Anyone who owns and operates a small business knows there’s really nothing small about it in terms of the amount of work to be done and the things you can achieve. You have big goals and there are huge rewards to be gained. Social media can be a big help in achieving those goals if you find a way to incorporate it into your marketing plan.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, “how can I compete with big businesses on the social media networks? My company doesn’t have that kind of name brand recognition!” Well here are a few tips to help your small business stand out against the big competitors in the world of social media.
1. Be the Business Next Door
Sure you don’t have the luxury of being a household name, but you do have something to offer that the big guys usually don’t. That being, your ability to interact with your followers on a more personal level. Your Facebook page probably isn’t endowed with hundreds of thousands of followers, but the followers you do have should feel a sense of familiarity with you as the page administrator. Make it a point to respond to everyone who comments on your posts or interacts with you.
Think of yourself as a radio talkshow personality. Give your followers a sense that they know you on a personal level, even if you’ve never actually met them in real life. Don’t be affraid to “let them in to your company” and share information with them that will generate more interest in your product and your company as a whole.
2. Celebrate Your Followers
With a smaller fan-base, you have the ability to spoil your followers in a way that would be a lot more challenging for bigger businesses. Take time to acknowledge followers who deserve recognition. Do you have a follower who has just accomplished a major achievement? Share that information with your following and give that person a little boost!
Not sure what your followers are up to? Ask! Send out a Tweet asking followers what they’ve been up to or to share a cool story. Then, pick one of your responses to share with your followers.
3. Build Synergistic Relationships with Other Brand Pages
Having a hard time growing your social media following? Chances are there are other small businesses in your area that are facing the same challenges as you. The nice thing about social media is that it’s not a zero sum game. You don’t have to compete with other businesses for social media followers because people can Like both of your Facebook pages and follow both of you on Twitter. Most other small businesses will be receptive to teaming up in a sense to generate more followers for the both of you.
Find another small business owner who’s business is in a related industry to yours. For example, if you own a wine store, you could team up with a local cheese vendor. The next time you’re promoting a new wine on Facebook or Twitter, your friend at the cheese store could help promote that wine and suggest a great cheese to compliment the wine.
4. Get on Board With Location-Based Networks
Location-based social media networks are great for small businesses. They provide you with one more avenue to spread the word about your business to the people in your geographic area. Foursquare is a great interactive social network that allows you to track the number of people visiting your place of business.
You can create incentives for people to visit your business and share it with their friends by offering prizes and discounts to loyal customers or customers that are visiting your business for the first time.
5. Content Curration
Small businesses may not have the man power or the time to create as much content as those businesses with say, 500 employees. However, that doesn’t mean small businesses can’t still share great content with their followers. It takes less time to post a link to a great blog article than it does to write one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for creating great content in the form of blog posts and white papers, but if you can’t publish as much as you’d like, curating content is a great alternative.
Subscribe to a handful of blogs that consistently publish articles related to your industry. Everyday, scroll through your newsfeed and select quality articles to share with your social media followers.
Social media marketing is all about sharing valuable content and interacting with your followers. There’s no reason a small business can’t do these things just as well, if not better than a large corporation. Figure out how to use your business size to your advantage and show people that you can keep up with the big social media giants out there.