Why every SME needs to utilise social media
Gone are the days when an advertisement in printed media or Yellow Pages was sufficient for SMEs to get the word out on what products or services they provide. In today’s highly competitive business landscape, it is essential to take advantage of social media’s popularity to get ahead of the competition.
According to research, it is estimated that by 2020 there will be an astonishing 2.95 billion people using social media worldwide. When you consider that further research suggests that between 81 to 89 percent of customers start their purchasing process online, it is easy to see how establishing a robust social media platform can greatly benefit any small business.
Find future talent
Not only is social media an excellent way of marketing your services, more and more businesses today use social media to find their future talent. The Independent highlights the growing trend in businesses using social media platforms in their recruitment strategy and that around one third of all UK employers now use this avenue as a primary means to finding the best talent for their businesses.
David Lahey – VP International at Jobvite, concurs that social media is a useful tool for businesses to use when searching for candidates:
“At first, many recruiters used these platforms just to check up on people, now full-blown campaigns can be run and candidates sourced. On top of this, recruiters are also starting to realise how much of an impact social media recruiting has on their employer brand. It can enhance and differentiate your business in the eyes of candidates,”
Not surprisingly, the US is ahead of the game when it comes to using social media as a hotbed to find exceptional talent. The article reports that approximately 90 percent of businesses in the US are already taking advantage of this strategy. With this in mind, it is probably only a matter of time before the rest of the world follows suite.
How to make social media work for your SME
Many SMEs can be put off by the prospect of challenging the larger brands through social media. Of course, noticing the massive army of followers the larger companies have compared to the more modest following SMEs collate, can make it seem like an un-scalable mountain to climb. However, there are useful guidelines that can be followed in how to make social media work for your business:
Be personable: If you find that a larger company has already dominated a sector on social media, don’t be put off. Taking the big brands on head-to-head with the latest news is not advisable as they are always likely to be a step or two ahead. However, you can stay relevant to people by making your postings more friendly and personable. People love to laugh, so be humorous in your postings if possible, but be careful not to come across in a manner that may make you appear as smug or offensive.
Engage with your following: Get to know your following and interact with them on a more social basis through social media. As any professional sales person will tell you – ‘People buy people’. Research LinkedIn communities, Twitter hashtags and Facebook pages that have an interest in what your business provides. Get involved in conversations but try not to be too business-like as this can often be off-putting to followers.
Build a following through advertising: It can be challenging for SMEs to grow a following from a standing start. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn offer a service for businesses where they can advertise through relevant posts. This is an excellent way to build a following and to engage with your target audience. This is a cost-effective means building your following as usually your business is only charged for each ‘click’ onto your advertisement.
Monitor your social media feedback: Of course, all business communications done via social media should be relevant and engaging. The more entertaining your postings and videos are, the more likely you are to grow your following. But how do you know if your communications are hitting the right note with your audience?
A great way of doing this is by monitoring online conversations, posts and tweets regarding your brand. There are many online tools that are free to use, such as Google Alerts that will notify you when your business is being discussed. Whether the results deliver positive or not so favourable feedback, it will empower you to form a strategy for the future.
If your SME needs to develop its social media – marketing strategy, contact the team at Effective Group. Our expertise has helped businesses throughout the UK create highly professional strategies to maintain business growth.