In the past, when you ran a small business, you’d rent a commercial property and set up a tangible brick and mortar store. Of course, you’d have to advertise and market what you had to offer the consumer market, but this would largely involve tangible means of advertising and marketing.
You’d print posters, rent billboard space, hand out flyers, and bring in customers through recommendations and word of mouth. Of course, you can still use all of these advertising and marketing methods to great effect. But if you’re going to make a true success of your small business and generate as much profit as possible, nowadays, you’re going to have to start dabbling in online advertising and marketing.
We live in an internet generation and increasing numbers of people are spending increasing amounts of time behind phone screens, tablet screens, laptop screens, and computer screens – whether for work or for personal reasons.
This opens up a huge market of potential through the world of E-commerce. But it also means that the market is more saturated (as it’s even easier than ever to set a small business up) and that you’re really going to have to work to stand out from the crowd.
To achieve this, you’re still going to need to engage with the online realm. Now, there are various areas of online marketing that small businesses can take advantage of and capitalize upon. But it would be near impossible to tackle them all and do them all justice in just one post. So, for now, let’s focus on How to use social media for small business marketing!
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is essentially advertising and marketing through any social media platform. Many of us tend to associate social media with our personal lives. Social media platforms tend to be a place where we share our own views and opinions and post images of our day to day lives and special events and occasions that are generally most relevant to us and our nearest and dearest. But social media also holds a whole lot of potential for your business!
Why is Social Media Marketing a Must?
There are various reasons that social media marketing holds potential for your business. Here are just a few for you to focus on.
- Your customers are on social media – various studies have found that around 70% of the US population are active on at least one social media channel. This means that there’s an extremely high chance that your customers are making use of at least one platform. If your customers are directing their attention somewhere, you need to place your brand and products or services there for them to see. If you think about traditional advertising, small businesses would conduct research to find out where their customers and target demographic were spending time and, consequently, where they are looking. They would then place posters and flyers in these spaces and venues. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to place your products and services where potential customers can see them, as many of them will literally be directing their attention to certain online spaces, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- People are more engaged when using social media – people use social media for fun. They’re choosing to be there and they’re generally in a positive mood when using it, as it’s a highly social space. So, they’re more likely to engage with your message when you post on social media. It’s a space where you can more easily form bonds with customers and automatically enter into their personal sphere.
- Social media marketing can lead to more direct sales – when you market through social media, you can link directly to the website where you’re selling your goods. This can result in increased direct sales. After all, you’re not just hoping that someone will see an advertisement and remember to pop into a tangible store later down the line or to access your website when they get home. They can immediately access the goods, which can dramatically increase the number of impulsive purchases you generate.
What Platforms Should You Use?
The three main social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Each has its own perks and benefits and each draws a unique audience. However, they do tend to have a lot of crossover and many people will engage with more than one platform or even all three!
Facebook is great as a business directory where people can learn more about your company and be directed to your official website.
Instagram is a highly visual feed, so a great place to show your products off in their best light.
Twitter is the perfect platform for announcing things, so perfect for unveiling new products or services and other important information about your business.
Examples of Good Social Media Marketing
As you can see, social media marketing can prove to be extremely pivotal to your business’ success. But what are some good examples that you can draw inspiration from? Here are just a few to take a look at!
- Dollar Shave Club – dollar shave club’s social media marketing technique involves the use of social media influencers. They’ve contacted individuals who represent their brand well and encouraged them to post promotional material showing themselves with the products. This could explain their 192,000 Instagram followers!
- Uniqlo – uniqlo have wisely split their twitter feed into two – one for UK customers and one for US customers. This means they can make their messages and branding more appropriate to the slightly different cultures and communicate with their customer base more effectively.
- Bonjoro – Bonjoro have moved beyond the main three social media platforms and have branched out into Youtube. In fact, when you search their brand name, Youtube is one of the first links to appear in search engine results. This means they can engage with people on a more face-to-face basis (even though they may not be quite literally face-to-face). This increases brand trust and can make a more personal bond between consumer and brand.
- Mailchimp – mailchimp isn’t exactly the most fun of products to promote. It’s an automated mailing platform. But still, its Instagram page has managed to generate more than 98,000 followers. This gives them a wide market to easily promote to at the touch of a post button. They use highly visual material to make their product appear fun, bright, and engaging!
If you haven’t considered social media marketing for your small business before, now is the time to get involved. All of the major brands invest a whole lot of time, money, and effort into maintaining impressive social media feeds and there’s a good reason behind this.
Hopefully, the above information will help you to see exactly why. Social media marketing isn’t only profitable. It helps to boost brand awareness, placing your products and services right in the centre of the public eye and allowing you to access your target demographic easily and at a low cost.
So, start coming up with a social media strategy as soon as possible. Your small business will really benefit from your efforts!