How Small Businesses Can Beat Out Big Brands Using Social Media Marketing
Often in the internet marketing and website marketing worlds, small to midsize companies are at a disadvantage when compared to their large competitors due to smaller marketing budgets and fewer resources. One of the areas where it’s easier for small organizations to compete is through social media marketing, because it has a low-barrier to entry, and, when done right, is more about the quality of your presence and how you use the tools available, than the size of your budget.
How can your small business use Social Media Marketing to drive business away from your competitors?
- Create fresh content that your target audience will love. We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of creating fresh, relevant content for your website and blog, but blogging once in a while won’t be enough to beat our your large competitors. To be effective, you need to develop a content creation schedule that allows you to continuously add new and exciting content to your website, that tie into your SEO strategy and can be shared on your social profiles. Just because a company is large, doesn’t mean that they’re any more capable of creating interesting blog posts or creative web content.
- Allocate the appropriate resources. One advantage that big brands often have over small companies is their ability to hire dedicated social media specialists to focus solely on connecting with their customers through social media. We know that this sounds like a big investment, but even though social media is a free channel, effectively utilizing it to beat out larger competitors requires dedicated time, funding and management. If you can’t hire a social media specialist, consider scheduling time in your marketing specialists day that is specifically for social media marketing research and implementation.
- Utilize your social flexibility. When it comes to big companies, one of the biggest advantages that small businesses have is the fact that they don’t have as rigid sets of rules, regulations and policies around social media, content creation and interaction with their customers. This gives smaller organizations enormous power because unlike their larger cousins, they’re able to create content on the fly, respond in a timely fashion and not worry so much about corporate bureaucracy. We find that companies that aren’t restricted by corporate structure have social accounts that are more genuine and appealing to a wider audience.
- Make sure that your profile is interesting, branded and unique. Large brands often beat out their smaller competitors by spending the money to develop unique, branded backgrounds and customized graphics for their social accounts, which go a long way to making the account more interesting (and credible) in the eyes of your target audience. This cost may seem like a lot initially, but in the long run, this will help distinguish you from your competitors, regardless of your size. Make sure that you’re also using the custom features available in some social networks, like the tabs available in Facebook, to help customize your page and set yourself apart.
- Use analytics to determine what your audience is looking for. Your social analytics are an important way to determine what content your audience is really interested in. In Facebook you can get this information through the “insights” tab, but with some other social tools like Twitter, it’s not as easy. We often suggest using third-party applications like Hootsuite, which offers indepth analytics for Twitter and other social accounts, and tracking your website traffic through the segment features in your Google Analytics accounts.
- Keep up with current trends. One of the biggest things that a social media specialist does is they track the current trending topics and issues in social media and utilizes them to the advantage of their brand. They’re also on top of the newest social tools, sites and applications. Remember: your customers are probably keeping track of these and if you’re not keeping up with them, you may lose credibility in the eyes of your audience.
- Point everything back to your website. Social media accounts are an important part of your strategy, but they all serve another purpose: to direct relevant traffic back to your marketing hub, your website. Try to make sure that each of your accounts clearly points users back to your website whether through links to your content, your pages or posts, or by directly asking them to visit. Even if you’re a small business, if someone finds you relevant in social media and then arrives at your website, they’ve probably already established a level of trust through your social accounts that they don’t have with your competitors, even if they have larger budgets, flashier websites or more advertising dollars.
- Have a good product or service. At the end of the day, the best thing that you can do to help your brand compete through social media marketing is to have a great product or service that you’re proud to promote and share. Having this is the most important part of your strategy because it helps your social media specialists to be passionate and happy about what their promoting, it encourages social media users to talk about your brand and helps you build a loyal following. Without a strong product or service, your social media marketing is built on a weak foundation, and, no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be as successful with it as you hope to be.