We live in an era of unprecedented small business activity. The internet age has enabled entrepreneurs in nearly every niche market to set up shop and compete with larger firms.
Digital tools like website builders, automated services like payroll, increased communication, and the gig economy all enable small business owners to go toe to toe with challengers of all shapes and sizes.
What about marketing, though? How can a small business find a way to compete with corporations that pour thousands, millions, and even, at times, hundreds of millions of dollars into advertising?
While traditional marketing options like television and radio ads may be too expensive, there’s one area of modern marketing that is uniquely accessible to a small or medium-sized( SMB) business: social media.
How Social Media Levels the Playing Field
One of the biggest themes of early 21 st-century marketing has become the concept of personalization. The incredible quantity of personal information that has become available in the modern, big-data-driven world is astounding, and marketers are finding a used only for it in every course possible.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B corporation or you work directly with clients, all companies can benefit from personalizing their marketing efforts.
This has led to an interesting phenomenon, in which even the most important one corporations strive to reach their customers on a personal level.
Interestingly, this growing obsession of using personalized information to meet a client where they are is a strategy that dedicates SMBs a distinct advantage. After all, Grandpa Sam over at the barbershop, Kelly the bakery owned, and Etsy shop proprietor Sophia are all going to have an easier time connecting with their customers on an intimate, personal level when compared to corporations like Amazon or Google.
And where does social media fit into all of this? Well, of all of the social marketing canals available, it’s social media more than anything that lends itself to this personalization strategy.
Social media enables enterprises great and small to reach out to potential and existing customers and cultivate a relationship with them. It allows them to answer questions, gather feedback, and spur brand patriotism via a two-way form of communication that is singularly unique in the history of marketing.
Add onto that the fact that social media marketing is generally free, and it becomes the perfect tool for SMBs especially to utilize as they attempt to break through that marketing glass ceiling and make their small-time yet potent voices hear amidst the marketing clutter.
Building a Social Media Strategy for Your SMB
If you’re a small business owner and you’re nodding your brain in agreement, but you’re not sure exactly where to start with your social media endeavours, don’t worry. Below are several of the most important gratuities and tricks to keep in mind as you begin to craft an effective social media strategy for your small business.
Consider Segmenting Your Marketing Efforts
Finally, as your social media footprint grows, remember to keep that emphasis on personalization in thinker. Segmenting your online marketing endeavors is an excellent way to boost the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
It does so by allowing you to further personalize your strategies for your segments. If you segment your patrons by demographics, this might mean you group them, whether B2B or B2C, by the size of the company or by the generation of the customer.
Thus, you will market to each of these demographics differently. For a small organization, B2B marketing might include small swag items because of the affordability and personalization, while for a larger organization, this would be cost-prohibitive.
This segmentation also allows for clearer targeted marketing, which, while similar to segmentation, is an extension of it rather than synonymous.
Choose Your Social Media Channels Wisely
Once you have segmented your marketing, this helps you to choose what social media channels you want your business to utilize. In other terms, you now have the means to target your marketing via social canals.
Not all social platforms are alike. Some focus on images, such as Instagram and Pinterest, while others are more community or exchange oriented, such as Facebook or Twitter.
Still others, like LinkedIn, prioritize professional connects. Facebook, for example, is community-based. If you find one of your segments is focused on parenting and/ or household, spending a portion of your ad budget on Facebook will improve your transition rates.
Today we’re taking a look at the top 10 labels that have mastered Instagram for their eCommerce store and the lessons that we learned from them.Click here to read more: https :// t.co/ b7Hu5ZI4W1 pic.twitter.com/ ixQDNENgyT
— Wishpond (@ Wishpond) May 26, 2020
Younger customers are more interested in images and video content, so target your efforts at platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, or even YouTube.
Look to brands such as UnderArmour, which not only has a thriving Instagram community, it upped the bet by purchasing and revamping the app MyFitnessPal, which provides another UA community.
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Set up an Online Code of Conduct
Codes of conduct are critical to online success. They carry how you expect your employees to act and behave while they represent your company online. Without these guidelines in place, your social media attempts can become muddled, confusing, and even contradictory.
A code of conduct can be as thorough as you deems necessary. However, when it is necessary to social media conduct, in particular, it’s worth at least coming up with a document that breaks down things like 😛 TAGEND
Your brand’s vision, goals, and mission. Your company’s ethical stances. The level of factual accuracy expected in your content. Your brand’s voice, tint, and even things like your colour scheme. Consistency in formatting, punctuation, spelling, and grammar. What legal considerations should bear in mind, such as copyrights and plagiarism. What kinds of content should be approved by management before being posted.
If you take the time to set up these benchmarks before you begin assigning social media marketing work to your faculty, you’ll be able to produce much cleaner, more effective marketing collateral. Do you need inspiration?
Here are four great a few examples of codes of conduct from Fortune 500 corporations like Google and Hershey’s.
Build Your Brand
Remember, while social media can be used to directly drive marketings at times, it’s often more effective as a tool for large strategic marketing pieces — especially branding. Take luxury brand Tiffany’s, for instance.
They are known for their signature colour, Tiffany Blue. It is in relation to every Instagram post, shaping the colouring, and thus the label, instantly recognizable. Does your label have a signature color? Follow suit then.
If you are building your brand, it’s perfectly acceptable to take some time to make it work. Nothing has to be set in stone. “Theres a lot of” locates to follow for inspiration as you develop your label. If you do alteration your label at all, nonetheless, consistency is key. What you change on one channel must be changed on all the others.
Representing your brand’s tone, voice, beliefs, colour scheme, and so on through your social media channels( something that should be easy thanks to your code of conduct) can help establish your brand within your niche.
Create a Community
The way that you engage with your audience on social media can be a driving factor in what kind of success you find. While you can include calls to action and data-driven information at times, it’s also important that you use your social media canals to build an online community.
Your online community can be as inclusive or exclusive as you want it to be. The Harley Owners Group( you guessed it — HOG ), is both premium and exclusive.
You can only join it if you are a verified owned of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle or the family member or friend of someone who is. The group has been around for years, and while its platform is online, it’s most successful at linking clients for in-person social outings, such as goes and meets.
LEGO’s online community is bustling with one of the best conceptions for fostering community — crowdsourcing the next great intend suggestions. If you happen to be a diehard LEGO builder, you can upload your own product designs and the community has the opportunity to support your build as the next possible product.
By providing valuable information and space for your adherents and customers to interact with you and one another, you can cultivate a community that naturally generates client retention, patriotism, and word-of-mouth.
Work With Micro-Influencers
While your own efforts are essential to social media success, you should also seek out social media influencers that you can work with as well. Influencers are popular online personalities that already have established audiences within your niche.
Businesses can work with influencers of all kinds, including “micro-influencers.” These are influencers with small-scale audiences, typically in the thousands or tens of thousands, who have affordable rates and can still be extremely effective for small business marketing.
They are useful because their own audiences are small and niche, which assists build your own niche audiences. Using micro-influencers, while still a business transaction, is often a lawsuit of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”
Since they are a smaller brand themselves, this allows for greater interaction between you and them and more cross-brand marketing. If they end up true-life collaborators, you will market them on social media in order to point to their messaging about you.
This ability to interact, both with you and with their own audiences, stimulates micro-influencers appear more authentic. This is a key pro to any marketing campaign in 2020.
In order to effectively interact with micro-influencers, make suggestions. Sperry requested its micro-influencers to take pics of themselves in funky smudges wearing the iconic brand’s shoes. There were shot dead from highrises to neighbourhood sidewalks, all with the hashtag #odysseysawait.
Create Measurable Goals
It’s easy to invest countless hours and funds into social media, and those efforts can be amply rewarded with success for your business. However, if you don’t set up objectives before you begin your social media marketing, it can be difficult to know if and when you’ve actually succeeded.
Consider objectives like driving traffic towards sales funnels, get email sign-ups, pushing advertisements, and structure brand awareness.
Look for ways to measure your activities( such as installing an analytics tool like Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel) and then gave achievable aims, like reaching a certain level of traffic from social media to your website, that give you something to work towards. Aims will be unique to each brand — what do yours definitely sounds like?
SMB Social Media Marketing
There are plenty of ways for SMBs to find success through social media marketing. First and foremost, when done properly, it can level the playing field among small and medium-sized businesses. In order to better to do it properly, you must start with a well-formed marketing strategy.
The best strategies is starting segmenting your marketing. Parse out the niches, cohorts, or another type of audiences to whom you wish to market and begin house from there. Once you’ve chosen your audience or audiences, prefer your social media channels according to those segments. Various generations prefer differing social platforms. The same proceeds for industries.
Lastly and most uniquely, develop measurable purposes for your marketing strategy. While many of these tips can be tweaked to apply across multiple organizations, this is the one that must come from each brand. No two goals between more than one organization should be the same. At the same time, don’t go too crazy, or you won’t be able to measure your strategy’s success!
About the Author Luke Smith is a columnist and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but engineering and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
Read more: blog.wishpond.com