Guest Author: Alicia Shawn
Despite some negative connotations still surrounding social media, it has become a hugely powerful platform for businesses. With more than 2 billion worldwide users, social media provides an endless, ready-made audience for savvy businesses to tap into for conversions.
For small businesses operating in the United States, the stats are particularly encouraging; in a survey conducted this year by Pew Research Center, it was reported that 7 in 10 U.S adults say they regularly use social media sites. But how do small business owners capitalize and work social media into their marketing strategies? We’ve highlighted a few examples that can help these owners benefit their brands, even with more limited resources than so many larger competitors.
Building Customer Relationships
From the outset, the most important part of social media marketing is building and maintaining existing and potential customer relationships. Finding a way to connect with customers in their virtual spaces is essential, and will bode well for the digital “word of mouth” that manifests in shares, tags, and mentions.
Personalizing interactions and showing the human side of your business can make users feel connected and cared about. Many social media users, when considering a purchase from a small business, are more likely to become customers if they have a sense of the business’s personality. In addition to keeping things personable meanwhile, you should also strive to make responses to queries promptly. Customers often turn to social media for swifter answers (rather than, say, trying to call in and winding up on hold and losing patience).
All major social media platforms use algorithms to determine what users see. In order to draw advantages from this, small business leaders should learn how said algorithms work. In an article specifically about how to gain Instagram followers, AskMoney explained how to gain an advantage from algorithms in simple terms. Essentially, the article pointed out that social media programs tend to show users more of what they engage with; if you like a post, you’ll see more from the poster, and so on.
Thus, small business leaders shouldn’t focus just on producing lots of social content. Rather, they should produce content that is most likely to garner tangible engagement. People who click on, like, share, or send posts will be in line to see more of the content coming from the same business. So make sure your post is worthy of interaction!
Organizing Giveaways and Collaborations
Offering giveaways and organizing collaborations with other businesses or media influencers are very cost-effective and impactful ways to generate sales. Customers will engage with a brand if there’s a chance to win something for free; they’ll also share these events with friends. In turn, overall engagement increases and brand awareness is boosted.
Influencer marketing is also a very quick way to increase your following of potential customers –– and one that more and more businesses are taking advantage of. AdWeek projects, in fact, that influencer spending in the U.S. alone will reach $4.14 billion in 2022. As popular as this route is becoming though, it’s still important to conduct research prior to approaching influencers –– making sure your product, service, or event fits into a given influencer’s online profile. Provided you find a good fit though, an influencer has the power to recommend your business to droves of loyal followers.
Taking Advantage of Social Initiatives
Some social media platforms will offer initiatives to help small businesses, and business owners should be on the lookout for these opportunities. We recently highlighted just such an initiative launched by TikTok, which proved to be a great success for small businesses using the platform. Similarly, in response to the pandemic, Instagram introduced stickers for users to post in their stories in order to promote support for smaller brands. These enable other users to tap and purchase in an instant from business accounts.
With these types of initiatives in mind, you and your business should be on the lookout for any and all things the social media platforms themselves are doing to help with promotion and growth.
There’s an awful lot to take in on this subject, and the ideas highlighted above are by no means exhaustive. However, we hope this feature helps small business owners understand the potential of engaging with social media.