Growing Social Media Presence
With the development of vaccination, the end of COVID-19 seems close, but at the same time, small businesses are more critical for the growth and recovery of the U.S. economy than ever.
According to McKinsey & Company, the restaurant, retail and manufacturing sectors account for 30% of the small businesses jobs in the U.S. and Harvard Business Review noted that businesses with 500 or fewer employees account for 48% of American jobs and 43.5% of GDP.
Supporting small businesses during the pandemic is not only important for income security of owners and entrepreneurs, but also for boosting U.S. employment and economic welfare. However, many small businesses entered 2020 with little financial flexibility as many operated with a negative cash flow or at their break-even point prior to the unanticipated pandemic.
A Glance in the Past and the Future
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and soon after, social distancing and face masks became health precautions. Throughout 2020, people attended remote work and virtual meetings and were encouraged to avoid crowded locations such as restaurants, parties and gatherings. While our social lives were impacted by the pandemic, businesses and the economy took a drastic hit as well.
During the worst of the pandemic, U.S. GDP dropped 32.9% during April, May and June and 1.43 million people filed for unemployment according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
However, with President Biden’s announcement that all adults will have access to vaccination by the end of May, the end seems near. Morgan Stanley predicted 6.4% global GDP in 2021 (5.3% U.S. GDP prediction) and JP Morgan concluded that 67% of small business owners are still optimistic about their company’s outlook in 2021.
Why Social Media Presence is So Important
Not only do small businesses have to adapt to the change in customer behaviors influenced by the pandemic, they’re also challenged to invest in new technologies and most importantly, shift and refocus their marketing strategy. This is where social media comes in.
The stay-at-home orders and the social distancing encouraged the use of social media platforms; Facebook website usage increased by 27%, YouTube by 15.3% and TikTok by 15.4%. Small businesses that have taken advantage of the surge in social media usage during the pandemic boosted their company presence and thus their acquisition rate.
While small businesses tend to rely on word of mouth to market their products and services, networking is limited in the sense that current customers only have their designated social circle; whether it be their friends or families, there tends to be a limit to the amount of people one can reach simply by word of mouth. Due to this, the segments of customers that are reached by word of mouth are also restrictive. Small businesses may be missing out on an entire market that they could have benefited from because they are unable to break through their current customers’ network circle.
Additionally, with the pandemic, communication becomes more difficult for those living in different time zones and different access to technology, and conversations gear mainly towards health and safety rather than brand advocacy.
Essentially, the challenge is to emphasize social media utilization and efficiently increase brand awareness. That way, small businesses can reach a broader audience. However, simply increasing brand exposure is not enough if viewers do not return. Social media marketing is also crucial to a small business’ retention rate.
The high accessibility of social media allows business owners and employees to interact and receive feedback directly from their customers. Small businesses have the opportunity to build a personal connection with their customers and establish strong customer support and satisfaction.
Now the question is how do small businesses start from complete scratch and efficiently allocate their limited resources to engage and capture the attention of internet users? How do small businesses use social media to their advantage and become successful?
How to Market Through Social Media
There are many details to mind when starting and managing a growing social media account for a small business. From the branding to the profile bio, the business owner must ensure that their social media account synchronizes with the values, vision and mission that their business stands for. That, in itself, is time consuming. Arguably, the most challenging aspect of managing social media is growing followership and content viewers. Here are three tips for a small business to market through social media.
It is important to engage customers through regular content updates so that they are returning to the business’ accounts and eventually, because of the regular updates, they will follow the account to not miss anything. Several ideas for content would be featuring customers who are verified buyers. Interview them, obtain a quote from them and let them speak for the product or service. This, ultimately, is digitizing and strengthening the word of mouth marketing method; it is more powerful for a customer to be advocating for a brand to everyone on the internet than just their networking circle.
Through content updates, small business owners can provide regular announcements regarding their products and services. For instance, customers will be notified of any sales opportunities or new products or services available through the business’ social media accounts. This is a much faster and more efficient method of communication rather than notifying customers through email or phone.
The second tip is to take advantage of the functions embedded in different social media platforms and to expand the business’ digital presence in multiple websites. The #hashtags function on Instagram and the tagging ability on Facebook are just some examples of tools that small businesses can use to increase exposure of their products. Anyone browsing in these categories has the potential to become aware of the business. They will also be more likely to be interested in the products because functions such as #hashtags automatically filter and segment users by their behaviors, tastes and preferences.
If the business owner’s primary goal is to increase their followers and following ratio, it is important to increase interaction with consumers. For instance, through events such as giveaways or discount opportunities, small business owners encourage participants to share brand content on their personal social media accounts.
Lastly, it is crucial for small businesses to monitor their social media trends in order to better target content to the right audience. Identifying patterns is an essential tactic for developing effective marketing strategy. This is where Blocklight comes in.
How Blocklight can Help YOU Grow Your Social Media Presence
At Blocklight, small business isn’t small to us.
We provide all tools that are necessary for accurate and efficient company data analysis. Blocklight compiles information about sales, accounting, social media and other marketing channels, and through the reports and dashboard updates, small business owners gain useful and actionable insights into their social media presence and the overall growth of their brand. Our tools not only alleviate the stress of analyzing data for small business owners, but also allow owners to segment more of their time towards other aspects of their business.
Whether it be the recommendations our database will provide or the dashboard displaying your business metics, your experience at Blocklight will be customized to you. Start with us for free and watch your business grow as you implement the tools provided by us. Blocklight is here to empower and support you in building your business, and we cannot wait to see your success.