Small business is nimble, personal, and flexible. A small company is not burdened by a complicated bureaucracy, large organisational chart, or huge size. When it comes to social media, a small business can move faster and connect quickly with followers and fans in an immediate, creative way.
Big business has some advantages, however, that smaller companies may overlook. As a small company, you can learn a lot from the practices and focus of your bigger corporate brothers and sisters. Let’s look at five social media tips taken from big business.
Tip 1: Understand the Goal
Big business understands that if your activities aren’t furthering your goals and strategies then you are just wasting your time. One of the challenges of small businesses is this?flexibility sometimes translates into time spent taking action without a clearly defined goal. Learn from big business and take a moment to define what you hope to accomplish with social media.
Social media can help your business in only three basic ways:
- It can increase grand awareness by increasing your reach in the market
- It can build customer loyalty through engagement and support
- It can increase sales by encouraging more people to purchase and increase the frequency of those purchases.
If your content, tweets, and social media activities aren’t aligned with one of these goals, your small business is wasting time, effort and money. Pick a goal, understand how social media can further that goal, and then align your tactics to the goal.
Tip 2: Content is King
Online marketing is content. If your company is marketing online, your company is in the publishing business. You need to think like a publisher and take steps to publish high quality content your customers want to read.
SEO and social media are not content themselves. You can study SEO and learn about social media. You can develop a winning strategy. You can optimise the content you generate. Unless you generate good content, however, you will be disappointed in the results.
Big businesses make sure the content they publish is top quality stuff. They work with quality writing teams or develop the writing skills of their in-house staff. They carefully edit the content before the publish it to make sure it is polished and compelling. They spend as much time, or more, on the content itself as they do on getting it noticed online.
Tip 3: Know Your Audience
Are you struggling to create content? Do you think your products are boring? Are you concerned that no one will read about the widgets you make or the services you offer? Maybe that’s because you are thinking like a small business.
People don?t care about products or services. People care about themselves and the way they are going to use the product or the need the service will meet. If you are writing about features and design instead of benefits and uses you are missing the mark.
Think about the home improvement giant Bunnings. They don’t write about paint, carpet and power tools. They write about home improvement projects and repairs. They are focused on the things people care about – their homes and their projects. Bunnings publishes lots of content on home improvement. Guess what? That content features products sold at Bunnings and shows how to use those products to create beautiful homes and gardens.
If you have a blog or newsletter that seems dry and boring, it’s time to really get to know your audience. What do they do with your products? How do your services benefit them? Come up with blog content ideas that focus on the needs and dreams of your audience and you will have compelling, interesting content.
Tip 4: Social Media is a Tool
Social media is fun. It is powerful. It engages customers and creates a buzz. It can take on a life of its own for a small business. At the end of the day, however, social media is just a tool businesses use to connect and talk to people. It?s nothing more than that.
You don’t need to be a social media expert to use Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook to reach your customers. You just need to know what your audience wants. With your audience and your business goals in mind, simply use the tool of social media to build trust and relationship in your customers.
Social media alone doesn’t generate revenue or lower costs. Social media simply helps you meet your marketing objectives. It’s a tool within a strategy. Go back to your strategy and see how you can best use the tools you have available, including social media.
Tip 5: Let the Story Go
You have a message. As a small business, you are busy building a brand and communicating your message, your story, to the world at large. You have a lot of control. At least, until you get involved with social media. Then you must let the story go.
Social media is organic at its roots. It?s electronic word of mouth marketing, and just like gossip the story will change as it’s told.
Big business isn’t afraid of customer feedback. They understand that some people will love their products and services. Some people will champion their brand. Others will not. They are not afraid of a little negative feedback. Their products are established and so is their reputation.
If your product has flaws and issues that you don’t want discussed, you better reconsider getting involved in social media. Social media won’t save your brand if your product isn’t worthy. It won?t cover up flaws or convince people to look the other way. It will simply drive traffic to your website and build trust in your business. Your product or service has to stand on its own.
Let the story go. Let people honestly express their opinions. They will anyway. Decide to follow up quickly when issues come to light. Use the flexibility and responsiveness of your small business to address and correct issues quickly and pleasantly. If you do, you have nothing to fear.