A Quick Deep Dive Into Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
November 28, 2018
By: Jason Eisenberg Community Program Manager for Office Depot
The importance of social media marketing today is not lost on most business owners. In fact, 91% of retail brands have at least two social media accounts according to BrandWatch with 71% of small businesses using social content to draw in new customers. But intent can only get your business so far. Simply creating a business page or social media handle and spouting links related to your industry will not likely get you the results you want.
Maybe it could have worked in 2010…
Social media is a dynamic ecosystem that is always changing, so one strategy (paid or organic) that went gangbusters two years ago doesn’t guarantee it will carry over well now. That’s why it’s important to understand the philosophies of not just your audience, but of the social platform your business is utilizing.
Below, we will go over multiple social media tactics and philosophies that can help you strategize – and hopefully predict – what your next move should be to help your business grow. Once you understand how your business can benefit from a sound social media strategy, the message you want to convey can be received much clearer.
Social Media Is Becoming P2P
In general, your primary goal for social media is to create great brand awareness, engage with your customers online and direct your captivated audience to your website/blog. But as most digital marketers know, it’s getting harder to get people to click over to another website. That’s why there are new strategies to help connect businesses to people.
If there’s one thing to take away from this blog it’s this: the more connected our society becomes through technology, the stronger the need for people to connect person-to-person.
The Age of the Social Video
We’ve entered the age of social media videos – just scroll down your respective feeds for proof! A recent study by Smart Insights shows that, “In 2017, 90% of all content shared by users on social media was video”.
A few more staggering facts to consider about video content:
Facebook generates 8 billion views per day [Forbes]
YouTube has more than one billion users - almost a third of total internet users [WordStream]
90% of users say product videos are helpful in the decision-making process and 64% say they’re more likely to buy it online [Hubspot]
Many small business owners respond to this by saying they either don’t have the time, the skill or the equipment to produce videos. I’m going to negate each argument below. No excuses!
Skill: After you read this article, do me a favor and scroll down your favorite social media feed. How many videos with TV production value do you really come across? Not many! In fact, the uptick in social live streaming proves that customers want to interact with brands that appear genuine and have no frills. A behind-the-scenes live video with no editing conveys transparency – a term that should be a buzz word in the business world.
Equipment: In the same vein as skill, you don’t need the best camera or the best microphones to produce a video with good content. Yes, you’ll want to make sure the picture isn’t blurry and that people can hear and understand the audio. But the smartphone in your pocket and free editing software should do the trick for most quick social media videos.
Time: This is the bane of existence for business owners – particularly startups. As a business owner, you weigh out your priorities and some things will fall by the wayside. It’s up to you to identify which parts of your business need work and can bolster activity and which parts are fine being left on its own for the time being.
“Forty-three percent of marketers said they’d create more live videos if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget.” [Buffer, 2016].
In every single one of our Workonomy live stream discussions, my guests and I really see eye-to-eye on building a community for your customers. In 2018, Facebook shifted to a more community-oriented mission – effectively taking the wind out from under business pages and instead, propelling groups in news feeds. Because now, a page is where your customers show loyalty and stay up-to-date with their favorite brands. A group is where people come with questions and/or answers – ultimately leading to engagement.
Content is Still King/Queen
Marketing has become more customer-focused in recent years, and that’s the key to content. Your content has a few key goals to reach based on my experience:
If your content does these three things readers/viewers are more likely to trust your business, which means they’re more likely to come back and they’re more likely to share said content.
The only change is that the medium has changed. As mentioned before, video content is currently the cream of the crop in terms of online consumption but you shouldn’t stop there. Save your live video and place it on search engines like YouTube (with a great title and appropriate tags to improve search rankings). Write about the video – even just transcribing the dialogue in a blog post – will help your efforts in terms of search.
There are so many places to engage online with potential customers, it’s almost overwhelming to think about what platforms are best for your business. Before you commit to a platform, be sure to identify who your customers are and how people engage on each social platform (because believe it or not, they all behave a little differently).
Facebook – Still the most popular social media network – business pages, groups, live video, stories.
Twitter – A space for unique brands to share their voice, also great for social listening (customer care).
LinkedIn – Likely the best for B2B but also a great place to showcase your knowledge in a given industry.
Snapchat – Highly visual and temporary content that lasts 24 hours.
Pinterest – Great for niche businesses including DIY, lifestyle, food, fitness.
YouTube – Still one of the best search engines on the Internet, these videos are highly searchable. The rise in popularity of influencer marketing gives businesses without followers a chance to target their demographic through a popular YouTuber (strategically with a similar audience).
Yelp – This is absolutely social media in my book. At the very least, pay attention to your business on Yelp and respond to reviews – good and bad. As a local business, the goal is to humanize yourself. What better way than by having a conversation and trying to make it right with your customers.
Reddit – You can find anything on reddit if you know how to navigate it and it now has as many users as Twitter – but with higher engagement rates, according to Social Media Today.
I know, this was a lot to take in, but social media is not only huge for brand awareness and customer engagement, it can be quite cost-effective when done right. Whether it’s you, the CEO/founder, a new staffer you just hired, or a service your business depends on, don’t let social media marketing take a backseat.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
About the Author Jason Eisenberg is the Community Program Manager for Office Depot, specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. Based out of one of the most exciting cities for startups – Austin, TX – Jason is plugged into the business community, often connecting with thought leaders, entrepreneurs and strategists to help identify and find solutions to common pain points all business owners share.
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