Social media is designed for engagement among communities of people, so it’s no surprise to us to discover four social marketing strategies where a small business can not only compete with big players – but beat them – on social networks.
Social Marketing Strategies: 4 Ways a Small Business Can Run Circles Around Larger Competitors on Social Networks
Big brands may have big numbers when it comes to followers, but they can’t touch the personal connection a small business owner can make with their audience on social networks. Here are four advantages small businesses can cultivate on social media.
Big brands are going to be stepping up social marketing efforts, with 7 in 10 planning to both hire more social marketing staff and grow the social marketing budget, says a Spredfast report conducted by Forrester Research. Not only will big brands spend more on social marketing, but the percentage increase in big brands social marketing budgets will outpace growth of the marketing budget overall.
Three quarters of all large companies have developed an established process to deliver relevant content to audiences across social networks, and social marketing is now recognized as a priority. In fact, 70% of the respondents said that their executives are on board, and believe in its value.
While big brands might have big budgets when it comes to advertising on social networks, and they might have big numbers when it comes to followers, it is worth pointing out that social networks were not primarily developed to accommodate mass marketing. Social networks were designed to facilitate engagement – social engagement, one-on-one – between real people.
Given that social networks were designed for person-to-person interaction, small businesses may in fact be better-suited to interact and engage with their constituents on social networks. The Forrester study points out four social marketing strategies that can help a small business do better than their larger counterparts.
4 Social Marketing Strategies for Small Business
Small Business Social Marketing Advantage #1
In many cases, small business owners and managers know the people who follow and interact with their brand on social networks personally. This provides the small business with an advantage over big brands when it comes to actually speaking with, engaging or surveying their customers and extended target audience, as well as in them measuring their brand’s social ROI and its value to the organization. They have the ability to get first-hand information from constituents that lead to organizational change, insights that lead to improvements and feedback about brand sentiment.
- 20% of big brands feel challenged when it comes to determining social marketing ROI
- 25% of big brands find it challenging to measure the business value created by social marketing
- 37% of big brands don’t believe they do well when it comes to using data and insights to identify social marketing strategies that actually influence consumers
- 38% of big brands do not have a process in place to track conversions or brand sentiment on social networks
Small Business Social Marketing Advantage #2
The personal relationships that a small business’ brand ambassadors (owners, managers and every employee that impacts the customer experience – inside or outside of the business physical location) make it much more likely for customers to feel a personal sense of identity with its brand. When customers feel personally connected with a brand, they are more likely to engage with and talk about the brand on social networks. What’s more, when their extended networks observe this brand engagement, it creates a positive brand impression that demonstrates the brand’s commitment to listening to customer feedback, acting on complaints or suggestions, or being appreciative of customer praise.
- 31% of brands did not feel they did an effective job of encouraging or recognizing customers that talked about them on social networks
Small Business Social Marketing Advantage #3
A big brand might spend a year (or even more) in development of a marketing campaign, and have multiple departments involved. The more resources that are engaged, the more time it takes to respond to changes in the marketplace, current events and customer sentiment. A small business is usually able to respond nearly instantaneously to changes in the market place, which gives them another advantage on social networks.
Big brands often have lengthy content creation, editing and approval processes, whereas a small business may have a publishing team of one, who can use free tools like Hootsuite to publish new content, updates and important links across their social networks instantly. Plus, with few or no silos (departments) to consider, a small business can adjust its tactics quickly across all marketing channels.
- 27% of big brands said they are not continually evolving the way they measure the business value created by their social marketing tactics
- 33% of big brands did not feel they could deliver timely content across social marketing channels
Small Business Social Marketing Advantage #4
A big brand may have multiple constituencies to please inside and outside of the organization. A marketing campaign that works for one segment of its target market may fall flat with another. A small business (which is often a local business) often has fewer demographics and buyer characteristics to consider when it comes to marketing in general, including social marketing, making it more likely that a small business can consistently deliver highly relevant updates, information, offers and resources across all of its social networks.
- 26% of big brands said they did not have a process in place to deliver relevant content across social marketing channels
- 32% of big brands did not feel their social marketing efforts were well-aligned with broader (non-social) marketing efforts