Running a small business has definitely changed over the last 10 to 20 years. With the internet becoming available in the average household and then social media coming onto the scene - the way businesses operate also changed.
Not only do businesses need to take care of the everyday running of things if they are a brick and mortar store, but they also need to have an online presence. This may seem like a lot to someone who is not used to social media but here is why it is important.
Let's start with a scenario:
I am new to the neighbourhood and I am out walking one day and I see your shop. Your exterior branding is excellent enough to catch my eye and make me want to wonder in and see what is inside. So I do and I see your products and I fall in love. I am instantly a raving fan and want to tell all my friends about what you sell because it is amazing and I want them to experience everything that I just did but they cannot because they do not live in the same town as me. In fact, they live all over the world because I am a bit of a gypsy and have moved around a bit. I am also a micro influencer, meaning that I have a small personal following of around 5,000 people who I engage with on a daily basis. I go onto my favourite social media platform to see if I can follow your brand and tag the products that I bought and share the love to my followers - but I cannot find your shop. So I try a different platform, not my favourite but the love is still there and I want to follow your brand - nothing. I cannot find your shop anywhere. Disappointed, I show my friends anyway but cannot tell them they can get some too.
Looking at this scenario, you might think that this is far fetched but actually it is not. This is how people operate these days on social media. With social media you turn your store into a brand. This is because you open yourself up to global opportunities and expansion. You are no longer that little shop down the street from me, you are a brand that is available and operates on a global scale. I am not kidding because I have done it myself as well with my business.
I used to live in one of the remote places on Earth in the Pilbara region of Western Australia (the photo above is literally what it looked like) - it was 1500kms north of Perth - and I still operated a globally expansive and available brand. All thanks to the internet and social media. There was not any place to "hang out" and "network" where I lived and operated my business, so I did it all with social media and you can and should be doing the same with your business.
Your customers want to be connected with you, truly they do.
If they loved your café, they will want to know what today's special is - if it catches their eye they might drop in for a treat. If you sell products, they want to know what's new and what's happening. It's a great way to connect without having to worry about being "spammy" or bothering people. The people who follow you on whatever platform you are on, they are there because they want to hear from you!
Think of social media marketing like a love letter from you to your customers.
Use it to connect with them, answer their questions, engage with them on your posts, find out what they want by using surveys and engagement posts. Share behind the scenes photos and short videos with little effort that just would not be appropriate in other scenarios. You can't bring a thousand customers behind the counter and show them something neat in your shop - but you can do it on social media!
How to get started
The first thing that you need to do is to open social media accounts on a variety of different platforms. Then just tell your customers about it and begin posting - that way when they come to follow your account it is not empty! They will want to see how liking or following you will be beneficial to them so share some interesting things like behind the scenes videos and the special or sale that is happening. At first you have to pretend that you have thousands of amazing followers, even if you do not.
Once you have signed up for a variety of different social media platforms, you can use an app like Metricool to keep you organized. Metricool saves you time so you do not have to log in to separate accounts, everything is in one place. This is really important because not having enough time is the number one complaint of businesses and their excuse about why they are not on social media. You can also create, and schedule posts ahead of time so that you do not have to stress about social media posting during the busy rush periods. You won't need a team and you can do it for free using Metricool - amazing! They also have a premium version that has even more features like data tracking and analytics so you don't need to figure out your engagement percentages on your own, the app does it for you. Plus it's super affordable or free regardless of whatever version you choose, you can still use the app.
If you got this far in the article, I hope I have convinced you that social media marketing is a must for your small business. It can be easy with the right apps on your side and fun to connect with your raving fans. Just try it, you might be surprised on how fun it is!
<3 Jes xo
DISCLAIMER: Metricool links are affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small profit if you click and sign up for the premium version. I only promote products that I love and use myself so I am never going to rip you off with useless junk.