by Folke Lemaitre, CEO of Engagor
Small business success inherently depends on brand awareness and customer retention – a little social media exposure never hurts either. According to a recent LinkedIn study, roughly 81% of small businesses are using social media, and of those, 94% do so for marketing purposes. However, effective social media marketing isn’t just measured by the number of tweets or posts issued. It’s about how many customers the business can actually attract and retain through engagement and relationship building.
With Small Business Week beginning on May 12, Folke Lemaitre, CEO and founder of Engagor, the most comprehensive platform for real-time customer engagement, social media monitoring and analytics has compiled 5 ways that small businesses can take advantage of social media to create awareness and effectively engage with their social audience to ultimately gain and retain customers.
· Pick the right platform: You don't have to be present on every social network. Identify where it makes sense for your brand. If you're a fashion company, Pinterest is a great fit to build a brand identity. If you're in the B2B industry, you should explore LinkedIn. Have a lot of great video content? Then YouTube or Vimeo is the right place for your brand.
· Build a social media team: This doesn't mean you have to hire new people. Typically you will need someone from the marketing and customer service department, but don't be afraid to invite others to the team. Ask around internally and you'll be surprised at how many of your employees are social-savvy or have an interest in social. Sales, PR and even more technical departments can be great additions. The more departments involved, the more social media will tell the overall story of your brand.
· Make employees social advocates: Small businesses have another big advantage over large enterprises: their size. People working for smaller companies naturally feel a closer bond to the brand, which can be of great value for social media. Make sure you involve the entire company. Keep them posted on what you are doing on your social channels, what the results are and ask them to share your content and engage in the conversations with your social audience. Your own employees can be your best brand advocates.
· Set up an answering scheme: Don't just dive into social, make sure you are prepared. Determine what questions and comments on your social profiles you are going to respond to. You can start by learning what people are already saying and the questions/comments that are recurring. Decide how you will reply to negative posts, insults and even positive comments. Once you have all of this figured out, put an engagement and response plan in place.
· Be authentic: Know who you are and how you want to be perceived. A common misunderstanding is that social media only works for cool brands. Don't worry about being "cool". Stick to your brand voice and share content that means something to your audience and is relevant to your industry.