Almost every business owner understands the importance of having a website that’s chock-full of useful content, but incredibly, a lot of companies are still underestimating the value of social media management for developing an audience and increasing leads. This oversight is definitely not shared by consumers, up to three quarters of whom will check a business’ social media profiles before making a purchase – in some cases (mostly B2C) even favouring social channels over the company’s website.
Even in 2021, SMEs are still relying on the “if you build it, they will come” approach to generating leads. Forget pretty designs, logos and colours – a brand is judged to be successful based on it’s reputation. This is earned through sharing relevant content, interacting with your audience and growing trust through authority and social responsibility. Ultimately there’s only one place to do all of this – social media.
“But wait – unless you’ve got the money to invest in ads, there’s not much point, right?”
Wrong! Using organic methods to build an interested and engaged audience on social media is not only possible, it can actually reap better rewards in the long-run, thanks to the credibility and transparency that social media provides. It takes a bit of time and effort, but trust us – it’s worth it! For all you hard-working SMEs out there, here are a few tips you can use to grow your digital profile, reach new audiences and earn some game-changing leads.
Start posting (and engaging) regularly
Don’t be shy! If you want to build an audience on social media quickly, the best thing you can do is show up and show off. This may take a little discipline at first, as getting into the habit of posting and engaging with other accounts on a daily basis can seem like a daunting commitment. Try setting 30 mins aside from your morning routine and you’ll be off to a good start!
It may not be as immediately effective as a solid PPC campaign, but posting regularly on social media is a perfect way to build an engaged audience and to build trust and credibility in your brand. Earning lots of organic shares of your social content can even have an indirect effect on your website SEO. Google doesnt rank social content per se, but getting shared by lots of trusted pages and accounts tells Google that your content is of a high standard. Remember also that with social media you get out what you put in, so don’t be stingy when it comes to engaging with other people’s content.
It’ll cost you a bit of time, but social media is a sure-fire way of developing your digital presence, and best of all, it’s freeeeeeee!
Build a personal brand
Research is showing that personal brands are becoming increasingly important and, done properly, they can even outshine established company profiles. For SME owners and directors, creating a personal brand is a fantastic marketing trick that can get you, and your business, a lot more exposure.
Users like to get to know brands a little before taking the jump, and as such, they will often check out a company’s socials before they’ve even visited their website. That’s all well and good, but if your profile is just a logo and a stream of sales-driven messages punctuated by the occasional “It’s National Cake Day!” post, it won’t do anything to endear you to them. Put simply, being a faceless brand just isn’t enough in 2021.
To really make an impact, you need a human out there, providing insightful content whilst extolling and exemplfying the brand’s values. Start a blog, record a few videos about your skills or even post a selfie with a happy client and you’re well on your way! We’ve said it a thouand times – people buy from people – so if you’re an SME owner, consider how you could build your own personal brand.
For more resources, check out Search Engine Journal’s What Is Personal Branding & 4 Reasons Why It’s Important
Identity and follow industry leaders
Quick reality check, this does NOT mean plagiarise or steal ideas from other people. However, you should make an effort to find out what the big players in your industry are posting on their socials. Keeping a close eye on their channels can also give you some great ideas for content – again, without outright copying or stealing their work. Seriously, don’t do it.
When it comes to Social Media Marketing for SME’s, there’s no faster way to get your profile off the ground than by identifying the hot topics and jumping into the conversation. Don’t be afraid to share content from other accounts that fits your ethos, but be sure to add your own opinion or additional thoughts to add value for your readers.
Once you’ve noticed them, see if you can get them to notice you! Post some insightful content using similar hashtags, or post when you know they will be online. Remember that you have to give engagement in order to get engagement, but a share or retweet from an industry leader is worth it’s weight in gold.
Have a go a thought leadership
Okay, so it sounds like some kind of brainwashing, but thought leadership is a common tactic for social media, if you’re brave enough.
‘Thought Leadership’ can be thrown around as a buzzword, but don’t let that put you off. Thought leadership is establishing yourself as an expert in your field by creating content that you use to discuss a particular issue and provide your own opinion.
By facilitating conversations and building an active, engaged community you begin to build trust and credibility within your network. This sets the stage for you to be the first person people will come to when seeking information, and often helps to stimulate word of mouth and referrals. For long term strategies, consider how you could get your blogs and articles onto other websites and publications, simultaeously building on your brand and earning some tasty backlinks!
Don’t be fooled by vanity metrics
There’s a bit of a debate on the subject of explicit social media response i.e likes, shares etc. Some argue that these are less important, as 96% of social media users are “lurkers” and will take a decision on whether or not to purchase from a brand without first engaging.
Others scoff at this idea, declaring the other side to be making excuses for the apparent lack of engagement on their own channels. We say you need a bit of both. To us, views are what ultimately make prizes, but having a whole lot of algorithm-hugging engagement certainly doesn’t hurt!
Which analytics you track depends on your audience, your product and your objectives, but a good place to start beyond the traditional vanitry metrics can be exploring Google Analytics and looking at the quality of traffic coming in from your social media.