great value for less than you may expect
As a business owner, you’re constantly looking for new ways to get your company’s brand on the radar of potential customers. Social media is an excellent way to do this. If you don’t already, using social media in business it is a great way to reach a large potential customer base. But, your success with social media does not depend on how many followers you have. Instead, it depends on your customer engagement. To effectively use social media for your business, set a schedule to regularly engage with your followers.
Here are some reasons why businesses can actually be successful on social media:
businesses that are community and individual focused
There are quite a few differences between big and small businesses, legal structure, number of employees, and revenue. But, the differences don’t stop there.
Small businesses tend to be more community and individual focused, but this type of focus doesn’t need to be limited to just small business. As a business choosing, for example, to be heavily involved in the community can lead to a connection with customers that you might not otherwise have. A great way to connect and get your name out there for little to no cost is to join your local chamber of commerce.
Social media is a great way for people to engage people in online community to talk about products or services. To increase customer engagement, ask customers to post pictures on social media with the company’s product; and, welcome reviews, questions, comments, and concerns from consumers.
As a business owner, you can easily foster connections with individuals on social media. The important thing to remember is, if you use this as a way to connect with your customers, you have the capacity to be responsive. Small businesses are more likely to respond to their customers than large businesses in part because they have a smaller customer base but no one likes to deal with an unresponsive business. Current and potential customers, will have more respect and appreciation for a business who provides timely responses.
less expensive advertising
Posting on social media is free. The only cost that you need to put in, is time and effort unless you choose to use paid advertising offered on some social media sites such as Facebook.
When you choose to advertise on Facebook you have the ability to target it to reach people within a certain radius of your business, age and gender. This targeted advertising had the ability to reach a specific group. Facebook also allows you to choose how much you want to spend on a daily basis and the duration that you wish to run your ad.
An added bonus it that Facebook also provides you with analytics, allowing you to see the reach of what you have paid for. That means you don’t end up paying for advertising outside of your local customer base and you can get an understanding of how effective it was and use this in deciding how to use these types of advertising in the future. It also allows you to start small and work your way up.
Social media is a great advertising tool without paying for the extra features. You can update your followers on promotions, sales, new products, or even just industry-related information. Posting photos also help customers see what you offer. It also allows you to create events which can help to gauge interest in advance.
joint social media marketing efforts
Finding ways to connect with the media world and reaching the greatest number of consumers can be a challenge. One way to overcome this is to collaborate on social media marketing strategies with other businesses or with social media influencers. As a business owner, you can partner with another business (not competitors) that target people within your niche, or connect with someone that is willing to review your products and promote them.
For example, you can post that customers can get a 20% coupon to another small business if they buy from you and vice versa. Or, team up with a neighboring company for a social media giveaway or contest. Winners can get a prize that includes products from both businesses. These types or activities can be a win for all involved.
Small businesses are all about personalization and for many consumers this is the reason they prefer to visit smaller businesses. Being able to have the personalized service and have a conversation instead of just being another face in the crowd is important to a lot of people.
Think of education, when you go to a large University you are often in a large lecture hall, often with 100+ other students. Compare that to going to a college where you are in a program with a much smaller group of students. The experience and interactions with your classmates and the instructors is completely different. In one setting you know some people but probably not everyone and the instructor may or may not be able to remember your name. In the other everyone knows everyone else and you are able to build a more substantial relationship. The same goes for many business, the goal is to connect with customers not just to see them as a number.
Whether you are a small, medium or large business, when customers are at your business, you have an opportunity to take the time to connect with individuals. You can answer where your products come from, how long your business has been around, and where you got the inspiration to start your business.
Personalized attention isn’t just applicable to consumers who are at your physical business location. On social media, small businesses can give more than scripted responses to customers. You have the ability to write a genuine response directly addressing the customer’s situation. Big corporations that sells across the nation don’t have time to give a personalized response to each customer.
Think about MLM’s (multi-level marketing), part of their business is to make those personal connections because that is how they grow their business. Compare this to ordering from Walmart. Walmart doesn’t want to have a connection, they gather information about your purchases for future advertising.
association with big advertising
Some large organizations hold events that small businesses can leverage in their social media marketing strategies. Think about events like the Calgary Stampede or the High River Christmas parade where there are lots of promotions. Often there are opportunities for small business shopping nights or community events surrounding these larger events that you can link your business to. Pancake breakfasts are a huge draw during Stampede and indicating that your business will be participating in this long standing tradition can draw an entirely new crowd of customers with no cost to you for marketing.
Big businesses and events might be able to dole out huge amounts of cash for advertising, while small businesses can reap the benefits of mass advertising just by posting that your business will participate.
Does your company have a plan in place for dealing with a crisis? While a negative comment on a social medial page for a smaller brands may not have a crisis blow up to such a large scale as Starbucks did a few years ago, any negative attention can damage a business’s reputation.
Silence is not an option when it comes to responding to crises on social media. Maintaining well-run and managed social accounts and having a plan in place can help make sure you’re present and ready to engage if the worst occurs. Thinking ahead can also mean that your response to the situation does not generate addition bad press.
keep an eye on the competition
While you are using social media to promote your business, you can also be using ti to see what the competition is up to. For example, tracking mentions of your competitors might reveal pain points with their products that you could reach out to address, winning new customers in the process.
Monitoring the competition on social media also means you’ll be aware when you competitors launch new products, run promotions, and release new reports or data.