With time, the concept of marketing has changed drastically. From being business focused it has now become more customer centric, meaning the power is now in the hands of the consumers. This change is largely thanks to social media.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest have not only brought people closer by making boundaries disappear, but have changed how people consume data, share, react and interact with each other.
The most common and popular social media platforms have also emerged as playgrounds of businesses, because each of these platforms offer unique ways of connecting and engaging with consumers. For instance, there is a saying among netizens (internet citizens) that Facebook is the place you go to for information, recommendations and reviews about a business while Twitter is the go-to place for complaining against the same.
In fact, social media has become one of the most rampant tools of marketing for businesses, both big and small. But while big businesses have the advantage in traditional marketing because they can spend ludicrous amounts on advertising, when it comes to marketing on social media, small business are actually at a much advantageous position.
Here are two ways small businesses have been, can and should utilise social media to flourish:
Engaging with people
Social media has ensured that small businesses can thrive with minimum spending on marketing. As a small business owner all you have to do is ENGAGE, which entails updating your business page regularly and interacting with your customers by asking for their feedback, posting their pictures with your product, holding giveaways and addressing issues, if any, instantly.
If you go to Instagram you will find numerous small businesses, especially those with more visual products like cosmetics, clothing and skincare, having huge followers who swear by their products over any big brands any day. The biggest reason for their success is engagement.
Small businesses have the capability of interacting with customers directly, replying to them individually and acting on their complaints fast, because they are not bound by too many people, teams and hierarchy like their bigger counterparts. This makes their customers feel valued, listened to and satisfied, thus making them feel closer to the brand.
Not to mention that word of mouth is a fool-proof marketing tool from time immemorial, and happy customers will always refer the brand they love to others.
By taking advantage of this simple, inexpensive marketing trick, you can build a brand image easily.
Advertising your business effectively
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram lets you advertise your business for a very small fee, which is not even a quarter of the amount you have to spend on traditional advertising.
Social media follows an algorithm that will show your brand’s advertisements to mostly people who have recently searched for similar products that you offer, increasing the chances of them visiting your page. By spending a little on advertising on social media you can gain a lot of new followers who can turn into valuable customers.
Another advantage of advertising on social media is its flexibility. You can choose to advertise a post with a blog link, a video and even your product catalogue.
The best and biggest plus of social media, however, is probably the fact that you can do it all by yourself, without needing to hire any professionals. Create your business page on the platforms for free, post whatever you want as long as it doesn’t breach the community standards and just use the handy tools to boost the post that you think can bring in new followers. It is that easy and simple.
Social media as a marketing tool
If you are still not convinced about the power of social media as a marketing tool, let me give you some facts, In, 2019, around 3.5 billion people were on social media, spending around 2.5 hrs each day on the different platforms. This number is only expected to increase as time goes by.
Moreover, around 54% social media users use it to research businesses and brands, and more than 70% businesses believe that social media marketing has been somewhat or very effective for them.
So, as a small business if you are not taking advantage of this powerful medium, you are making (as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman put it) a big mistake, huge!