Posted: 20 Mar 2018 Contributor: Therese Palmere
How Can Small Businesses Leverage Social Media?
Social media has forever changed how we communicate, connect, and relate to one another. Social platforms give users a sense of community regardless of where they are in the world, or what they’re interested in. It brings the ability to create a digitally connected environment where users feel a sense of belonging, making social media a very powerful business tool.
Businesses and corporations have been leveraging social media for strategic marketing for years now. In 2014, 92% of marketers said social media was important for their business, and 80% of them acknowledged social media as being a critical factor in increased website traffic.
Jeff Bullas, digital strategist and bestselling author wrote, “If you want to continue to be effective and relevant, there’s no other choice. Jobs, careers and businesses are being created, driven and determined by the social web.” If you’re a small business looking to build your brand, increase awareness and drive traffic, social media is the cheap and effective digital marketing advertising solution for you.
As a small business, you may feel intimidated competing with larger companies, but in some ways small businesses can do better with social media marketing. Oftentimes small shops have personalities that are intertwined with the town or city they’re from. These places may influence the way you operate, which means it changes the way you approach digital advertising. Use this to your advantage by allowing that geographical persona to emit through your social channels; bring a little bit of your central avenue to everyone else.
Neil Patel, Co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics, notes, “Social media is powerful, because it gives you the chance to connect with people, in a personal way.” For big business, this means downsizing their aura, but for a small business it means projecting your unique voice on social platforms and letting it be amplified.
One of the best ways to increase your brand awareness, reach your target audience and drive conversions is to partner with an influencer or social celebrity. In fact, a study done last year by Tapinfluence revealed that influencer marketing delivered 11x ROI compared to traditional digital marketing efforts! With stats like this, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by connecting with an influencer.
A great place to start this part of your social media marketing plan is by going on YouTube and finding a creator who you believe embodies your business’ persona and whose audience is also yours. A great example of this is Express partnering with Claire Marshall. The video is sponsored by the company, and the YouTuber created an ad that was native to the platform, which users responded well to.
Leveraging social media for marketing in this way not only helps your overall business, it gives your team the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of who your audience is, what kind of content they like, which kinds they engage with the most, and what kind of people they view as leaders in your industry.
The Book of Faces
If you’re intimidated of diving into the deep end of social advertising, you can get your feet wet by starting out on Facebook. There are over 2.07 billion monthly active users, and 1.37 billion of those users log onto Facebook daily. Plus, over 5 million businesses use Facebook for advertising. This digital powerhouse knows how to use social media to drive business because it allows teams to cultivate a strong following through its business and community pages. Users are able to communicate their support simply by hitting the thumbs up button or leaving a review. As a small business, use Facebook to your advantage by crafting a page that shows off your neighborhood friendly vibe.
When users look to your Instagram account, it should look like an extension of your business. Feeds are carefully edited and curated to display a strong unified message about a company’s digital marketing campaign. Whether it’s all pastels or pops of color here and there, determine what kind of mood you want your Instagram feed to project. For small businesses, use Instagram to incorporate unique corners of your store into your feed; highlight the little quirks and twists that make your business different. To drive more activity on your posts, don’t forget to create a hashtag! Posts with a hashtag drive 12.6% more engagement than posts without. Have fun with it and make it something you think users would actually type out when they’re referencing your brand.
Do you remember the cork boards lining the hallways of your middle school or high school? Maybe you love DIY projects and created your own inspiration board? Well, Pinterest is exactly that in digital form — an online cork board to review all of your interests and inspirations in a craftsy way.
Effective social media marketing for small business means understanding where your leads turn into conversions, and Pinterest is the social platform for doing just that. 93% of it’s users use the site to plan out purchases, and 87% of Pinterest users have stated they bought stuff simply because they saw it on the site! Curate your best pins and create a storyboard that is the arts and crafts equivalent of your business.
Under 24 Hours
Relating to a younger generation can be difficult, but social channels like Snapchat make the age gap a little smaller. Snapchat has 178 million daily active users, and 60% of those are under the age of 25. If your small business is starting to feel a little stuffy, liven it up by appealing to a younger audience. You don’t have to run a whole ad campaign, you can do something as simple as creating a geotag for customers to use when they enter your business. The best part is you can adjust the timing and range of your filter to appeal to your unique social media marketing plan.
Leveraging social networks for strategic success can seem like a daunting task, but when you sit down and mull over your options, there’s actually a lot of autonomy!
You, dear business owner, have all the power over what the leverage social media definition looks like for your business. Here are the tips one more time:
- Find influencers and social celebrities on YouTube to reach your target audience
- Create a community with your Facebook page
- Welcome and drive engagement with Instagram hashtags
- Drive conversions with your Pinterest storyboard
- Reach a younger audience to liven up your small business with Snapchat
Hopefully these tips will help you in your journey to becoming a social media marketing master! If you feel unsteady or want some help, there are tons of digital marketing agencies that are willing to help you; here’s a guide on how to find the perfect one to support your business.