In a world where most consumers are now online, the onus is upon businesses to adapt to meet the new challenges posed by this demographic shift. It’s rapidly becoming the case that business which don’t maintain an active online presence are missing out on a large share of their potential market, as consumers turn to those that do.
It would make sense then, that any small business that wishes to increase revenue would do well to improve their online reach. And there’s no better way to do this than by engaging with your customers – and potential customers – via social media.
Why Social Media is a Good Choice for Small Businesses
Since so many brands now operate online, it has become increasingly difficult for small businesses to gain search exposure in an already oversaturated, global market.
Social media offers any business, large or small, the opportunity to build a visible online following, and to market specifically to this audience. Via social media, a small business can work to strengthen its brand identity, grow customer loyalty and encourage organic marketing by engaging positively with its audience.
Making a Good Impression
The value of your social media strategy can be assessed according to how much of exposure you gain by it. This exposure is sometimes referred to as impression, and impressions can be counted, to some degree, by likes, comments, shares, retweets, +1s and other forms of online social interaction.
Social interactions are important because they are earned, and represent a positive effort on the part of a business to meaningfully engage with their audience, rather than just relying on inert advertising. To encourage these interactions to happen, it is the responsibility of the business to create and publish content that will appeal to their target audience.
The Role of Content in Social Media
Content plays just as much of an important role in social media as it does elsewhere. Social media can be used to publish content, or it can be used to link to content. Either way, the more valuable the content, the more likely it is that consumers will engage with it.
Most social media sites give users – including brands – the option of sharing multiple types of content. On Facebook, for example, users can share text, images, videos and audio, as well as links. The right content strategy will involve a mixture of entertainment, information and promotion. For example, a video tutorial many increase customer trust in your brand, whilst a contest or giveaway could encourage shares/likes. And not only will this type of content stimulate interest in your brand, it will help to differentiate you from your competitors.
Making Yourself Heard
Despite social media being more ‘niche’ than search, some small businesses still find it difficult to stand apart from their competitors on social media platforms. However there are many different strategies which you can use to get your small business noticed. First and foremost, creating a dialogue with your customers is an integral part of gaining and keeping attention. Pay close attention to what your target audience are currently engaging with, how, and where, and use this information to generate your own social media content. Pay attention to current and upcoming social marketing trends, and make sure your engagement is consistent.
Elliot Hunter writes for Yorkshire based SEO company the Web Marketing Group.