Digital marketing is essential for small businesses today. Whether you choose to focus more heavily on building a strong social media presence and cultivating consumer relationships organically or sending content-rich emails that target specific demographics, successful SMB marketing campaigns must include a digital component.
But how can smaller companies, many of which have relatively limited resources they can allocate for marketing in comparison to enterprises, find effective ways to appeal to their audiences?
Social media is not free
Entrepreneurial advisor Ed Rappuhn pointed out in a post for The Tennessean that while social media may seem like it costs nothing, this notion simply isn’t true. He said that the time spent creating content that is worthy of being posted and interacting with potential customers online is time-consuming. This can take away from other business operations that may more directly impact profitability.
Now, this does not mean you should ignore social media – on the contrary, maintaining an approachable presence online can help bring in new clients. However, you do need to carefully allocate the time you spend growing your brand on social media so that you remain efficient in other areas.
Social media marketing needs to be consistent and purposeful
Marketing expert Kenny Kline wrote in an article for The Huffington Post that small business owners need to maintain an active voice on social media. However, he also warned that when used ineffectively, it can be a total waste of time. He said that social media marketing should be purposeful and that the platforms SMBs choose to assist in growing their brands should reflect the products they sell. He offered a personal anecdote – as the owner of a photo studio, he chose to use Facebook more frequently than Twitter, since the former is more photography-oriented and thus more likely to produce consumer traffic.
Rappuhn argued that social media should serve as a place to provide educational information about your industry to the audience, rather than self-promoting. He suggested a mix of original and outside content to provide a comprehensive view of the market as a whole. In addition, Rappuhn stressed the importance of using engaging headlines that will attract readership, and ending posts with thought-provoking questions that allow -and encourage – consumers to interact with you through social media.
Mobility is everything in a digital marketing-centric world
A big component of social media marketing is driving traffic on your website, which can impact sales. However, Kline noted that while many consumers primarily use social media on their mobile devices, many organizations do not have mobile-friendly websites. This can hinder future business opportunities, since users may not continue to browse a page that does not respond well on a mobile platform.
The good news is that mobilizing your website is pretty easy – Kline noted that a number of companies offer templates that can help you diversify your online presence. The world is growing more mobile-oriented every day, and you need to make sure that your content is available to the largest number of consumers – many of whom primarily use smartphones or tablets to access the Internet – possible.
Social media can be a productive way to increase a small business’ web presence while interacting directly with potential customers and establishing a brand. Its impact can be huge in terms of future opportunities, but SMBs need to be smart in the ways they maintain their accounts.
The content that you post on social media platforms should be thoughtful and relevant to your industry, and it should make you approachable. Developing a consistent and knowledgeable voice can lead to developing strong relationships with customers.