Social media democratised communication to both the global market and targetted audiences.
With over 3 billion active users globally, you have near-infinite opportunities presented at your fingertips.
It is only limited by your imagination, your capability to meet the demand, and your willingness to push your business' frontiers.
It's Effortless for Personal Use
Chances are you're like me: we have at least an account on one platform.
You'll find that personal social media management is effortless. You post a photo to capture, a quote, an experience or an opinion every now and then.
When it comes to your business' social media, the rules of engagement change. Publishing photos of babies and kids on a marketing consultancy's LinkedIn feed would not always go down well. Nor does #OOTD help real estate agents/brokers position themselves.
So how would social media work for your business, firm, or brand?
Six Reasons Why Your Business Should Go Social and Digital?
1. Building Awareness
Why are businesses on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? To get to the top of their audiences' minds. When your audience does not know you, how would they hire you?
Social media supplements other media through complex tools that rank your company's, product's, and service's relevance according to the behaviours of your audience.
Apparel companies understand this. As a basic need, everyone is a potential customer. But consumers are complex. At a certain stage, attire becomes an expression of social status, community, or interests.
Take a pair of leather pants. While it's still apparel, not everyone would look for it. Consumers in warmer, tropical climates would not look for it for daily wear. There are pockets who would. We're looking at bikers, individuals with leather fetishes, and musicians are among the potential buyers. Going through the list, you can picture that the needs, wants, and desires would differ from one segment to the next, even though the subject matter is the same.
It does not take much to set up your shop's page on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WeChat, and other platforms. In fact, it's often free.
2. Communicating your Authority
Internet penetration is in the triple digits.
What does that mean for you? Most of your potential customers would look you up before reaching out to you.
In business, it's called "due diligence".
Even before I enrolled int the many American Writers & Artists, Inc (AWAI) courses, I did my own check. I've heard of them since the late 2000s. But are they legitimate or a scam? What did other people say about them? Once I'm happy with my findings, I gladly signed up for my first courses: Getting B2B Clients: How to Land Great Clients Fast in Just 6 Easy Steps and How to Write White Papers that Command Top Fees.
You communicate your authority by sharing testimonials, case studies, and showcase thought leadership. The more relevant content you have, the easier it is to answer what's on your customer's mind:
"What's in it for me?"
3. Show Authenticity
Social media is, well, social. For businesses, it still has to project that persona of a credible business.
Your language, on the other hand, should be conversational.
Confine the rigid tone to official communication attached to the post. More importantly, the tone should fit your brand.
4. Encourage Engagement
Social media evolve to remain social. Once upon a time, there was no such thing as Facebook Livestreams. Yet, it's almost a common practice today. Likewise, you have Instastories. Tik Tok is on the rise as well.
As a business, you don't have to do everything or have a complex set up. Look at YouTube. Some thought leaders and trainers have a camera, adequate lighting, clear audio, and a whiteboard behind them.
Remember, the media is a channel, a medium, to communicate your message and persona. Encourage social engagement.
It won't be easy in the beginning.
That's where consistency is key.
5. Provide Support
Users and consumers turn to social media to express their frustration, share feedback, or look something up.
Look at Verizon or AT&T's Twitter. Users converge there not only to get the latest update. It acts as the 'customer support' channel as well. You can only imagine the volume of queries, complaints, and feedback the team receives.
Your ability to respond to something so public is also a measure of concern. The more concerned a company is towards its customers and stakeholders, the better they are perceived.
6. Grow Affordably
Social media allows small businesses and professionals to grow and scale their businesses while bypassing traditional marketing channels.
Social media platforms are also doing their best to demonstrate their value by introducing different tools and dashboards to measure your campaigns and exercises.
Let's step back a moment. Your social media marketing campaign does not have to involve major ad agencies and a budget of millions. Not in the beginning when you're a small business or professional.
It can be as simple as what 20 posts will you publish this month? Do you see any increase in engagement and traffic? Where are they coming from? Who are they?
This exciting feedback loop allows you to consider your next steps grounded in data.
You can target these campaigns and efforts based on the audience segment, promotion, or sales campaign in a scalable manner.
Social media content marketing is easy and straight forward. Yet, why aren't many small businesses and professionals doing it?
Seven Challenges Small Businesses and Professionals Face
1. Lack of Time
Small businesses and professionals often lack the people, time, and resources. Everyone is busy doing some operational or administrative functions that this marketing function takes a backburner. Sometimes, it becomes an afterthought.
Real estate agents and brokers, for example, have tonnes on their plates. They have to look for properties, hold viewings, deal with lawyers and bankers, create marketing collaterals, attend meetings with their teams, updating their MLS, and manage the paperwork.
Accountants, bookkeepers, counselors, and other consultants/professionals are no different.
There is always something new introduced in the social media marketing world. Stories, messages, tags, live streams, groups, and pages.
These are just the beginning.
It can appear overwhelming to those already preoccupied with operational and administrative work.
Adding social media to the mix is not as appealing, despite knowing its benefits.
3. Immediate Results
Small businesses and professionals need immediate results. Without sales, there is no revenue to sustain the enterprise.
Yet, there is another resource that's finite: the prospects list.
Eventually, businesses and professionals would run out of leads to follow up with. This leads to a neverending cycle of prosperity-and-panic.
Marketing serves to help grow your pool of leads beyond your warm contacts. Marketing collaterals also help filter your ideal customers and preparing them before they engage you.
Marketing is an investment that requires time and effort as you deliver your service.
4. Customers are not on Social Media
"My customers are not on social media."
Only a handful of the population is not on social media. These are the uber-rich or those who do not have Internet access.
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak is pushing most of the population to social and digital media. Brick and mortar businesses are forced to go digital to communicate with their customers.
Adoption of digital and social marketing is pushed to the limelight as more consumers turn to their smartphones and computers, working from home.
Even retirees - once seen as a group far from technology - integrate smart devices seamlessly into their lifestyle.
Customers and users are congregating on social and digital media. So are people who advise them on a daily basis.
5. Too Much Work
Some businesses and professionals feel that there's too much work involved.
They're intimidated by the different functions of managing a social and digital community.
It begins with planning, followed by executing the content (visual, audio, and copy) which includes compliance with regulatory or franchise requirements, engaging with Internet users, and scheduling the publication.
Some may be crippled by the elusive idea of the perfect visual content. Others are worried about how to layout the content.
Most have to fight the daunting white screen staring straight back at them as writer's block loom overhead.
In the end, they feel the effort best be redirected to other aspects of the business like sales, operations, or administrative.
Marketing means putting your business, product, service, expertise, and persona out there. Many business owners and professionals feel that this makes them vulnerable.
Alas, as brands become visible, they will attract their band of fans and critics. A business that lacks a form of opposition is non-existent.
As a business, the question is how would you address those shortfalls? Is it even necessary to cater to what your target audience's needs? Otherwise, how else can you refine what you have to offer?
Above all, how are you going to manage the customer experience resulting from that rare anomaly? It really is an operational and customer service question, not one of the social media or digital marketing.
7. Fast Moving Pace of Social Media Platforms
Social and digital media is a fast-paced environment that leaves many businesses struggling to keep up. It becomes intimidating for those already drowning in other tasks and priorities leaving social and digital media marketing on the shelf for months on end.
Some businesses and professionals may already have their social and digital platform accounts. Some are ambitious by having accounts on more than one platform. Volume does not always mean efficiency or accuracy.
Five Mistakes Small Businesses and Professionals Make in Social Media Marketing
1. Funds Solve Everything
Pouring money into a campaign can help your marketing. However, it's merely a catalyst or lubrication to a vehicle or an engine. You need to know where you are and where you're going. No amount of lubrication can help you reach your destination if you don't know where you're going. It also helps to distinguish the activities under marketing: advertising, promotional, publicity, and educational.
2. Social Marketing Plan without a Marketing Plan
Social media marketing is still a subset of marketing. It is only as good as the marketing plan that you have for your business. Your social media marketing should never be planned or executed without referring to the overarching plan guiding your business or practice. Otherwise how else would your marketing activities be appropriately measured?
3. Trying to be Everything to Everyone
The numbers show millions of active users daily. Does that mean you have to cater to everyone? The answer is: NO! Your social and digital media communication needs to reflect your business' persona and how your customers perceive it. This means adhering to certain tone-of-voice and visual 'signatures'. When businesses try to cater to too many audiences, it begins to seem inauthentic and all over the place.
4. Treating Social and Digital Assets Like Digital Catalogues
Showcasing your products and services on your social and digital assets is not wrong. How else would you communicate your offers to your audience? Many businesses, sadly, treat their social and digital marketing assets no different than digital flyers or catalogues. Small businesses and professionals need to stop treating their Facebook pages and Instagram accounts like a walking billboard. Adding personality requires reflection and thinking - that's the tiring part.
5. One-size-fits-all approach
Sure, your business is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Tik Tok, WeChat, WhatsApp, Pinterest, KIK, and Discord. I get that you want to cast the net as wide as possible. Your identity remains the same across these platforms. How you communicate should change. Facebook is largely a B2C platform. LinkedIn is very professional. The same person would react differently on these platforms, so should you. As does the requirements on the different sites. So, what are you trying to accomplish on the platforms?
These are among the many mistakes small businesses and professionals make when approaching social media marketing. The list isn't exhaustive. That is why many find it intimidating. Yet that should not hold you or your business back from achieving its potential.
Advert Writer helps small businesses and professionals increase visibility and assert their credibility through informative and non-manipulative content.
Social media is one front where Advert Writer helps you.
From as low as USD1,250 monthly, let us carry your social media marketing burden.
These packages are social media content planning, writing, reporting, and monitoring. They do not include:
- Visual or graphic design;
- Photo correction or manipulation services;
- Coding services;
- Comment moderation or community management; and
- Video and/or audio editing services.
Any expenses incurred outside the scope will be advised accordingly before we proceed with the expense.
For more information, get in touch today!
Besides the Social Media Content Manager Packages, all our clients are entitled to these bonuses:
- Bonus #1: 90-minute CMO Roundtable
- Bonus #2: Private newsletter
- Bonus #3: Monthly closed webinar