How to Win at Social Media as a Medium Sized Business
In the age of dynamic pricing and individual customer incentives, one theme remains constant: businesses that don’t engage in social media are likely to suffer. In this day in age, you’re expected to have a Facebook page (at the very least) to avoid the millennials’ ridicule. Five years ago, you were cutting-edge if you were posting videos on YouTube, creating multiple Twitter accounts, or promoted your business via Facebook. Nowadays, social media is seconds away from becoming its own accredited business major. One could even say it’s vital to business continuity. What made social media this remarkable marketing powerhouse? How can a business use social media to become a significant player amongst their immediate, competitive peers?
Competing with Big Social: Is it pointless?There are companies that have everything that you don’t—the budget—the staff – the time. This is big social. Unlike big social, small to medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) have sincerity, and social media is the vehicle to deliver that sincere, “customer first” approach. Convey that sincerity to your customers, and you will likely see a positive reception of your brand. On top of that, smaller businesses can switch up their marketing strategy when they make a mistake, or even if they want to change direction. Being smaller makes them agile, and shifting strategy would take a large corporation months to execute. Also, being in the small to medium-sized category lets your business take advantage of the “shop local” mentality. Remind your customers that you don’t have a large wallet like the big players do, so they need to shop locally. Position yourself like a small coffee shop would Starbucks; like David and Goliath. Show them on social media just where every cup of coffee purchased goes – local animal shelters, community baseball teams –the list goes on. Lastly, be yourself on social media. Let your hair down and post (1 in 50 posts) something that you personally think is cool but has nothing to do with your line of work. Post a picture of a piece of art that you find interesting. When you’re being yourself on social media, your customers can sense some authenticity – something large corporations can’t fake…easily.
Customer Expectations for SMB’s Social MediaBeing a small to medium sized business creates 3 expectations in your customers’ mind.
- ) Customers expect you to reply to all posts that demand responses. If you only have a few people engaging in your posts per day (like most SMB’s do), then you should be able to address a scathing review. Not doing this sends 1 of 2 messages: that you’re social media footprint isn’t social at all, or, that you think you’re too big to care about every customer. Tip from a pro: don’t have any social media accounts open that you aren’t dedicating any time to. Many businesses approach social media horizontally where they open up an account on ten different platforms but only pay attention to one. You don’t want to have a nasty, year old comment on the business’s LinkedIn that you’ve never seen.
- ) Customers understand that you might take a little while to respond (3-4 days max). It’s conceivable that you probably don’t have a dedicated social media department watching for bad reviews around the clock.
- ) Customers expect your content to be professional, original, and in-line with social etiquette. The two opposing ends of the social content spectrum are Verizon Wireless and Tommy’s Taco Stand. We expect frequent, professional content from Verizon on one end, and terrible road-side selfies of Tommy and his cat on the other. So for an SMB, we expect to see professional content, but with a local twist on it, for instance an article about a nearby point of interest.