Today’s guest blog article is written by Todd – a Social Media Manager and Content Creator at Spaghetti Agency who helps businesses get found online with social media, content and websites. Click here to download a free copy of his eBook – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Twitter.
Ok, so you’ve heard about social media and you know it’s important. Or maybe you just know everyone is using it? Or maybe you’re so sick of hearing about it that you wish it would all disappear as fast as a Snapchat post?
Well whatever you think about social media, if you’re a small business then you don’t really have a choice – you must use it!
It used to be a choice. Some called it a fad. It used to be for only the few or the forward-thinking but now it’s the norm; it’s the basics, it’s the standard level that all small businesses should have.
Whether you’re on social media or not then you need to know what works. If you’re on it you’ll need to know that what you’re doing is worthwhile and if you’re not on it then it’s essential to get you going and understanding it.
Social media for small business is HUGE and you need to make this work for one very good reason: your competitors are already doing it. Some of them are good!
I don’t care what industry you’re in because I know that someone, somewhere who does what you do is working on some social media. You WILL miss out and I don’t think that’s right. Do you?
So here are 5 social media ideas and tips to help you manage your social media or to give you a very good idea what you’re missing out on.
Social media is all about comms, darling!
Social media… it’s all about talking, you know. It’s not (and I repeat) NOT about sales. If you head on over to Twitter, Facebook or any other channels and try to sell your wares don’t be surprised when you fail. People don’t like being sold to unless they’re looking for something.
Social media is online conversation. Find the conversation that is happening in your industry, local area, community or conference. If you’re involved in something, anything, find the social media chat for it.
The obvious ones are expos and business events. People, exhibitors, organisers, attendees will all be talking, networking on the Twitter hashtag for the event. Get involved and join in.
Talking about a common ground subject like an event will get you talking to all sorts of people and talk isn’t cheap – it’s relationship building!
Brand Awareness – Are You Aware Of It?
The phrase ‘Brand Awareness’ is branded around like the Emperor’s New Clothes at times. It’s invisible and you have to know what you’re looking for to see it… but unlike the fine stitching the Emperor wore (or didn’t) it’s real and very powerful to your business.
Coca-Cola, Nike, Apple, Sainsbury’s, Ford… when you hear those names you see something. You feel something. You instantly know what they do. That’s brand awareness. When I say your Business name you feel that… but do others? When others see your business name do they think “I’ve heard of them”?
If your brand isn’t memorable, recognisable or talked about, then it isn’t working very hard for your business. Social media interactions, messages, conversation and activity help to boost this awareness. The more people you speak to under your brand umbrella the more people will be ‘aware’ of your brand.
Couple social media together with a good networking strategy, advertising and mail campaigns and people will soon be very aware of your brand.
Websites Shouldn’t Be Lonely
You have a website, right? People go there hopefully and see your content and products/services, right? This is how people decide who to get to know in 2016.
We Google almost everything and when you hand out those business cards people go to your website. It’s an important place to have to call your own.
Social media can help people find your website and this benefits your business in two very important ways.
- They find your services, blogs and contact details and are one step closer to speaking to you. You spoke to someone, followed a business or got the attention of a potential client online and they’re interested – excellent work.
- The more people who find your business via social media, the more likely it is that Google will show your website to people looking for what you do. It’s great if people know your website and who you are already… well done you. But what about the people who need something and are looking on Google. Are you going to show up? Or are you hiding behind your competition?
Social signals (the number of visits to a site from social media) are an important ranking factor. The more you have, the better chance you have of showing up… just when your potential clients are searching.
Get your website some much-needed attention and share useful content and articles from your website on social media. Your web traffic will thank you later.
Social Media Is Something David Can Do That Goliath Can’t
Most marketing in your business requires money, backing, investors, collateral and heaps of it. If you sell running shoes then you have one hell of a task ahead of you. Big brands have big bucks and that means you’ll be nowhere at all in comparison to them.
But social media gives you the edge. Social media allows you to be in contact with the audience like never before and here’s the best bit: the big brands big bucks don’t count for nowt when up against your real, on-the-ground approach as a small business.
Social media for small businesses is like being served by a friendly face in your local shop instead of at Sainsbury’s self-checkout tills.
Big brands have people who really aren’t passionate or invested in the business talking to you. It often shows in their commitment to customer service! But the small shop has the business owner right there, or at least a few steps away.
Social media for small businesses is very much like this. It’s real, it’s personal, it’s a direct link with the consumer and the owner and that’s powerful. People buy people not big brands – social media gives you one hell of a powerful gain over Goliath.
I Want To Tell You A Story…
When you were young it’s likely that you were told stories and those stories had a message in them. Most were designed to make you be a better person and to not tell lies (The Boy Who Cried Wolf). Think about it. You remember those stories and there’s a very good reason why.
The human brain remembers things that have a sequence; a set of events linked together. Stories help us remember complicated things as well as important life lessons.
Your small business has a story.
The people in it, the reason it’s there, the ongoing story is being written all the time. The new recruit, that latest award, the new exciting product you’re about to launch. All these things form a part of your story and so do the coffee mornings, the watercooler moments and that hot window cleaner that comes every other Wednesday. Trust me – all this builds your story.
Telling the story of your business helps people to remember it, it helps them to think of you when they need you and it helps them to care about you.
When someone involves you in their story, it’s powerful, moving and memorable.
Storytelling on social media is as simple as updating the world on what’s happening in your business that involves the people, the heroes, the villains and all those in between in your business. Make yourself memorable by telling your story… it’s simpler than you think.
Small Businesses Who AREN’T Social ARE Missing out
I won’t bore you with facts like “92% of small business that use social media agree that social is important for their business”. I just wouldn’t want to bore you with stats like “81% of small businesses are using social media to market their business”. I feel stats are cold and unhelpful… however impressive!
The fact is that social media is here to stay and you have the option to make it work, use it, ignore it, run away from it, abuse it, fail it, spam it, push it, sink it or swim it. Social media is changing the way we vote, buy, and live. It’s forming new families and alliances and it’s even helping us improve relationships across the world.
Are you using social media to help your small business? Or are you using an excuse instead?