How should small businesses utilise social media
Firstly, you can, and should be competing with the big boys. You know what’s going on locally, you know the dialect, you can target local people online. Dominos don’t do that. Sure they’ve got a bigger marketing budget but they have to make sure that fits in with the people in John O’Groats the same way that it fits in with people in Southampton. They need to work with big city and rural areas all in the same advert so you know what, their adverts are boring and end up appealing to no-one in particular.
What can you do?
Firstly, we can’t stress this enough, if you haven’t got a website, get one (need help?). If you are a mechanic and someone heads to Google to type in MOT and their local area, Google will bring up some phone numbers but it will favour websites. Even if you just have a four/five page website that has a list of services, a bit about the company and people, a ‘how to find us’ page and a page with contact details you’re head and shoulders above everyone else that does not have a website. Bonus points if you can put on a price list (as that is always what people want to know without having to resort to picking up the phone). This also allows remarketing to anyone who ends up here (we’ll get to that later) and we speak about SEO somewhere else on the site.
Find out how to work Facebook
No-one expects you to go from social media zero to hero yourself, or quickly. We’ve seen it so many times, having a Facebook page is great. Posting is great. Posting wrongly can actually harm your business. Yes, read that again.
Posting poor content, for the sake of it means that gradually Facebook will show your content to fewer and fewer people. This means if you only post sales info, or opening times you should probably start to spice it up a bit. Some funny memes, pictures, videos, reviews, showcase your work – it all adds up to engaging content that will be shared and clicked and Facebook likes that as it keeps people on their platform for longer, allowing them to serve more adverts to people.
Think about this, you don’t see anything from a friend online for ages then all of a sudden they go “viral” with a baby or wedding/engagement announcement. That’s because they announced it, then their ‘inner ring’ of friends liked it, commented etc, this caused their ‘outer ring’ to see it, all of a sudden they’ve liked/commented and everyone, including friends of friends are also seeing it. The same thing happens when a company announces job openings, friends tag friends, share the post and thousands of people see it.
What can you do
This is not meant as a sales aid but simply guide to small business social media marketing. We can help, we can provide tailored in house training for your employees for social media. Looking for other tips? Start a posting schedule and post regularly. Think about content you like from competitors and replicate it – use videos, get someone on camera showing you how to use a product, get a client giving a testimonial, use infographics, share some memes that are relevant in your field. Read a few blogs about creating engaging content.
Don’t ask your friends, and your friends-friends to like your page, unless it truly appeals to them
Going on the point above, if someone likes your page just because they’re a friend it is pointless. Facebook will show them a post, they won’t interact with it and therefore Facebook will think that the content is not engaging and therefore show it to less people. This is one of the reason that we don’t really consider how many “likes” your page has as a good metric. Who cares is your small chip shop has a million likes if no-one engages with your content and it doesn’t get shared.
Get local help
Please, for the love of your business, don’t head online type in “social media marketing near me” and sign up with someone from the other end of the country. Don’t sign up with the cheap company based in India, don’t sign up with the provider of your domain name – they don’t know your business. They don’t know your area, they don’t know your clients, they don’t know how the locals think.
It matters. The difference of a few miles, from Glasgow to Edinburgh is the difference between getting “salt and vinegar” or “salt and sauce” on your chips. And each side looks at the other funny, but they understand each others point of view. We’re not saying we wouldn’t work on clients in Southampton, or Norwich, but we’d have a harder time understanding the intricacies of their needs than if I were dealing with someone in Glasgow, Edinburgh or on the Coast. We’ve spent a lot of time working in London so we understand a lot of the big city way of thinking but we’re also from outside the city so we’ve got an “out of the city” understanding too. This happens to be handy but it doesn’t mean that we’ll know the right words to use when marketing Liverpool and making sure we don’t exclude the Red side or the Blue side.
Get a local agency. Sit down with a real physical person.
Go out for coffee (to get away from the distractions of your office) but sit down with a real person. Ask them about their lives, their likes and dislikes, their family and interests. Get a feel for who you’ll be working with (not just the “account manager”). You’ll feel much better working with someone whom you have seen the ‘white of their eyes’. You’ll feel better when something comes across and you don’t like it and you can discuss with the person because they’re more like a friend now too. This also goes back to the point above about local help – you’ll get a feel for their experience, how they know your business, industry and niche and they’ll tell you exactly how they can help. You’ll get comfortable dealing with them and they’ll do the same and you’ll both get more out of it.
Did we say LOCAL?
Local clients, local agent, local SEO, local strategy. Plus you’ll all be able to go out for a coffee and have a chat on a more regular basis than if you were dealing with an agency who were based 300 miles away and had to make a big day to come up and see you. It’s much better when you feel like you could bump in to them around town.
On top of all this, they’ll already know your competition without taking up huge amounts of time doing local research just to get to know your area – they’ll have an idea of your clientele and an idea of what other things are happening in your area, already giving them the one-up on another agency you hire from across the country.
Work as a team
Make inroads yourself then act as your own guide to small business social media marketing to help others. Local companies can really rally within a community like bigger companies won’t. Small local companies care, they get to know customers. Larger companies tend to have employees as managers who will enforce the “9 to 5, I-just-work-here” policy. If you are a restaurant, get together with the local cinema and run an offer together. Beauty therapist, strike a deal with the best hairdressers in town. There’s loads of potential opportunities that you can work with, perhaps you offer the “best day out” and team up with a few local businesses offering a giveaway for one lucky group – evening out, cinema, restaurant, club, hotel room – then get all of the companies involved to share, making sure they also tag each business – this gives you great exposure and great local awareness.
You know when you’re scrolling through social media and something pops up that you were visiting a few days ago and you think it’s a bit creepy that they knew you were looking at it. That’s called re-marketing.
This is the one thing most small businesses don’t do, because it does get semi-technical. How many times have you been on the train, seen an advert for something and thought to yourself you were going to buy it then your train stops, you get off and never visit that site again. Or perhaps you are scrolling through Facebook online while the adverts are on TV and when your show comes back on Facebook goes off. If you’re doing this to companies then other people are likely doing this for you. It’s relatively simple to set up but it is key that you make sure you send out the right message to the right people but you can make your advert pop up in front of that customer, who has already been looking at your site and you can give them a gentle nudge. It can be set so that you don’t pester them with adverts and the cost can be set low as well – but, in our experience this is one of the best ways of reminding customers you exist and these customers have already expressed an interest in you, why wouldn’t you want that nudge?
The advantage truly is yours
So, small business owners, you really do have the advantage over the big businesses all you needed was guide to small business social media marketing. You can speak to your customers like they can’t you can organise, they can’t, you can work as a team, they won’t!
If it ever feels a bit overwhelming just give us a call, or drop us an email and ask what we’d do if we were in your shoes. It might only cost you the price of boiling the kettle.