We know how much work it takes to run a small business. We also understand why it can seem overwhelming to throw social marketing into the mix. However, social media is the only surefire way for any business owner to raise their company’s visibility overnight. We all know that word of mouth is the most valuable free advertising; some small businesses, especially those in the service industry, rely on it almost entirely. Well, word-of-mouth referrals graduated to the next level: online reviews and recommendations. There are a few reasons to stick with social media and build new time management skills around it.
- Social media platforms act as a social equalizer, making it easier for business owners to network with people who can help their business. We all have immediate connections to people we don’t know, and social media brings them all together. Spend a few hours sharing and commenting, instead of sending out email digests, paying for expensive conferences, or brainstorming advertising ideas.
- Hands-on business owners know how important it is toarticulate their company’s main mission. If consumers don’t know what makes a company unique, they have no reason to choose it over a competitor that offers comparable goods or services. Social media makes it all easy to read and relatable.
- Social media pares down the details and gets straight to the point, so people need to know the facts right away: what the company sells, where it operates, and why it’s unique.
Successful businesses require structure, both in business strategies and in the calendar. Running on schedule is a fine art that can be difficult to maintain, but social media marketing doesn’t have to interrupt it. There are several ways to seamlessly integrate social marketing into an already-busy routine.
- Schedule it. Add brief bouts of online activity to the calendar. Commit to making regular social media posts and updates, whether on a daily or weekly basis. Consistency is important for social media users, whose attention spans are short.
- Assign responsibilities to employees. Businesses are more accessible and relatable when customers can put faces to the name. Instead of typing a few sentences about an upcoming offer, write them down and have an employee hold them up. Sharing the photo introduces customers to a friendly new face, and it also increases the likelihood that someone will stop to pay attention to the post.
- Document everything. Social media helped turn cell phones into a whole culture that revolves around instant snapshots; take advantage of it. Photograph renovations, sales events, holiday decorations, new projects, employee interactions, and anything else that’s noteworthy and relevant. Share the best images to engage customers and foster a kinship between them and the brand.
- Solicit feedback. Eliminate comment cards and adapt to the new word-of-mouth: personalized, real-time, online reviews. People tend to share extreme experiences, both good and bad, but when they’re regularly engaged, they’re more willing to share everyday details. Sometimes they even endorse their favorites just by association, such as virtually “checking in” upon arrival, sharing online purchases, or commenting on the brand profile.
Social media isn’t just about tagging photos and commenting on statuses. It’s a way for anyone to express their immediate thoughts and opinions, so companies can finally hear what their constituents are really saying about them. Addressing a customer’s concerns in a public forum is even better for a brand’s image than if the concern never came up at all. It shows initiative, and it makes people want to participate in future exchanges.
We understand how important it is for small businesses to maximize their time and money, and to focus on delivering a quality product or service. However, to succeed in any business, we all have to harness the lucrative potential of social media and become engaged members of the online community. Every company has assets that make it unique, and every business owner has a vision for the future of their passion project.
Networking usually happens at industry events, but now it’s happening in homes across America as people spend hours clicking from one page to the next. Someone with very specific expertise, or a great business opportunity, will be more likely to find a company’s page if its moderators are getting out there, spreading the word, and engaging with the online community.
Social media offers companies unprecedented access to their target audience. Pictures, videos, instant updates, and comments are valuable currency in the modern market, and when a company prioritizes social marketing, they reap the rewards in brand visibility and engagement.