Five simple social media tips to promote your SME business
If you can engage with your followers and make use of their content for your brand’s social media posts, it will be good from a relationship-building standpoint. But remember to reward them for quality content.
In the last edition of Smart Growth, we had outlined the importance of social media marketing for an SME (small and medium enterprise), the starting point for which is a good plan. Plan slow and act fast should be the mantra here. Once the plan is decided, start the execution. Social media is changing by the day, so start small, and learn what works for your company and industry.
In order to do so, first identify the right platforms for your business. Should you be using Facebook (FB), Instagram (Insta), Twitter (TW), or TikTok? If your target audience comprises millennials, you may think that they are not on TikTok or Instagram. Do not make such assumptions. Millennials are more than 35 years old today. Apparently, 41 percent of them only use FB, while 68 percent use Instagram and TikTok.
On the other hand, if you are aiming your offerings at Gen Z, do not assume they are not into FB much. Over 50 percent still use FB big time. It’s not just SMEs, even large companies often make such wrong assumptions.
Find out the demographic usage of popular platforms before you decide which all to use. Where does your target group (TG) hang out online and for how long? Just high-level guidance will do so that you don’t waste resources shooting blindly on social media.
You can also plan to use a mix of social media platforms to reach out to different segments and learn what works best. Some experts say an average user has over eight social media accounts, which means you will have enough opportunities to reach them one way or the other. Many companies now use Insta or FB for lead generation, and TW for customer support.
Once you have a broad idea of the relevant platforms you want to be present on, focus on learning more about your target customers and audience. The real advantage of using social media is that it is possible to do micro-targeting and personalised messaging. For that, however, you need to have the right data about your audience. If you know your customers (much beyond the KYC regulations of bankers), you should start using social media data to know how they interact with you online. What are they sharing? Which hashtags do they use? Which of these are relevant for your business or industry?
One approach used by B2B companies is the creation of buyer personas. To do this you really need to analyse your customers segments so that you can plan your SM interactions better. Creating buyer personas is a different topic altogether and we will cover that in one of the upcoming columns.
More critical than personas is how you plan to engage your customers and build relationships with them. If you use an execution framework like the balanced scorecard (will cover this too in another column), you will find that to build and execute your strategy, you need to simultaneously work on your short, medium, and long-term goal-oriented processes – all at the same time. Building relationships will take time, and should not delay work on expanding your customer base as it will take a few weeks or even months to acquire new customers, unless it’s for a low involvement product category.
When one-to-one marketing was first conceived by the authors Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, there was no social media as we know it today. For SMEs, social media offers the best opportunity for a direct dialogue with their customers, and also to convert them into followers and advocates. Therefore, refrain from hard sell while interacting on social media, as you would have seen other brands do.
The sale pitch is for later, once your content marketing is under way. Most people on social media do some sort of research for their purchases or needs, and this is where you should help by surfacing your offerings. Remember to commit at least one resource for responding to the audience in a timely manner.
Most social media sites use third party cookies to track what members do online. Based on that they pipe ads to their web pages. Engagement is a key element by which their algorithm predicts what posts users will engage with more.
Now that you have some clarity on your audience and building relationships, let’s look at how to grow your customer base. How do you get more people to like your posts and follow you on platforms of your choice? Remember how food outlets, food delivery platforms, OTT platforms, and local retailers latched on to social media during the pandemic time to acquire new customers? Many offered free delivery, an extended free trial period, discounts for first-time customers, and so on.
Create groups where possible – FB, WhatsApp, and Telegram allows this. For instance, if you run a housecleaning service, you can create a blog and a group for tips on maintaining safety, health, and sanitation.
Tag the relevant celebrities and influencers on your posts. Choose them based on your target audience and their interests. If your audience comprises film buffs, tagging movie stars might be helpful. But if you are a niche business, tag thought leaders or industrialists in that industry. While selecting influencers in your domain, even a 2,000-strong following is good in B2B.
Another way you can build both a wider audience as well as deeper relationships is by using user-generated content and brand hashtags. This will ease the burden of generating quality content. If you can engage with your followers and make use of their content for your posts, it will be good from a relationship-building standpoint. But remember to reward them for quality content.
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