Chris Owen

Written by Chris Owen

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How to Be a SME Social Superstar

Having a small business is all about knowing your customers – from butchers to bakers to digital content creators – and understanding the need to build on a positive sales experience is crucial for ongoing success and developing your professional identity.

Traditional methods of building customer relationships are all still relevant in today’s fast moving society and although stopping to chat or searching a stock room can take time, there’s nothing like creating a personalised sales experience to really make a customer feel special.

With more and more companies opting to sell their products and services online, the noble art of relationship building finds itself in a whole new playing field; if you’re wondering how you can reach out and talk to your customers, social media is definitely the way forward.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or Pinterest – you name it, there’s a successful small business doing it. If you can discover the perfect social media platform for you then it’s time to get cracking on a strategy as you tell your customers just how much you love them.

Below are three points to take into consideration to help your small business succeed on social media. If you’re hoping to cut down on marketing costs and compete against the big boys then right here is where you pick up your sling shot and start to make things happen.

How to choose the best social media platform for your small business

Although starting out on social media can be a slightly daunting prospect, if you’re prepared to put in the time and learn as you go, the positive fruits of your labour will soon start to bloom and flourish as naturally as a well nurtured veggie patch.

Paying for marketing material, face to face networking and trade publication listings can often be a costly business which is why spending time developing an online presence via social media is definitely seen as an affordable alternative.

Often the social media outlet that best suits your business will be the one that you find easiest to operate. Product information, special offers and engaging articles are all worthy areas to shout about, and turning yourself into an authoritative and knowledgeable voice is a great means of attracting more followers and further enforcing your company’s character and brand identity.

Video demonstrations via YouTube, linking to blog posts from Facebook or tweeting about a special offer just because it’s Tuesday, whatever platform best suits you and your customers, there’s nothing better than signing up, putting in the time and watching your efforts take shape.

How to engage with your customers via social media

Linking social media to your website is exactly what you need to encourage visitors and boost your search engine rankings. Engaging blog posts, easy to understand infographics and watchable videos are all ideal excuses to reach out and shout about your business and definitely worth investing in if you’re hoping to make a splash.

Engaging with your customers is all about providing them with content that’s informative, entertaining and not too contrived and if you can aim to be spontaneous as opposed to simply announcing an event then this is a much better means of developing your brand’s personality.

Often you’ll discover that different groups prefer to be sociable within different settings. For example: LinkedIn is a great social media platform to use is you’re wishing to engage on a more business to business level whereas YouTube and Pinterest provide a more visually stimulating outlet from where to display your products and services.

Having a few social media platforms is the best way to engage with different demographics and by providing information that really appeals you’ll be giving your audience exactly what they want in the very place that they want to find it.

Why responding through social media is vital for small business success

Whichever social channels you use to enhance your small business online, providing a means for your audience to respond is vital for understanding what works as well as helping to form and grow customer relationships.

It’s all well and good providing your key clients with all that juicy content and entertaining video footage but if someone asks a question and you just ignore it then that’s just as much of a turn off as having the same thing happen face to face.

Responding to comments, joining in debates and adapting your online marketing strategies in line with your customers’ wishes are all key elements of developing your business

The ability to measure, monitor, and adapt to social activity, is definitely what you should be aiming for and if you want to want to keep up-to-date with your industry’s movers and shakers, there’s no better way to add value to your message than by personally responding to a customer and making them feel special.

Final thoughts

Although social media may look like an instant means of advertising and marketing your products online there’s much more to it than that.

Understanding the patience and time required to nurture a relationship is exactly what makes a small business owner stand out from a larger competitor and if you can aim to emulate this personalised social strategy online then you’ll definitely be heading in the right direction.

• Target specific customers through different social media platforms

• Provide a two-way channel of communication where you respond to feedback

• Always try to engage with your audience rather than preach to them

Finding out what your customers want and then presenting it to them in a straightforward and natural setting, should be central to your social media strategy and if you can listen, engage and get involved then you’ll be well on your way to social stardom in no time at all.