You’ve read all the blogs, done all the research, launched a kick-ass website, opened your doors and created a Facebook page for your UK based small business… but what happens next? How do you find those customers and importantly, how do you turn one client into many?
Banging the drum.
You know that your offering is good, you know your level of service is excellent, you just need customers to start using you and they’ll realise it too. Now is the time to start making potential customers aware of your brand and what you do. This is where social media comes in. In terms of being able to find your customers and importantly more people like your customers, Social Media is hands down the easiest and most cost-effective way to reach out to a new audience.
It should come as no surprise that 94% of small businesses globally are using social media as part of their marketing strategies. Doing it effectively, however, is something that many aren’t yet doing.
Cost Effective Marketing
Social Media is free – it’s also not free (more of that later).
All the major social channels; Twitter, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, do not include registration fees. With LinkedIn, there are premium account options, but they are entirely optional, and the free version is just as effective.
Cost effective methods are a huge advantage for small businesses, not only because you can reach a large number of people at a small cost, but you will see a greater return on investment and retain a bigger budget for other marketing and long-term business expenses.
One thing to bear in mind, however, is that increasingly social media has become a ‘pay-to-play’ medium – much like traditional media forms. You can create tonnes of great content but unless you’re prepared to spend money on targetting people via paid promotion of that content, your amazing content will never be seen. However, budgets can be small and still get incredible returns and conversion rates are through the roof compared to traditional mediums like press advertising.
Test, test, and test again.
We currently spend some very large budgets for blue-chip clients on Facebook and other social media channels, but everything we do starts with small budgets and intensive ad testing. Once we have a receptive audience then (if budgets allow) we recommend spending the available advertising budgets appropriately. That being said we have some customers who spend just £50 a week on adverts who get incredible returns.
Increase Brand Awareness
There are 2.7 billion people globally using social media channels. Think about that statistic for a second. The total world population is approximately 7.6 billion people. Just under half of the world’s population is using some form of social media network. This is what makes them such amazing ways to reach new potential customers. If you think people only connect with brands they already know on social media, you are wrong. 60% of Instagram users say they discover new products from brands they have never heard of on this particular platform, and users follow more brands on social media than they do celebrities.
Making it work for you
Good content is what transforms your brand’s social accounts from a cork board of discount codes and promotions to a page where users stay engaged and want to interact with the content you are producing.
Social media helps you to ‘showcase’ your company’s products/ services, along with expressing your mission, values, and objectives as a business. You are not only targeting the right audience, but you are also engaging with them, which in return will help promote your business over time.
Implementing a social media strategy will greatly increase your brand recognition, as you will begin to engage with a wide audience of consumers. Simply having people interact with your social media posts, will increase your brand awareness and begin building your brands online reputation.
Every time your post is shared, it is introduced to a new network of individuals. This can lead to them becoming potential customers and the more customers that know about your business the better. You only have to invest a few hours a week into your social media content, over 91% of marketers claim that their social media marketing efforts greatly increased their exposure. Naturally, your brand will benefit from having a social media page.
With regular use and updates, you can generate a wide audience.
Search Engine Rankings
Posting on social media will increase traffic to your website, more effort is required in order to see significant success. SEO (search engine optimization) is highly important for your business so that it will rank higher in search engines and increase traffic to your website.
Although social media doesn’t directly increase your search ranking engine rankings, Social Media Examiner states that more than 58% of marketers who have used social media for a year or more, will see an improved search engine ranking. Ranking on the first page of results will revolutionise your traffic and generate positive results for your business.
Nearly everyone uses Google to find information, and they are not likely to look past the first page, as their answer is usually at the top of page 1. For a better chance of ranking higher, create high-quality social media posts that integrate your keywords. Posting links to your blogs, infographics and case studies, will all make your social media profiles credible and inviting. As you post quality content, you’ll begin to build up a community online, where your followers will like and share your content.
Customer Interaction and Satisfaction
For any small business, establishing a strong, loyal customer base is the basis of your success, and this is done with customer interaction. First and foremost, social media is a networking and communication platform. Providing your businesses with a social media platform gives your customers a voice and almost ‘humanises’ your company.
You may have a phone number and email address to communicate with your customers, which is great, but with social media, you are promoting quicker and more personal interaction. Customers find great appreciation in knowing that if they are to post comments on your page, they will receive a personalised response, rather than an automated message.
Here you can speak to your prospective and established customers directly, whilst establishing a company voice. Answering a user’s query left as a comment on your latest post, may finalise their decision to purchase from you, rather than your competitor. Enquiries left on social media pages have a better chance of reaching the right people, who can actually answer the question, than other traditional methods.
As you acknowledge each comment, you are showing your page visitors that you are attentive to their needs. Every interaction you have on social media with your audience, is an opportunity to demonstrate your compassion and customer focus publicly.
A brand that is devoted to customer service and satisfaction, that also takes the time to reply with personal messages, will automatically be viewed positively, even if you are responding to a customer complaint.
Developing a loyal customer base is one of the main goals of almost all businesses. Brand loyalty and customer satisfaction go hand in hand. It is important to regularly engage with consumers and develop a relationship with them. With social media, you are not just limited to introducing your products and promotional campaigns, customers can view these platforms as service channels where they can communicate directly with the business.
Social media is highly important if your brand’s target market are millennials. This generation, born between the 1980’s and early 2000’s are known for being the most loyal customers of all. Millennials are the largest generation in history and will soon consume the market. This segment of customers are 62% more loyal to brands that directly engage with them on social media.
The tech-savvy generation want to communicate with their brands, and businesses (especially SMEs) must implement social media marketing in order to gain the attention of their most influential customers.
A core group of highly engaged fans is now valuable to a SME more than ever. This group may be small in numbers, but their engagement and interactions are more beneficial to your marketing efforts than millions of disengaged followers.
Social media allows you to promote your website content. This is a great way to expose your useful, reliable and well thought-out content to new people that may be looking for a solution to a problem. By providing your expertise you will grow your audience.
When consumers search for a particular business or product, and they do not find any information from your social media or website, they are going to assume you do not have any and move on. If you are actively promoting your content on social media, you are demonstrating that you have a wealth of useful knowledge and solutions to what they are looking for.
Engagement on social media has a snowball effect. When one person interacts with your post, it is notifying the channels algorithm that your content is valuable. As more and more people engage with the post, promoting its value, the algorithm will deliver it to more and more news feeds.
With multiple benefits such as, promoting content, improved customer loyalty and increasing brand awareness, which ultimately make a business more successful, social media is a viable resource which you should tap into for your SME.
At Shareable we’re passionate about connecting our clients with their customers. If you want a free, no strings chat about how you can use social media for your business growth then please do drop us a line – we’re only too happy to help.