Level Playing Field: How to Use Social Media to Mix in with the Big Boys
The business marketing landscape looks very different now to how it used to be and if you are running a small business and only have a tiny budget compared to a global brand you now have the chance to use social media to level things out and compete on what could be considered equal terms.
Here is a look at some social media strategies that can help you to punch above your weight and connect with your customers in a positive way, including why a social media presence is a necessity, how to hone your strategy, and what you need to do to build your brand successfully.
You have to have a social presence
We have now reached a point where any business that lacks a social presence and doesn’t use social media to engage with their customers runs the risk of becoming irrelevant and might even make people question their legitimacy.
Having an active social media presence demonstrates a forward-thinking attitude and shows everyone that you care about your business and want to encourage dialogue with existing and potential customers.
One of the major dilemmas facing plenty of small business owners is not whether they should be using social media to market their business and raise their profile but how to fulfill that requirement as effectively as possible.
Consulting SEO experts in Marin is one way of developing a strategy using the know-how of someone who is well-versed in the intricacies of social media marketing, and there are also some tips you can learn to make sure you spend your marketing budget as cost-effectively as possible.
Define your goals
A good starting point would be to define exactly how you want social media to help your business.
By setting a number of clear objectives at the beginning you are helping to create a set of marker points that can be tracked and measured to see how you are progressing. For example, look beyond simply trying to achieve a certain number of likes and shares on Facebook or retweets on Twitter and set some tangible goals such as building brand awareness and gaining a certain amount of new customers.
Building brand awareness is not always that easy to specifically quantify other than a growing number of visitors to your social media pages and an upturn in sales inquiries, which are not exactly bad pointers that your marketing efforts are proving successful.
Gaining new customers comes with driving more traffic to your site and then converting a percentage of these visitors into paying customers.
A strong social media presence will help to increase engagement levels with your customers and as well as gaining positive feedback you can also benefit from people mentioning your brand and business to others within their social media group.
Focus on the right social media networks
It is not simply a case of building your presence across a variety of different social media platforms and you have to adjust your strategy as and when you discover which networks work best for your products and services.
You can often find that a scattergun approach will dilute your effectiveness and by narrowing down the field for your small business by focusing on the channels that seem to work best for your business you should then be able to hone your content to appeal to the right followers.
You need to be proactive
If you walk past a store every day that doesn’t change the window display or the offers you are increasingly less likely to walk inside and check it out, which is the sort of scenario you have to keep in mind with social media marketing.
You have to be proactive and post new content and comments frequently. Look to post a new photo or maybe some sort of call-to-action incentive message on sites like Facebook at least once a day at the least and remember that the global brands have teams of people posting updates constantly.
Keeping the content fresh encourages further engagement so be prepared to put in the work and update your pages with new and interesting information that invite comment from your audience.
A key objective is to use social media to build your brand and encourage loyalty with those that follow your business online so it’s important that you manage to achieve uniformity across all channels.
Keep the same logo and tagline as this is the visual that will ultimately stick with your audience and create a connection every time they see it. Keep the tone and voice the same too, as this is another aspect of building the personality of your brand that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Using social media is simple in many respects but you have to work at it, although the rewards can be great and it does give your small business a real chance of competing against someone much larger, which wouldn’t be the case in many other business environments.
Alex is an internet entrepreneur who has been working in the software industry for over 20 years. He finished his undergrad at the University of Southern California, studied Computer Science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and received his full-time MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Indiana University.
He has been delivering technology and business results in a demanding industry to employers such as IBM Global Services, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, eBay, and others. In his last job, he grew his SEO expertise by ranking marketing campaigns on the 1st page of Google for global brands in the financial services, airline and hotel industries.
Alex started Vertical Media Labs as a natural progression to his prior accomplishments. He enjoys helping clients grow their business by combining proven technology and business practices in the area of SEO. He is a Google Partner and has a competitive attitude toward getting the best SEO results for his clients. In his free time, Alex enjoys hiking, camping and mountain biking.