Social Media has provided small businesses with diverse opportunities but also a number of challenges. Unlike large corporations, your budget is limited. You don’t have a team of experts at your disposal, and there is the constant pressure of keeping up with the latest innovations in technology and marketing. As someone who’s spent the last six years assisting small and medium businesses with their social media needs, I understand how overwhelming, frustrating and often confusing it can be to navigate the world of social media management. To help you overcome some of those social media challenges below you will find some tried and tested tips which I hope you will find useful.
Today, there are more ways to promote your business than ever before. There’s SEO, social media, pay per click, content marketing or mobile marketing. While it’s great to have choices, you need to refine your approach and decide what’s right for your business.
There is a temptation to jump from one marketing approach to another when the results don’t immediately materialize. But it takes time to gather tangible results and track patterns, so her are my tips:
- don’t use a promotional strategy because it’s trendy. Make sure it’s relevant way to target your customers and your objectives;
- think carefully where to invest your resources. Ask yourself where are your customers are spending their time online and then follow them there;
- if images are crucial to your target audience for making purchasing decisions (e.g. food, fitness, furniture, interior design, property, beauty, fashion, etc.) use visual platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest.
Your unique selling proposition/point (USP) is an old business principle, yet it is relevant more than ever. In today’s crowded market customers are asking- why should I buy from you?
Many small businesses seem to look to their competitors for guidance on branding and marketing, which is always a mistake. So work out what separates you and makes you better:
- give your customers a unique reason to seek your products or service and promote it via social media. Whether you are the best tasting, cheapest, most organic, most luxurious, fastest or hippest product out there, make sure you tell the world this in all of your marketing communications;
- Remember your brand consistency. Your visual style, colours, fonts and finally, your voice should be consistent across all your social media platforms, your website and offline. Make sure you project the same image wherever people find you.
Boost customer loyalty
While attracting customers is vital, one of the best ways of growing the business is by building customer loyalty. Your devoted customers are the ones who are going to buy your products and services even if they aren’t on sale, and recommend your offerings to friends. You always want that audience to be large enough to keep you afloat.
Social media can help your businesses to boost customer loyalty in variety of ways:
- stay in touch with people and extend your relationship beyond the initial purchase;
- consider creating a Facebook group, linked to your Business Page, where you can share relevant advice and grow a loyal community;
- engage and deepen your relationship with your audience by creating content about issues that they cares about;
- treat them in a special way by offering special discounts and loyalty programmes;
- reward your most active social media followers, those who share positive reviews and feedback about your brand on social media, so they will continue supporting your business
Value your time
Time and money are the two major resources that small business owners are always trying to balance. If you’re short on money, you can start with cheap marketing strategies such as writing blog posts, maintaining social media pages, making videos. However these do take time and time is money. If you remember the reasons why you started your business I bet that “because I can run my own social media” wasn’t a reason at the top of your list.
Your skills and expertise are what you need to grow your business. Running your own social media platforms means that you will work “in”, rather than “on”, your business which impacts on growth. If you don’t have the expertise to implement an effective social media strategy that ensures that your social media activity supports your overall business goals. Here are some ways you can strike a balance:
- Look for ways to outsource essential tasks. If you can afford to hire a dedicated social media person or content creator, give it a try. It doesn’t have to be a full-time employee. You may consider an agency on a per-project basis or a freelance consultant.
- If that’s impossible, make time for learning about social media marketing OR invest in training.
The most important thing here is to get started and stay consistent. Start small and look after one or two social media platforms really well, rather than commit to doing five half-heartedly. The same goes for the frequency of posting; it’s much better to create three Facebook or Instagram posts a week and really think them through in terms of their value to your audience, than post daily just for the sake of being seen. Once your social media is working well then you can think about scaling up the number of platforms as your business grows
Running a business always comes with certain challenges; many of which relate to marketing. There’s no such thing as the “perfect” marketing strategy. It’s something that needs to be continuously worked on and refined.
Need help with social media for your business? Get in touch! Our mission at Beyond Social Buzz is to help start-ups and small and medium businesses to succeed at social media. We offer social media management, social media strategy and social media training.
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Profile: Joanna Michaels is a founder of Beyond Social Buzz a digital marketing consultancy based in Muswell Hill. The mission of Beyond Social Buzz is to help Startups and SMEs to succeed at Social Media Marketing. Social Media Lecturer, speaker and accredited She Means Business trainer for Enterprise Nation and Facebook, Joanna offers an abundance of relevant industry experience and practical kills. She has worked with a diversity of UK- and internationally-based startups and SMEs.