What exactly is Social Media for Small Businesses?
Social Media can be used to help small businesses raise awareness of their products or services to prospective customers, that’s if you carry out your campaigns correctly that is!
How can Social Media be used to benefit Small Businesses?
If you are a small business owner you can use social media to tap into an audience that is interested in your products or services.
That is an audience who is interested in what you have to offer, even if they don’t purchase they may talk about your company, or better still link to you, that’s if the link is high quality then it will be of use!
You can then potentially resell or market products to these people on a frequent basis, via social media platforms.
You can advertise your companies latest deals and offers for example.
You can also put information there way that may interest them, they may then want to share this further, and this is how your work can get spread through interested readers.
It is therefore, a very useful tool, you allow your business to talk directly to your target audience, and find out what they are talking about too.
This allows you to come up with some clever advertising strategies, so that you can raise brand awareness.
What’s important as a small businesses is that you do not use Social Media platforms for what we call here “showing off within social media, to your competitors”. This is simply a waste of time!
We think that many businesses, just broadcast the fact that in some way there business is doing well, but by not focusing on who your target audience and their interests, you may not be getting through to them!
So you could just be showing off to the competition, a waste of time and company resources, without aiming a marketing strategy at a target audience, you could just be wasting time by pitching to your competitors, what your business is doing.
So for example, a company buying a new asset, or a arranging a new deal that will take place which is of pure commercial value, then by stating this fact on social media it is unlikely to interest a target audience.
This is because it is not answering their questions, for what they want to know when deciding whether to buy a product or service from you.
“You must instead think what exactly does your target audience want to know, from my business”.
If they are buying a car for example, the target audience may to want to know, who are there local car dealers are, what do they have to offer at that current time, and what does the company appear to be offering in the way of customer service exactly?
Customers can get an idea of what your business is like from Social media, for example, comments, reviews and what people are saying generally about your business.
So this platform can be used to build trust and awareness of what your business, and what it is about and what people are saying about it.
Trust can be built when people positively talk about your business, and also you can share to your audience what your business is up to, to give an idea of your companies personality and values, as well as your offers.
We think it is much more important to understand your target audience, and to display advertising strategies, that will likely interest them, and keep them loyal around your brand and business.
That is you share your company vision, with your target audience.
By doing so you are likely to interest the “influencers” and they may be inclined then to share your content further and possibly create back-links to your work.
Remember, the more high quality, relevant back-links then this can help your business, if you gain the right sort of links.
What often happens is business owners simply target directly, what they think their target audience is, but normally its not as simple as it first appears.
For example you may think a bakery needs to send signals to the local area, so you may just optimize for a catchment area, and words regarding a bakery for example through your social media.
Instead it is more detailed than this, you must understand where your customers are coming from, to run an effective social media campaign.
So you might start understanding that your customers, are city office workers, who want business lunches, or perhaps another business stream is wedding cake orders, or supplying local trades men for example with hot food.
From this information you can start targeting each different group through social media. This is important, as if you take a broad brush effect, this may not work, you need to address your target audience head on, by putting your sales message directly in-front of them!
Instead you must enter the mind set of your target audience, and think about the buying cycle and what information they are looking to obtain, and to address that through your Social Media campaigns.
For example, you may combine construction information with your bakery in a social media campaign, so that it appears to target a group on social media.
You are therefore, getting through to tradesmen who may visit your bakery because you are close by, and you have marketed an offer directly to them, through a clever marketing strategy, such as “Trades men offer for lunch time deal”, by hash tagging construction terms with your offer for example.
And for another example…
So for example you may be a car dealer, by advertising on social media your stock by simply writing car manufacturer’s names, and models with a quick sales pitch stuck to the bottom of your post. This may not be suitable or an effective advertising strategy at all. This may get lost in the noise of social media online, so simply put, its a wasted effort or a drop in the ocean.
What might be more suitable is to advertise your product range through capturing and engaging your audiences attention directly, via answering their questions.
You may then want to tie this into an event launch party of a certain model car, that you are selling to the area, and to invite people for a test drive day for example.
Think engaging, think getting your target audience involved by interesting them to take action in term of interacting with your business.
This is much more likely to grab the interest on Social Media than to just to advertise the make and model of a car range for example.
Instead create a buzz, at an event, that is much more likely to interest a target audience locally, who are interested in a certain type of car.
To take this idea further, you can use Social Media for much more interesting and engaging ways of marketing as well for your small business.
For example you may wish to advertise on Social Media, and show a video review test driving a model of car, so people can watch what the car can offer them.
Imagine, a You-Tube channel, selling your range of cars, test driving them online for prospective buyers to see, and to get a good idea of what the car is all about.
By using such methods, you likely to get people, sharing, talking about your business, this is of course good for your company and online presence.
And what do you need to do this? Well not much is the answer, A YouTube channel and advertising your business, need not cost much for example. Have a look at our SEO prices in Cardiff: Seo Prices Cardiff
Then you can start to see the potential of Social Media and what you can do on a low budget for your business.
Instead of just writing makes and models of cars, you’ve created a much more interesting marketing strategy, that people can buy into, and actually participate in the process.
You can take the ideas, made for a car dealership and use these for other Small Businesses.
Social Media, can be a very effective additional tool, therefore to help raise awareness of your business online, and to get people talking about what you do, but you do have to be creative to have a strong voice on social media.
There are so many businesses, competing for your target audiences attention, you must make sure you capture their interest, by answering their questions in an interesting way.
This is much more what social media should be about, that is offering useful information, via small businesses, delivering this via mediums which do not cost much money at all.
If you take another example such as a wedding venue for example, you may wish to create videos introducing your staff at the location, the location itself, and show weddings that have already taken place there.
You may want to post pictures about your location and other past events that have happened at that that venue, or business events for example.
This is much more interesting than just simply stating your business name and a picture of a company logo for example on social media.
You must be much more creative, and really showcase what your business is about, its deals and what it can offer the region.
Social media is much more than just getting your brand logo across, it’s more about allowing visitors to get an insight into what your business can offer them.
Many small business have the advantage, of being unique and offering value, you can therefore offer tailored deals and reasons for why to choose your business, to get the message across of exactly what your business is about on Social Media.
This again is a time-consuming process, if it is done right, but is well worth the effort than compared to bashing away on useless social media messages which take seconds, yet which are just a waste time sometimes unless you have an SEO strategy in place from the start.
Perhaps you would like to know more about Social Media, how it has evolved, and to get some ideas for your small business. Have a read about this guide to Social Media.
What Social Media platforms should I be using to promote my Small Business?
You need to find a Social Media platform that suits your business, don’t just choose what the competition are using.
Perhaps your business may be quite a visual product or service offering, such as a being a wedding cake maker.
You may therefore benefit from more visual social media platforms.
Think about also which is the most common type of social media being used in your region, don’t waste time on a platform that no one is using!
Perhaps your Social Media platform is more about information and distributing content relating to industry events, or your business generally, so you may be more suited to a text based social media platform, such as Twitter for example.
We would definitely recommend focusing on the more common forms of Social Media, and not trying to spread your resources too thinly by concentrating on only being good at one or two social media platforms first.
This is because, you want to build an audience, you don’t want a small group of followers on each platform, where you can have a potentially really strong voice on just one platform that may work for your business.
This will allow you to grow your audience and loyal followers, and this will allow you to test ideas and market your products and services to your target audience, to gauge their reactions.
Social Media makes an excellent platform for consumer research, and to engage responses to ideas you have for your business.
But remember before you carry out social media advertising on any platform, make sure you have an SEO strategy and you know exactly who you are targeting and why.
If you simply send out corporate messages which are just to boast about company deals, these are unlikely to interest a target audience, and are just in our view posturing to the competition.
You must therefore get in the mindset of your consumers, by understanding the questions that they have at that current time, and writing engaging content on Social Media campaigns, that are likely to make them land on your website, and be interested in what is on your website.
This can assist, conversion levels and can help increase back-links, if people find your information useful and want to share it.
What sort of advertising campaigns should I be using on Social Media platforms?
You can create interesting Social Media campaigns on a very low budget today.
What’s important is that you come up with interesting and original online marketing campaigns, which give an insight into what your business is about.
Perhaps you are an organic retailer of food and coffee for example, you may want to create interesting videos and content, talking about your company journey and vision for the future in a local area.
Perhaps you have big expansion plans in Cardiff, you may want to talk about your coffee, what it can offer and where you would like to take your business across South Wales for example.
People may buy into the brand and what it has to offer, pay you a visit, and then talk about you online.
So the message spreads and potentially in return you may get more customers, social media is truly powerful, when used the right way.
This is likely to interest people within a local area and for them to gain an appreciation for what you business is all about and its ethos.