You may be just a small company but building a good reputation to grow your business, or even going global at that, doesn’t need that much these days. All it takes is a lot of creativity, technology and integrity. It’s the digital age and your footprint is there for all the world to see.
Small enterprises are the backbone of most economies around the world. Significantly higher in numbers than big companies, they create more employment and collectively contribute more to a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The Geneva-based International Labor Organisation (ILO) said small businesses account for between 50 to 70 percent of GDP’s in the 37 countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
That said, it doesn’t take a lot to imagine that the shop next door is an SMB whose owner is on the same boat as you are. And it doesn’t take a lot of thinking to venture into the thought that the market is saturated with job seekers looking and are qualified for work at SMBs.
How to shine brighter?
How then could you shine among SMBs?
You need to put things into the proper context to answer this — and one focusing on the role social media plays in growing an SMB. SMBs, unlike their corporate counterparts, usually do not have enough budget for a juggernaut social media campaign. But this certainly does not mean you are out of the game.
For one, there is the ubiquitous Facebook, which reportedly is approaching 2.6 billion monthly active users; and Instagram to where brands are jumping onto because of its appeal to the younger markets.
But a bit of caveat here: bigger engagements on social media could also cause you to spread your company thin in that quality slides a bit as quantity goes up. Experts advice not to be too engrossed with hitting a quota on the number of tweets or daily Facebook posts; instead they suggest that you do your homework and be where your target market is so that you are able to give value.
Another way to be distinguished among SMBs is to establish a “spider web” of links that will show your company as you put your best foot forward. Remember this: Your social media presence – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or any other – is like a book’s cover; first impressions last, as that age-old cliché goes.
Moving forward, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer once said: “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”
That remark has tons of knowledge in it and none that SMBs could afford to ignore. Miss Sandberg was talking about, among other things, building brand awareness because that’s where success comes from.
And today’s your lucky day because social media can do the job for you in a way a lot better than traditional media.
Open a review section
Social media has revolutionised sales and marketing such that platforms are now available for consumers to voice their opinion about a particular service or product, which can also make or break a company – be it an SMB or a corporate set-up.
But being an Honest Abe that you are, it won’t hurt to “flex” the online reviews you get from your customers. Studies have shown that a whopping 84% percent of customers like online reviews to recommendations from a personal friend.
And while at it, show off some testimonial as well – stretch it a bit some more and add in a working customer relations management (CRM) system by showing them that you are as well interested in what interests them – sort of personalising it.
Going live on social media works all the time. According to studies, Facebook’s live videos produce six times as many engagements as traditional ones. An explanation to this is that it excites the mind and gives live videos added value with viewers appreciating raw, unedited real-time, reality footage of an unfolding event.
As experts say, going live provides authenticity to your brand and draws trust from your customer base.
Building a customer base is a requisite for SMBs to be successful; and a tested way is to engage the customers, bearing in mind that interaction gives them the impression that they matter more than a sales report card.
This is done nowhere else better than on social media which gives you the proper venue to stay in touch with your customers. It’s right there waiting for the taking. Go for it. It won’t hurt or take too much time, after all, to stay approachable with a fast reply rate.
Note that engagement yields real-time feedback and is a very important tool to dipstick the market on customer preferences, etc., that could give you ideas on where to improve on.
More importantly, it helps you understand your market, your customers’ idiosyncrasies, behavioral patterns and priorities.