How to put social media to work for SMEs.
Running a small business isn’t easy, especially when operating in the space of much bigger competition. A glance at the big fish’s social media presence can crystalize the challenge and prove daunting for those running SMEs. Tens of 1000s of followers, loads of beautiful original content and activity across multiple channels – how is it possible to compete with that?
SME’s best Social Media practices
Well, what we’ve learned is that social media isn’t all about quantity or volume, and effective strategy and behaviours are very different for different sizes of business. For those without a team of SM experts working on your presence every day, this blog looks at the key principles for making SM work well for your SME.
- Give yourself a boost! – it’s important to recognise that if you’re starting from a small number of followers in the first place, growing them organically can be challenging. This is due to the way in which SM algorithms operate – even if you have amazing content people simply won’t see it. It’s possible to set small daily budgets of a few pounds on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter which promotes your posts to the right kind of people, people that might actually be interested in what you offer.
- Set a friendly tone – Imagine setting up on a social media channel as getting a new job – you don’t just run in there and start shouting about how much better you are than everyone else! You need to make friends too. People are put off by overly assertive statements of competency; they want a more human touch via these informal channels. Your time to impress with expertise will come later…
- Be small, be an expert – recognise that it’ll be hard to achieve the meteoric follower growth rates of bigger brands; don’t worry about competing on their level. People follow things they recognise but won’t necessarily value or engage properly with them. For the SME, 1000 people that consciously follow you because your content is valuable is worth more than a million that can’t remember why they clicked ‘like’.
- Content is key – if you’ve nurtured a small but engaged follower base your key task is to keep them feeling like you value their attention – people’s time is their most valuable asset. You achieve this by making sure everything you post is at least interesting, funny, original, beautiful, surprising… there’s got to be something there that made the follower glad they spent their time on it. It’s not just about clicks, it’s about growing a community that is interested in what you do, and painting a picture of the kind of people you are to work with.
- Recognise the limits and be clever – Experts recognise that the purpose of SM marketing isn’t necessarily to boost sales. Its purpose is engagement, and at that it excels, but the relationship between engagement and sales is nuanced (making ROI difficult to measure!) The value of SM engagement is that it opens a forum between you and your customers, allowing you to see what they like, what they don’t, to test ideas and gather feedback – all absolutely invaluable for a small operation jostling for position amongst the bigger players!