As a small business owner, you’re constantly looking for new ways to get your company’s brand on the radar of potential customers. If you don’t already, using social media in business is a great way to engage with current customers as well as attract new ones.
Small business social media marketing strategies actually have an advantage over big companies. Why? Social media effectiveness boils down to engagement. If a business doesn’t engage with its customers, chances are it won’t have success in social media marketing.
Small Business Social Media
Interacting with consumers on social media is an important marketing strategy for small businesses. Using social media helps you build brand awareness, increase your customer base, and connect with current customers.
In fact, a 2016 study by Social Media Examiner revealed a whopping 90% of marketers say social media is important to their business. Eighty-two percent of survey participants worked in businesses with less than 100 employees.
Marketing through social media is easy for small business owners as long as you actively post on social media pages. Some common social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. To effectively use social media for your business, set a schedule to regularly engage with your followers.
Why small businesses have the social media marketing advantage
Social media success does not depend on how many followers a business has. Instead, it depends on customer engagement.
Here are some reasons why small businesses can actually have more success on social media than big companies:
1. Small businesses are community and individual focused
There are quite a few differences between big and small businesses, like legal structure, the number of employees, and revenue. But, the nitty-gritty aspects of a business aren’t the only distinctions between big and small businesses.
Small businesses tend to be more community and individual focused. Many small businesses choose to be heavily involved in their communities, which leads to a connection with customers. They also enjoy the benefits of joining the chamber of commerce in their community by connecting and sometimes partnering on marketing campaigns with other local businesses.
When using social media, small businesses can connect with their customers online. Small businesses are more likely to respond to their customers than large businesses. As a small business, you can easily handle the influx of comments from customers, so make sure you reply quickly.
Social media is a great way for people to talk about products or services. To increase customer engagement, ask customers to post pictures on social media with the company’s product. And, welcome reviews, questions, comments, and concerns from consumers.
As a small business owner, you can easily foster connections with individuals on social media. Current and potential customers will have more respect and appreciation for a business who provides timely responses.
2. Less expensive advertising
Though you can pay for some advertising features, like on Facebook, social media is free. You can target those advertisements to reach people within a certain radius of your business. That means you don’t end up paying for advertising outside of your local customer base.
To start advertising on Facebook, set a budget and choose your audience. Instead of coughing up thousands of dollars on social media marketing to reach across the nation, small businesses only have to focus on their locality.
Social media is a great advertising tool without paying for the extra features. You can update your followers on promotions, sales, new products, or even just industry-related information. Posting photos also help customers see what you offer.
With social media, you advertise to your current customers. But, you also can advertise to potential customers by getting your brand out there. Your current customers are great brand ambassadors, as well.
Small business owners typically know their customers personally, making it more natural for customers to share their experiences on social media. Current customers can post about your products or services, bringing your brand on the radar of their network and attracting new people to your business.
3. Joint social media marketing efforts
Multiple small businesses can collaborate on social media marketing strategies. As a small business owner, you can work with neighboring small businesses (not competitors) that target people within your niche.
For example, you can post on your Twitter that customers can get a 20% coupon to another small business if they buy from you and vice versa. Or, team up with a neighboring company for a social media giveaway or contest. Winners can get a prize that includes products from both businesses. You could even showcase your neighboring business’s promotions on your social media sites to show camaraderie.
By teaming up, you and the other small business can build brand awareness. You can get on the radar of potential customers and encourage individuals to buy from both businesses.
4. Personalized attention
Small businesses are all about personalization. For some, shopping at small businesses is part of having a good buying experience. One survey found that 53% of consumers want to shop at small businesses because they like the personal service they receive.
When customers are at your business, you can take the time to connect with individuals. You can answer where your products come from, how long your business has been around, and where you got the inspiration to start your business.
Personalized attention isn’t just applicable to consumers who are at your physical business location. On social media, small businesses can give more than scripted responses to customers.
A big corporation that sells across the nation doesn’t have time to give a personalized response to each customer. A small business, on the other hand, can write a genuine response directly addressing the customer’s situation. This direct connection between consumers and brands gives small businesses the social media marketing advantage.
5. Small businesses can piggyback on big advertising
Some large organizations hold events that small businesses can leverage in their social media marketing strategies.
Small Business Saturday (SBS), a day established in 2010 by American Express, promotes small businesses across the nation. If you’re not familiar with SBS, it’s a shopping holiday meant to encourage consumers to shop small. SBS takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
With Small Business Saturday, businesses can piggyback on nationwide social media marketing courtesy of American Express. American Express makes huge strides to advertise the day and get people to buy from small businesses.
Because of this, consumers know about SBS. In 2016, 112 million consumers shopped on Small Business Saturday. Since consumers recognize the nationwide event, it’s easier for small businesses to use social media to their advantage.
Big businesses might be able to dole out huge amounts of cash for advertising. With Small Business Saturday, you can reap the benefits of mass advertising just by posting that your business will participate.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Social Media.
About the Author
Rachel Blakely is a content writer at Patriot Software, LLC. At Patriot, she enjoys providing actionable, growth-oriented information for small business owners. Patriot Software offers affordable accounting and payroll software for small businesses.