brand and as well as opening new opportunities for the small business.
Without prejudice, Social media allows billions, if not trillions of individuals to connect with each other within a twinkle of an eye without moving from one present location or vicinity, little wonder it is referred to as a global village.
Presently, we live in a world where traditional advertising strategies aren’t enough. Traditional marketing strategies limit small business reach and boundary of communication to their target audience. That is why the growing social media scene has given small businesses another way to showcase, promote and market their product with relatively little or no investment.
To successfully strive as a small business owner, it is important to create a marketing plan for your business, no matter how small it may look, set goals for your social media activity, personalize your messages to resonate with your audience, learn as much as you can about each network you plan to participate in and ensure you update the platforms on a daily basis to engage customers following your business.
However, to build brand awareness and brand loyalty of a new product and service it is necessary you create content that will provide added value to your prospects and customers in order to strengthen your business brand in the eye of its prospective buyers.
It is important to note here that small businesses that are not using social media to connect with customers are missing out greatly because social media is one of the most effective ways to nurture your business, learn about your target audience that can help you make informed marketing and analytic decisions and as well increased engagement.
The emergence of social media technology has brought a positive online presence to many small business owners brands locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally.
So, failure to have an effective social media strategy can be detrimental to your small business. While you may not think your lack of a social media presence is having an impact on you today, it will eventually catch up with you down the road.
Benefits Of Using Social Media For Small Business
Social media enables small business owners to enjoy lots of benefits which includes:
- Create Awareness
- Generate business leads
- Boosts sales
- Alter perception
- Partner with influencer
- Keep an eye on competitors
- Gain momentum
- Increase brand awareness
- Brand recognition
- Improve brand image
- Provide information and education
- Build an online presence
- Interact with customers
Social Media Sites For Small Business
Social media can be overwhelming to small business owners who are new on the scene because there are so many social networks and so many ways to use them to promote your business.
Social media allow small business owners to promote their businesses through different platforms all over the world by using a web-based application which includes:
6. Pinterest and blog
Facebook is a far-reaching platform that has over 2.41 billion daily active users all over the world. Businesses can choose from a variety of options, including professional pages, paid post promotion, and native advertising. Facebook’s reach is so expansive that some small businesses choose to just have a Facebook page and not have a website because it’s a testament to the power of Facebook’s audience.
On Facebook, you can target by age, gender, employment, interests, purchasing behaviors, relationship status and so much more! This gives you the power to target your exact audience and put your advertisement and content in their newsfeed of your respective prospects. Whether your business goal is brand awareness, website traffic, lead generation, or online conversions, Facebook should make a notable difference in reaching your goals when used properly.
On Instagram, you can grow your followers organically and therefore grow the reach of your profile and posts organically as well! This makes Instagram a great option for both businesses with and without an advertising budget.
Instagram is similar to Facebook, but the only distinguishing factor on Instagram is its reliance on pictures and videos. So to be successful on Instagram as a small business owner, you must produce high-quality images and video content. This is difficult for many small businesses, but it’s worth it in the end. Instagram also offers paid advertising options and a set of organic benefits.
When we use the term “organic,” we mean functions you can perform or results you can achieve without directly paying for them in advertising dollars. On Facebook, you have to pay for advertising campaigns to grow your followers and increase the reach of your page and posts.
Twitter is a microblogging platform with short blasts of 140 characters or less. It works nothing like Facebook in terms of interaction, engagement, and promotion, but it can be a very effective tool for many small businesses.
The most important part of getting started with Twitter is understanding the platform and figuring out how you can use it effectively in your small business.
Trust me, this is a good platform for marketing to younger audiences. Ordinary people and businesses often have the opportunity to go “viral” on Twitter, since a string of re-tweets can help your content reach millions of people. With this heavy sharing aspect on Twitter, it’s a great opportunity to spread the word about your content.
The one catch to using Twitter is the word limit. You only have a few characters to inform your audience of your products, so you will have to develop some serious editing skills. We also recommend using URL shorteners which help you include URLs in your post at a lesser character count.
LinkedIn is the most business-oriented form of social media, this platform is a great way to connect with other businesses and professionals. It is an older platform that relies less on media content and more on text-based updates.
While LinkedIn is a great place to form connections and find employees, it is not the best platform for large-scale marketing or gimmicky campaigns. It is, however, perfect for small businesses and niches.
For some small businesses that directly serve executives or high-profile people. Trust me, a LinkedIn profile is necessary. It shows that you are serious, professional, and established; i.e., ready to work with the best of the best and if your services are B2B, LinkedIn is a great place to promote them. Unlike other forms of social media, its primary purpose is the business connection, so companies will be on the lookout for businesses and services like you.
YouTube is a video platform that allows users to watch videos and upload them. YouTube has the benefit of visual content, but unlike the other social media sites for business, it has the unique stance of being owned by Google! It is a platform of over 30+ million daily active users giving your business the chance to share company content with diverse users across the globe.
YouTube has access to Google’s advertising platform, therefore small businesses can use this to their advantage when running YouTube advertisement without having to spend the extra money you can make your YouTube videos have higher search rankings by including the searched keywords in your title, video description, and the actual list of keywords in the keywords tool.
You may not instantly think of blogs when you think of social media, but they are, in fact, a key part of social media. Not only does a blog allow you to provide useful, relevant and engaging content to your target audience, but it also gives your readers a chance to interact with you from within the blog comments and by sharing your content on other networks. This social aspect elevates a blog from a static website into a platform with great potential.
Pinterest is one of the newest social media networks that adds a brand new focus on social media networking through images and other graphics. Pinterest gives individuals or users to either find online or create something for themselves in order to share, promote, and inspire. If your business falls within a creative industry of any kind or caters more for the female’s folks, then Pinterest is a social media platform you want to be on.
If you are business falls within any of these industries, (Food recipes, lifestyle how-to articles, wedding inspiration, and outfit ideas are some of the top searches on) you need to be utilizing Pinterest as one of your social media sites for business.
Pinterest also has some organic capabilities that other social platforms do not. Organic reach on a Pinterest post is determined by the number of keywords in a post and if they align with what a user has searched on Pinterest. This gives businesses a chance to strategically plan their content to contain words that are searched a lot on Pinterest, without having to use extra advertising dollars.
How To Market Small Business On Social Media
Before you strategically market your small business on any social media platforms you need to first and firstmost define your marketing goals, Yes! You can’t just start posting content on social media without having a cogent reason. You need to be sure of what you want to post before you post anything, you need to identify your marketing goals which will help you carved a niche for your small business to grow among your competitors
Whatever your reasons, make sure they are clearly defined. Think of it critically before making any firm decision for your small business. You would not run a commercial on the radio or a print advertisement without establishing a goal first, so you need to treat your social media strategy the same way.
Once you decide the purpose of your social media campaigns, it will be much easier for you to come up with content to post. While lead generation, brand awareness, and customer engagement as discussed earlier are all good reasons to use social media, it doesn’t mean that should be yours.
You may be using social media to provide better customer service or directly drive sales. However, here is how you can effectively market your small business on social media platforms with ease.
1. Give Consumers A Reason To Follow You On Social Media
To successfully market small scale business on social media, you need to have lots of followers. Otherwise, nobody is going to see your content.
Grow your social media presence, once you are able to grow your social media followers, it will be easier for you to convert your followers into customers. This is because consumers are more likely to buy from brands they follow on social media.
So make sure your content is worth following, getting more followers will ultimately increase your chances of driving more sales. Ensure you run a contest to Promote flash sales and discounts.
2. Post Content On a Daily Basis On Social Media
This is the most important aspect of marketing business on social media most especially small scale business (SME), You need to ensure you post content on all your social media platforms on a daily basis. Let your customers and prospective clients know you are very serious about your business, give them a reason to choose you above other competitors by prioritizing your business.
Take for instance if someone stumbles upon one of your pages and the most recent post was from three weeks ago, they are not going to follow you. What is the point of following a brand that doesn’t post content? and also think about all the people already following your business page.
People won’t just navigate to that page on their own to see what you are up to. So you need to post new content that will appear on their homepages and timelines. This is your opportunity to stand out from your competitors.
If your competitors is only posting once a week or just a handful of times per month, it will be easier for you to make a lasting impression on your followers by posting daily because each time you post new content, you remind your followers that your brand exists.
One of the reasons why small businesses aren’t posting content daily is because they simply don’t know what to post. If you fall into this category, refer back to your marketing goals. For example, if your goal is to promote new products for sale on your e-commerce site, then post a promotional offer for those products.
Note, there is a difference between posting daily and spamming your followers. People don’t just want to see posts from your brand.
If you are posting several times per day, these posts will flood the timelines and homepages of your followers. Nobody wants to see that. If you want to post content multiple times per day, consider sharing ephemeral content, which we will discuss in greater detail shortly.
3. Form Relationships With Social Influencers
It is very possible to increase your social media presence and your brand equity without posting any content on your page for days, It is definitely possible with the help of social media influencer.
Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing method for customer acquisition in this digital world. This strategy is effective because micro-influencers have stronger engagement metrics with their followers. That is because they are just regular people.
Although when people think of social influencers, they think of celebrities. But partnering with a celebrity probably won’t fit within the marketing budget of a small business. So consider searching for social influencers who live within the area or region of your small business. It is more likely that their followers will be interested in supporting your brand.
4. Take Advantage Of Ephemeral Content
Ephemeral content is different from a regular post. This type of content is only displayed for a short period of time, such as 24 hours. The most common places where you will find ephemeral content on social media is on Instagram and Snapchat. Both of these platforms have a “story” feature.
I highly recommend using an Instagram story to promote your business. If you want to post several times per day, do it on your story. This won’t spam the timelines of your followers. If you haven’t used ephemeral content just yet, give it a try in your next promotion to see how it goes.
5. Broadcast Live Video Streams
Small businesses can also benefit from broadcasting live video content on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. What you need to do is just take a look at some of the statistics about Facebook Live video to get first-hand information on how it plays out.
Basically, your live stream will boost your engagement metrics. It will also give you a more authentic interaction with your audience. You can use your live broadcast in many different ways. Show your followers what happens behind closed doors at your business. Give them a tour of your production facility, office, and introduce them to your staff.
This will make them feel as if they are seeing something that’s exclusive and ultimately bring them closer to your brand. Live video is also a great distribution method for product demonstrations, events, or Q&A sessions. Your live audience will be able to comment on your stream in real-time. Make sure you acknowledge those comments and respond to your followers.
6. Encourage User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) will help you build brand awareness, generate leads and increase sales because it has a direct correlation with the consumer buying decision.
You can’t go wrong by sharing content that encourages user-generated content (UGC). It is one of the best ways for you to get more followers and ultimately turn those new followers into buyers.
Let’s say you run a contest on Instagram where participants have to post pictures featuring them using one of your products. Your small business just got exposed to a wider audience. Anyone who follows people who enter the contest will see your brand being promoted, even if those people don’t follow you.
7. Dominate on one platform
You need to conduct a feasibility study so as to find out where your target customer spends time online. Then pick one social media platform and dominate on that one. Claim your profiles on the other networks, but focus most of your time on that one. Listen first. You need to be ‘friend-raising’ online. I started out by just sharing other people’s content for six months.
When you share your own content, do it on a four to one ratio, share four pieces of someone else’s content for every piece of your own that you share, my advice is, ‘Be sweet, retweet.’ Also, there is a need to research the competition, How are your competitors using social media? While you don’t want to copy them, learning from what others have done is a great way to reduce your learning curve. Competitive analysis can help you learn what’s working and what’s not for other businesses like yours.