With big corporations dominating global and local markets, small business owners were previously at a severe disadvantage. Multinational companies have millions to spend on marketing and establishing recognizable brands. Most consumers have flocked to these corporate giants because of their names alone.
Without gargantuan marketing budgets, small business owners had to struggle to make an impact and establish footholds in their local markets. However, we know it has changed.
Over the course of the last decade or two, social media has provided increasingly versatile and accessible (not to mention incredibly cost-effective with a high ROI) marketing tools to small businesses. Nowadays, social media marketing is central to the advertising strategies of businesses both large and small, and those local stores we all know and love have a fighting chance once more.
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How is marketing different on social media?
The reach that you, as a business owner, have at your fingertips with social media marketing is remarkable. With minimal expenditure, you can ensure that your target audience will see the information you want them to see on a regular basis.
Unlike the marketing models of the past, social media is a dynamic and malleable tool that can provide a consistent stream of up-to-date content about your products and services. In just a few minutes, you can author a post that provides an in-depth insight into what you offer. The instant social media impact gives greater visibility and faster reach.
One of the crowning achievements of social media marketing is its ability to target relevant audiences with the right content on an unprecedented level. This is what makes social media such a valuable tool for businesses. With targeted advertising, your content will be displayed only to people who are likely to benefit from your services. For example, those who live nearby, specific age groups, and people who regularly search for related services.
Businesses used to waste thousands of dollars on marketing to audiences who either weren’t interested or couldn’t use their products. Now, you can focus on a point where only the most viable candidates for your services will see your advertising.
Marketing costs money. Ad space doesn’t come cheap, and the more prestigious the location or platform, the more you must shell out to represent your brand there. Businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars on a few-second slot on prime-time TV and in famous publications. While this form of advertising certainly has its place, it’s far beyond the reach of most small businesses.
Social media is a budget-friendly marketing alternative that puts smaller businesses back in the race. If you want to use the opportunities these platforms give, schedule social media posts smartly.
The more money small businesses can save on marketing, the more they can invest in their staff and assets, enabling them to grow and flourish. Small, locally owned businesses are the lifeblood of countless communities, carrying history and legacy within their establishments. A diverse market is a healthy one, and social media marketing helps that dream to live on.
Find out how to create an actionable business plan for your e-commerce business.
How can social media impact businesses?
Social media has the power to impact your business in many ways. Let’s look at the possible benefits of social media presence.
Increases brand awareness
First and foremost, social media efforts can increase your brand awareness. With a growing number of posts, social media users will come to recognize your brand and form a relationship with it. Hopefully, in time, brand awareness will contribute to converting the users of your social media channels into customers of your business.
While awareness can be increased simply by sheer presence, trust needs to be earned through positive interactions. By the same token, it can be lost and negatively impact your business. Earning the trust of your customers on social media, when done consistently, is a great way to positively influence your brand’s presence and customer loyalty.
Businesses can post engaging content for their followers to interact with, building a presence in the everyday lives of their customers. The more somebody engages with the content related to your business, the stronger the relationship of trust becomes. Thus, next time they need a service you provide, they’ll likely think of you before anyone else.
As any marketing specialist will tell you, building a rapport with your customers is essential. The relationship between business and customer is a two-way street, after all. Social media gives you an opportunity to be right there where your customers are.
Regularly sharing content on social media creates conversations between the brand and the audience, as well as between your staff and customers. At the end of the day, we’re all people and social media provides a space for us to meet and share, even within the business world.
Feedback is the backbone of any relationship, and your social media channels offer a reliable point of contact for your brand. People can resolve their issues rapidly via online chat, without wasting valuable time waiting for an available agent.
Social media enables businesses to respond to customer queries, concerns, complaints, or praise with unprecedented ease and efficiency. Your customers know that they can count on you and contact you anytime. This increased customer power strengthens communication and engagement rate which in turn increases customer loyalty.
Which social media platforms to choose?
There are many social media platforms out there that you can utilize in your marketing strategy. Having a presence on all possible platforms to maximize the impact might seem like the right course of action. But that school of thought won’t give you the benefits you’re looking for here. Choosing a mix of platforms that best work for your business is more profitable and less time-consuming. It also lets you create an impact on selected platforms rather than water it down over all platforms.
With a host of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok, you can research what each of these outlets can do for your business. Facebook is a good all-rounder, Twitter engages conversations, Instagram and Pinterest are great for good visuals, while YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok leverage the video angle.
Find out how to easily start and manage an Instagram for a small business.
Social media posts
Having a clear strategy will help you tailor the content to your target audience. Apart from advertising, social media offers increased traffic to your media channels and your business website.
Post links, pictures, videos, advice, polls, or whatever best encapsulates your brand. It’ll be a work in progress, as everything changes fast on social media, and so will your content strategy. But responding to people and being close to what matters to them most, in regards to your business, is always the right direction.
Additionally, don’t forget to leverage the constantly growing collection of emojis to increase user engagement and add an extra layer of fun to your posts. This will help you craft content that resonates with your target audience and make your brand stand out.
Pair the above approach with data-driven insights. Find out what best SEO strategy to apply on your social media channels and what keywords should be used. Make use of the analytics dashboards provided by particular platforms and become familiar with how it measures traffic, impressions, bounce rate, and other metrics.
Impact and connection
See what approach best captures your products or services, but also your brand. Social media increases personalization of the content you share with your followers, so think outside the box. If your business sells outdoor gear, how about a video series of local camping spots or interviews with forest rangers? Social media is a place of connection and engagement, both with your customers and communities at large.
The increased potential for customer relationships and engagement comes from connecting your brand to people in a way that strengthens trust and creates bonds.
Doing business on social media
Social media impacts more than digital marketing strategies. A business social media model lets you sell directly from a selected social media platform, like Facebook for example. You can double your gains by not only connecting with your target audience but by selling products too. It makes it easier for your customers to buy from you, making the social media platform a one-stop shop for all the matters related to your store.
Find out how to start a business on Etsy, Shopify, or Amazon FBA.
Seamless integration between communities and businesses
Social media marketing makes customers an integral part of the advertising process. Instead of presenting an easily ignorable advertisement, social media invites the consumer to be a part of the conversation. By commenting on, retweeting, liking, and sharing the content put out by their favorite brand, people cause ads to take on a life of their own. The genuine thoughts and opinions of the public become just as much a part of the process as the original content.
It’s far easier to trust a business that sports the glowing testimonies of your friends and neighbors than a brand that simply tells you that they’re trustworthy. Comments and reviews give potential customers insight into the real-life experiences of past customers, paving the way for a democratic system in which quality matters more than ever.
With social media marketing, the voices of the consumer and their community are just as important, if not more so, than the voice of the brand. No matter how much money an inferior quality service could put into advertising, customers can always look to social media for a deeper insight into the truth. In the same breath, small businesses that offer superior quality service can be impacted and elevated far beyond their own means by loyal customers on social media.
Final thoughts: Online presence matters
Digital world has become a part of the fabric of our society. When it comes to marketing, small businesses of all kinds have more potential than ever before, thanks to social media.
If you’re a small business owner with a strong online presence then your reputation, budget, and customer engagement cannot help but improve. If you haven’t already, take some time to explore your social media marketing options to see how they can work for your business.
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