Ten years ago, the concept of using social media for business was foreign. Today, however, with the rise of giants like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, many businesses see the marketing value in these sites. The boom of the social media influencer and content creator market has opened new doors of opportunities. Social media and influencers have evolved into legitimate ways for brands to reach their customers and generate income.
However, influencer marketing is not the only perk of investing in social media marketing as a brand. For small businesses and startups, in particular, there is a world of opportunity in that realm of hashtags, comments and likes.
Benefits Of Using Social Media For Small Businesses And Startups
Social media has become the new playground that unites all demographics. It’s every marketer’s dream come true: It offers free access to such a vast audience of potential customers for any product. I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of marketers are already using social media in their jobs.
Many small businesses shoot themselves in the foot by assuming that social media is a game for only the big players with hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare. On the contrary, social media platforms provide an opportunity for small brands to grow and engage with a close-knit community of both present and future customers.
There are three key ways that social media marketing can help small businesses and startups:
1. Generating Brand Awareness
Social media has an advantage over TV, radio, magazines and other traditional media platforms. With social media, you can spread information about your business in a quick and cost-efficient manner and potentially reach millions of people with your message.
This can translate into more followers for your business, more sign-ups for your services and offerings, and generally higher conversion rates on your marketing campaigns.
2. Increasing Site Traffic
If you have a website for hosting your products and services, you can easily use social media to direct traffic to your private platforms. This can improve the quality and quantity of your inbound traffic. That way, you don’t have to rely solely on SEO and being found on Google Search.
3. Selling Products And Services
You can also directly market your products using social media. With the added feature of retargeting ads offered by platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can easily target your prime audience and get your content directly in front of their eyeballs.
Getting Started With Social Media Marketing
Beyond everything mentioned above, there are more strategic and creative tactics that you can employ in your approach to social media marketing as a small business or startup. One platform to start with is Snapchat. Besides the fact that it has a relatively short learning curve compared to its counterparts, it gives you a high chance for one-on-one engagement with its nearly 250 million daily active users.
Many big brands, such as Adidas, BMW, Sprite and McDonald’s, have used Snapchat to run campaigns to bolster their brand awareness. Even the U.K. Department of Transport has used the platform.
Like big brands, you can use custom filters and story ads with creative messages to help get attention and establish yourself as a market leader. Snapchat’s Lens Studio app allows you to create your own filters and lenses. I recommend seeing what kind of lenses and filters people are already searching for and creating your own versions — be sure to incorporate your logo in some form. I created three simple Christmas lenses that brought in massive traffic: a Santa hat with my company logo on the front, a string of lights with mistletoe in the middle and my logo at the bottom, and a Rudolph lens that includes a necklace with a reindeer charm featuring my logo. This last lens was used over 70,000 times within two weeks, which led to a larger fan base for my company.
It’s easier than you may think to create Snapchat lenses, but if you can’t do it yourself and don’t have a graphic designer on your team, you can always find someone to outsource this work to on a site like Upwork or Fiverr. After creating your lenses, you can simply post about them on Pinterest and Reddit and watch the traffic start to pour in without having to spend money on ads.
With Instagram, I recommend focusing on consistent story posts. Remember: Out of sight, out of mind. Posting two to three stories daily will keep you closer to the top of your audience’s feeds where you want to be.
Reaching out to social media influencers to share your content can help drive traffic to your product or service pages. Consider working with influencers to host a giveaway campaign. This can be an easy way to gain a large audience, but be careful to work only with influencers who are a good fit for your brand. Otherwise, you may drive your audience away.
Employing social media as part of your small business or startup marketing strategy can generate huge payoffs that can help you accelerate your business and scale quickly and efficiently. Just remember to be consistent when posting on these platforms.