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Social Media and Small Businesses

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Only engaging with customers in store or in person isn’t an option for most small businesses these days. Good thing social media platforms can be used (for free, or near to it) to connect with current and potential customers, get your brand on people’s minds, promote your products and services, and increase traffic to sales points (like your website)!

Growing your brand awareness

Unless your social media marketing strategy involves some paid promotions and work with search engine optimization (SEO), your brand awareness bubble will start small—probably mostly your friends and family and your earliest customers. But that’s ok! You can work your way up the social media sophistication ladder to use tools like retargeting, but starting out with simple, consistent engagement with followers can earn you big returns.

First, create and share content that relates to your business (products, services, customer solutions, industry news, etc.) that generates conversation about your brand. Social media conversation can look like direct comments and communication between you and your customer; your content being shared by users because it’s valuable to them (ex. something funny, tips or tricks to solve a problem, etc.); asking for feedback on products/services (ex. Anyone who shopped our sale this weekend, what was your bargain find? Show us a picture!); and asking open-ended questions that engage customers (ex. We’re thinking of expanding our store—what do you want to see on our shelves?).

We already know that consumers are more likely to buy from brands they recognize. When you start small by getting current shoppers to follow you on social media, the next step is getting them to share your content or interact with you so that your name starts popping up in the feeds of their friends.

Promoting your products and services

The key to this is that your content shouldn’t feel like an ad. What’s valuable to social media users is what to do with your products and services. Or how to solve a problem. You could promote your hand-crafted oils and vinegars by post recipes and tutorials using those ingredients. Content that includes photos and short videos always do better than straight text.

Promoting sales, giveaways, new or replenished products, and collaborations is also easy to do on social media. Collaborations with other local businesses can be a great way to grow your exposure, brand awareness, and online engagement. You could pair up with a complimentary small business for a cross-business discount (ex. Get a 20% coupon to Ye Local Flower Shoppe when you buy chocolates from us this week!) or for a holiday package giveaway that is then promoted by both businesses to their existing business base.

In the end, promoting your business can be as simple as posting frequent, beautiful photos of your store, clerks, products, etc. on Instagram—people love following accounts that make them smile!

Increasing your traffic

Drumming up engagement with customers on your social media accounts is an excellent step toward driving them to the places where they can spend money at your business. This could be by driving followers to your website or to your brick-and-mortar store. In general, social media channels give you more diverse inbound traffic streams than simply relying on search engines to do all the heavy lifting.