Social Media: How Small Businesses Can Look Big
If you’re a small business, you probably don’t have the huge marketing and advertising budget of a bigger company, but your customers still want to see that you’ve got an amazing product, absolutely stellar customer service that’s ready to help address their every need, and that you are consistently at the top of your game, all the time.
Not gonna lie – we got a little tired just thinking about all that!
There is good news, though: It’s 100% possible to look like a big company on social media without having a big budget. Not convinced? We don’t blame you. Maybe some numbers can help ease those pesky doubts:
Of the hundreds of major worldwide brands that were surveyed last year by Simply Measured (the pioneers of social analytics), they found that 68% have social media teams of just one or two people, and nearly 50% had just one person on their social media team!
So it isn’t about having a huge social media team; it’s about putting your best foot forward online.
Not sure where to begin? We’ve gathered up four of the easiest, most effective social media marketing strategies — that cost $0 — to give your small business big business impact on social media today.
1. First things: Create a social media style guide and stick to it
Companies large and small live and die by their style guides. Style guides keep your brand voice consistent across everything you do.
A solid social media style guide is a practical marketing and sales tool that lets anyone new to your business hit the ground running. That means you can scale quickly, whether that’s by adding more services or bringing on an actual social media manager, or even just giving the appearance of operating at scale.
Most great social media style guides are succinct and conversational, which is how you want to come across on social media anyhow — whatever your industry or size of your company.
MailChimp has a famously thorough overall style guide, but one look at their social media guidelines section and you can see how simple and clear they make it:
There’s literally zero doubt about what to write, how it should all look/feel/sound and, importantly, how to engage (or not) with people across all relevant social channels.
You probably don’t need something as extensive as MailChimp just yet, so here are some quick, actionable tips on how to create a social media style guide that can help you put some firepower behind your brand online.
2. You be you, and ditch the gimmicks
You’ve probably heard plenty of times that your story is your brand.
But you know what people don’t talk enough about when they talk about branding? Building trust.
Gimmicky “hacks” to boost your number of followers or increase how many people “favorite” a post is just no substitute for the gold standard of trustworthy social media metrics: honest social engagement.
The key to long-term results from your social media is being a brand that actually engages with your audience. If you’re into the whole idea of long-term growth, you want to start to inspire people to think and feel positive about you and your brand today.
See that whole “What you do and say” part of that Venn diagram up there? There’s absolutely nothing about needing a huge marketing budget to craft your message. (Unless there’s a hidden dollar sign pattern on that diagram that you can only see if you’re wearing 3D glasses or something.)
Your messaging says a lot about your brand. That’s why establishing trust with your fans on social media is so, so important.
To create amazing content first and foremost, then be strategically social to get the word (your message) out there. Share your content with your fans where they are most engaged already. Keep an eye on your metrics. (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all have free analytics so you can see what your fans are doing with your posts.) Spend a little coin on a sponsored post here and there to increase your brand awareness.
Then… actually engage back! Let your fans know you’re listening and that you care. Ask them for ideas about your brand, product, or even what content they want to see more of. Host a webinar or Twitter chat – the possibilities are endless! (Here are a few of our favorite tips on how to improve your social media engagement!)
Speak truth to your industry, your expertise, and your unique perspective. In short: just be you.
When the time comes to spend a little more money on social media marketing, you can put it towards things like social automation tools to help you do more, better, faster, and more strategically.
3. Protip: Turn your social media into a PR machine
Gone are the days of companies doing their most important communication via press releases.
Today, it’s all about influencer marketing, and communicating your biggest announcements directly to your customers — with social media acting as the vector for everything that you want to say to the world.
And thanks to social media, your small business’ announcements can make just as big of a splash as a bigger company’s. Social media increases brand awareness, the most important social media goal for digital marketers, for free.
In order to cut through all the social media noise (and there is a TON of it), one of the best weapons a small business has is its ability to build and leverage meaningful, and much more personal business relationships. In fact, that’s kinda how small businesses have outfoxed big companies forever.
If an influencer in your industry takes an interest in what you’re doing and shares it with his or her followers, that’s worth far more than spending on ads or dropping money on a PR firm. (And it can get you just as much brand awareness.)
Getting influencers interested in what you’re doing, however, requires you to establish some brand credibility.
Building up credibility requires a few specific things out of your social media efforts:
- Be timely and mix things up. Keep abreast of industry trends and conversations, vary your tactics (webinars, blogging, Instagram stories, etc.) and deliver across social media.
- Create amazing, relevant content. If you don’t have a blog you regularly update, start one ASAP, and make sure you’ve got a mix of timely content and evergreen posts that will always be useful and informative to readers.
- Repurpose and reshare that content. This extends your reach and awareness and ups the chances of influencers finding your content organically (more on that in the next section)
- Pitch your content! Whether you approach a PR firm or an influencer, keep things short and sweet; pitch ideas in a way that makes their life easier
(You can check out even more ways to turn your social media presence into a PR machine here!)
4. Always Reshare your Content
Okay, so this tip might seem like a gimmicky tactic on its face, but resharing your best evergreen content deserves better PR. (See what we did there?)
Resharing is just a way to get the most out of your content. Maximizing the usefulness of something is one of the golden rules of getting your money’s worth out of everything — from cars to content!
(Plus, resharing great content totally makes it look like you’ve got a social media management team working around the clock!)
This doesn’t mean spamming followers with the same stuff over and over. Fact is, most people aren’t even seeing your social posts in the first place:
- Your Facebook posts are missed by 96% of your potential audience
- Most Twitter users don’t visit the site daily, so they aren’t seeing most tweets
- On average, most LinkedIn users spend just 2 minutes a day on the site
That doesn’t mean you always have to reshare the same things! You should be creating new content regularly, and it’s also a great idea to repurpose old content once it’s reached the upper limits of its relevance. Repurposing can be as simple as changing the headline, updating or tweaking the content, adding new pictures-the options are limitless!
The best part? You can automate the whole social media resharing process pretty darn easily.
The most amazingly awesome thing about social media is that it levels the playing field by giving every entrepreneur or business an equal opportunity to get noticed, no matter how big or small they may be. With these four strategies in your social media arsenal, you now have the ability to directly compete with the “big guys,” while looking like one of them.
We’d love to hear from you, too! What free (or low-cost) social media marketing tactics have you used to look like the big dog on the social media block? Let us know in the comments section below!
Guest Author: Jennifer Carney
Jennifer is a Marketing Strategy Expert and Copywriter at MeetEdgar.com
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This Article is About:
- Social Media
- How Small Businesses Can Look Big
Post Updated: September 20th 2021.
Originally Posted: August 08th 2017.