How to make social media work for SMEs
Running a small business isn’t easy, especially when operating in the space of bigger competition. Looking at big fish’s social media presence can be daunting for those running SMEs. 1000s of followers, loads of beautiful original content and activity across multiple channels. How is it possible to compete with that?
What we’ve learned is that social media isn’t all about quantity or volume. Effective strategy and behaviours are very different for different sizes of business. For those without a team of social media experts working on your presence every day, this blog looks at the key principles for making it 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, growing them organically can be challenging. This is due to the way in which social media algorithms operate – even if you have amazing content people simply won’t see it. Set small daily budgets of a few £s on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote your posts to the right kind of people.
Set a friendly tone
Setting up on a social media channel is like 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, keep them feeling like you value their attention. People’s time is their most valuable asset. Make 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.
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!