Advantages Of Social Media For Small Businesses Over Large Businesses
Social media effectiveness eventually boils down to how well can you engage with your customers. Small businesses have a clear advantage, as they tend to be more community and individual focussed. By doing so, you can spread brand awareness & develop a loyal customer base faster.
As a small business, you can afford to respond to your customers in a personalized manner, and at a much faster rate. Existing and potential customers have more respect for a business that provides timely responses.
Did you know that 53% of consumers prefer to shop at small businesses because they love the personalised service?
Multiple small businesses targeting a particular demographic group can even collaborate with each other via social media contests, to provide offers or discounts.
Who doesn’t love any form of a ‘2 for 1’ offer? It’s the small things like this, that SMB’s can achieve much easier than a large established business via social media.
3 Easy & Free Ways for Small Businesses to Leverage Social Media
1) Listing on Various Social Profiles
It’s a free way to spread brand awareness. You need to know what kind of content works on each profile and tailor your content accordingly. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Scoop.it, Tumblr etc all have minute differences with the way content is published on it.
But don’t break your head over this. Start by creating a good content piece. Then, tailor that according to each social media platform.
Let’s say you are a new ice cream brand called “Max’s IceCream”, with a new flavor of ice cream and you want to increase its sales. Here is an example you can follow to make sure you can leverage the most of each social account with the same content.
- Write a short article on the benefits of your ice cream(You could include a CTA at the bottom)
- Make a really catchy featured image for your article
- Use a title that would prompt someone to click on that article “5 Benefits of Max’s New IceCream That You Didn’t Realise”
- Now write a small summary snippet and place the article on social accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc MAKE SURE YOU USE TAGS & HASHTAGS, these ensure your article gets the most reach
- For picture-based social accounts like Instagram, Pinterest etc This is where your catchy featured image comes in. Post your image and put in a little text snippet of the new ice cream. You can then provide a link in your bio or post, back to the article
However, remember social profiles aren’t just meant to increase sales and spam people with links. Try following a 60-40 strategy, where 60% of your social content is engaging & not directly sale-driven. Your customers would love you for it.
2) Free Social Media Distribution & Monitoring Tools
Although, there is no perfect solution. You can use the below tools to get started and based on your social media end-game ie, increasing brand awareness or figuring out the perfect ‘lead’ trait.
Once you know what you need, you can opt for more customized/paid options with each social media platform.
When it comes to social media strategies, you would hear lines like
You need to post ATLEAST thrice a day on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you use the best trending hastags…. Oh and don’t forget your Instagr..blah..blah…Social media you can’t do without……blah blah blah
Yes, active social engagement is important, but it can also be tiring if you’re not a social butterfly. I’ve always liked Buffer due to the simplicity of its usage & scheduling features.
Using Buffer, you can set up 10 posts per social media channel( 2 channels for free, on their free version) This saves you a massive amount of time.
You can spend an hour or two on Buffer setting up your posts for the entire week. This ensures you have at least one post per day going out per day.
You can then focus on providing more active posts & engaging more with your community daily without worrying about not posting enough.
Plus, a lot of famous news-based websites now have a Buffer integrated. Making the sharing & scheduling a lot simpler.
Google Analytics (Monitoring)
If you haven’t yet set up your free Google Analytics account, you can do so here.
The easiest way to check your which social media platform has been providing the most traffic – Pick a date range from the top right and
Under Acquisition > Social > Network referrals, you can view the various social platforms that have provided traffic to your website.
There are a lot more options to analyze your social performance. Take this as a reminder that even Google, finds your social engagement metrics important.
You can also create events/goals on each landing page and analyze which social medium/content led to the most conversions.
There are lot more ways to get detailed insights into your social media efforts. You can check out an in-depth guide from Hootsuite here.
Twitter has a 280 character limit per post. However, it is not the only social media platform where you need to think and squeeze in your content & link, in a fixed character limit post.
Bitly & other URL shorteners are used to shorten long URL’s to fit snuggly in your post. Whether you want to link to a product/service page or your brand or even an interesting article on the internet, URL shorteners are the way to go.
Plus, Bitly provides analytics on each of your shortened links. Location, number of clicks, top performing links etc are all available on the Bitly dashboard.
You can find more recommended URL shorteners here
It is important to note that certain online platforms/communities do not approve of URL shorteners as it can be deceptive to the end user who clicks it. As a workaround in those situations, try ensuring your page/article slugs aren’t very big or keyword stuffed.
People love presentations & PDF’s, no matter the content level. It is a professional way of depicting content. You can create a small presentation on PowerPoint or Google Slides as an intro to your brand or an in-depth guide to a particular product/service. SlideShare is a great place for sharing presentations.
With 94 Domain Authority, 164 Alexa Rank(at the time of this post publish) & being able to backlink to your website – SlideShare is a great way to distribute content about your brand or a product, in a professional manner.
Not to mention, SlideShare presentations tend to stick out in the eyes of Google’s SERP algorithms.
We made an example one highlighting our success and growth over the years. You can check out our SlideShare presentation example here
This is a great social listening & influencer searching tool. You can filter out trending content over the web, view sharers & no of shares on social platforms, find influencers & more.
Although most of the in-depth analysis features are removed post the 7-day trial, you can still view trending content and find influencers (under the influencer tab) for your niche.
We’ve used Buzzsumo to find quite a few influencers for our content. We then reached out to them via email politely asking them to mention/share our content on their respective channels.
- Personalise your message with each influencer.
- Quantity, focus on it when trying this approach, so don’t be disheartened when the “perfect” influencer didn’t write back. Keep searching.
- Quality, produce great content and people will be happy to share your post on their channels.
Mention is forever free tool, that gives you a daily report of times your brand name/content link was mentioned on the web. It’s a good way of monitoring good or bad ‘mentions’ of your brand across the web and social media platforms.
Plus, you can respond immediately to each mention, straight from the Mention dashboard itself.You also receive a daily mentions summary on your email as well.
The free version does have limitations such as not storing old mentions & limited social account connectivity. However, as a way to get started, it’s more than enough for you.
3) User-Generated Content, Influencer Marketing & Growth Hacking
Imagine Max’s IceCcream put out an ad on all social media channels with lines that go –
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that lines like that are bound to get tons of foot traffic, 100’s of pictures all over social media with the hashtag, a variety of new customer demographics, a boost in sales and it didn’t incur any heavy expenses to the brand.
Small businesses have a huge advantage by quickly coming up & launching innovative campaign ideas on the fly. Tie-ups with other local small businesses can help bring a new set of customer demographics to your store.
Growth hacking or even Piggybacking off other smaller businesses will help give you a massive jump in exposure. Be open to your tie-up options, you never know when then local flower shop down your street may end being your biggest influencer source.
You can get some great UGC campaign ideas here
You can use tools like Buzzsumo to find out the perfect brands or influencers to leverage for your particular niche. Follow-through by reaching out via an email or phone call. Make sure you have a good strategy in mind that benefits both parties equally with the least cost & effort to the business.
The more quirky, innovative or goodwill-based your campaign is, the more people will spread the word about it, promote it themselves on their social media profiles & your business gets to ride the free traffic and promotion provided by people.
If you can reach out to influencers in your area or particular to your niche, you can offer them an additional discount/offer to mention about your brand during the campaign. Influencer marketing is an extremely cost-effective means of improving your brand image & overall sales as well.
(PS – Some influencers are aware of this and charge beforehand to promote something. So be smart, and make your campaign is so innovative or catchy that they would market it for free or for a small fee)
Most of the above options bear little to no cost to your business. All you need is dedication & time for it. If you can’t handle managing social media platforms properly yourself, don’t be shy to hire a young enthusiastic person who can.
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