It’s common to see small businesses devote some staff member time to social media, but new research shows the allocation is insufficient for the need. 60% of small businesses are in need of help when it comes to social media marketing according to a research by Constant Contact. Small businesses can struggle when trying to find their way on different networks like Twitter and Google+ and that is even before they begin worrying about finding help for sem, search engine optimization, and things like ppc or lead gen based on their industry.
Why social media is a mountain to climb for small businesses
1. It’s time-consuming
If you are a small brick and mortar business then odds are most of your time is spend running the actual business, for example a dentist isn’t gonna have time to sit around posting on Facebook and I wouldn’t recommend tweeting pictures of clients in the chair! Regardless of what sort of business you run or how large it is the chances are that running a social media account of campaign will take more time than you already have.
2. There are so many sites
Social media is a whole universe, and there are several sites you as a small business owner can choose from to share posts and engage on. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Scoop.it, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn and the list will only continue to grow. The number of sites can easily becoming overwhelming, and although developers are working on ways to condense all your social stuff into one page/email/app it can still be hard to post on all equally and do a good job.
3. People don’t engage that easily
When you think about all the businesses that are constantly trying to get into social media and engage with other users there are so many companies reaching out it can becoming overwhelming to users pretty quickly. Sooner or latter companies on social media might take on a similar connotation to sidebar ads, everyone just ignores them. Users tend to engage easier with individuals rather than a business which they might not be familiar with, waiting for replies just ads to the time you will need to spend monitoring accounts.
How small businesses should be handling social media
Despite the barriers mentioned above, it’s indeed possible for small businesses to extend their reach on social media, and they potentially can take away customers from bigger competitors by making them ‘feel at home’ and through other strategies.
Here are some social media tips to follow as a small business owner
1. Be patient for engagement and when you get it, keep it
As we mentioned earlier consumers are not always easy to engage with, after all you are just a company that wants their money. Be sure to be the one to start as many conversations as possible and also contribute to ongoing ones. It doesn’t have to be all business all the time. Saying something funny or aiding a discussion can be a great way to get a follow or like. Once you do start to generate some buzz or have people listen to what you have to say don’t lose their attention! But don’t bombard them to the point of unfollowing because you ruin their timeline.
2. Show real life experiences
Use your existing customer strength to extend your reach on social media. If you’re a business selling pizza or some other food item, upload the pictures of customers eating your meal and having a good time on Instagram and other platforms.Being human is so much more engaging than appearing robotic! This is social media, be social! If you are a tech company don’t just tweet techcrunch articles all day, it boring.
When others see real-life experiences of people who are using your product/service, it will appeal to them in a way that any other form of advertisement can’t, Period.
3. Ask for feedback
Use social media to ask for feedback from customers. It’s in fact the fastest way to receive feedback and respond to customer queries. Ask your customers how you can improve your product/service, what makes them pick your company over others etc.
When customers are asked to participate, they’ll show more interest and even share some of the questions with others.
Social media can help to grow your small business, but you need to reach the right people effectively and at the right time to increase the chances of social media success.