As a small, local business, cementing your place in the growing digital market place can be tricky; with so many other (perhaps larger) companies offering a similar service, how can you stand out from the crowd? Social media in itself can be daunting, with such a vast array of social networking sites on offer, and a seemingly endless stream of impenetrable jargon, how can you be sure it’s the right way to take your business?
It’s actually the case however that social networking sites, when set up and managed properly, are one of the most powerful tools in the small business’s digital marketing arsenal. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus offer small companies an affordable way to maintain an online presence whilst simultaneously connecting with the local community. With this in mind, this blog looks at the advantages of social media for local businesses, and details some of the ways social networking sites can be used to establish and grow an audience online.
1. It Can Highlight the Personal Side of Your Business
Trends show that local audiences actually respond better to brands with a more personable, approachable image, which is where social media comes in...
A lot of small companies attempt to mask their size, and aspire to the brand image of much larger organisations. Whilst this is a perfectly credible way to market your business, trends show that local audiences actually respond better to brands with a more personable, approachable image, which is where social media comes in. The most effective social media marketing campaigns work in tandem with your website, acting as a more informal space where you can interact and engage with your clientele. The best part is that this impersonal image is very easy to attain; by posting images of local jobs, or offering some ‘behind-the-scenes’ insights into your company, you can bridge the gap between you and your consumers. The time has come to embrace your locality on social media, and demarcate yourself from larger, more anonymous brands.
2. It’s the New Word of Mouth
As a small business or local tradesman, a lot of your business presumably comes from client referrals and local word of mouth. In the digital age however, with so many people using social media, this has become the new space for audiences to share brands and products. Now when people are happy with a product or service, they go online and ‘Like’ their social media profiles or ‘Share’ their status updates, thus spreading the word about the business throughout their online communities. If you don’t have an active social media profile however you’re then missing out on this organic (and more importantly cost-free) form of marketing.
3. It Will Drive Traffic to Your Website
Have you invested a lot of money in a professional, eye-catching website but not really noticed any results? Having a convincing website is important, but if nobody knows about it then you’re going to struggle to generate any return on the investment. Social media is one of the most powerful ways to drive traffic to your website and thus encourage consumers to convert. You have to give people a reason to click through however; studies indicate that exclusive offers and company blogs prove most popular with social media audiences.
4. It’s a Cost-effective Way to Spread Your Message
The majority of social networking sites now offer paid advertising services that you can use to ‘boost’ or ‘promote’ your message to a select group of people. The great thing about social media is the amount of control it affords you over who sees your message and when, as you can profile people by age, location and even interests. This means that your ads are only showing to those who are most likely to convert, hence making the most of your digital marketing budget. Location targeting is a highly effective way to spread your brand’s message within a select area, making it ideal for local businesses.
5. It’s Fast Becoming an Integral Part of Online PR
The fact of the matter is that more and more consumers now turn to social media sites not only to find businesses but also to verify them. Research indicates that audiences are much more likely to convert if a company has an active, well-maintained social media page. This shows us that maintaining a social media presence is now an integral part of your brand image online, and thus people could actively be discouraged from converting if you don’t have one. They’re also a completely transparent space wherein customers can have their say on your business, so if you offer a trustworthy, cost-effective service, this will then be reflected in your social media feedback.
As we move into 2015, the overwhelming message is that if you don’t have a social media presence, you’ll quickly be left behind by your competitors. It’s not only a great means of connecting with users in your local community, but a way in which to build a suitable brand image from your company. If the idea of social media marketing is still a bit confusing, please get in touch today to see how our services can benefit your business.