Branding and Social Media for Small Businesses

This is a guest blog post by our social media maven, Liz Smith, owner of Bizzy Lizzie.

Liz Smith

Liz Smith, owner of Bizzy Lizzie.

Having a small business, you have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to marketing. The advantage is that you ARE your business, which means that you are the founder and the primary driver behind your brand and products. You set the mission statement, and your values are the ones that your company represents. The disadvantage is that unlike bigger companies, you generally have to do it all yourself.

Here are some tips on how to use your social media and marketing platforms successfully:

1) Brand consistency

Social media marketing is a brand amplifier, so it can only be as strong as the brand it represents. Stick to your mission statement, and if you don’t have one, create one.

A mission statement or tag line answers the simple question: what is this, and who is it for? Underlying that is: why do I need it? Create a logo and use it consistently: on your signage, on bags, in all of your digital and print marketing. Make sure your employees understand and communicate this brand message at all times.

2) Be yourself

One of the reasons that people like to buy from small businesses is that they get personal interaction. It’s very different than buying from a nameless, faceless corporation.

Don’t be afraid to step out from behind your brand and talk about yourself. It will let your customers get to know you, like you, and want to buy from you, especially if your values are aligned with theirs. This is AS important as marketing product. you are giving them a reason to choose to buy from you because it FEELS GOOD to them.

3) Know your target audience

You have your own customers and you probably know how to market to them, but did you know that you are also part of a larger brand which is your business district?

Study the assets and opportunities in your district and this will give you insight into a slightly broader audience and how you might serve them. Big community event coming up? Tailor your displays and products to serve those who might be attending those events. If multiple businesses do this, it creates consistency throughout the district and sends a clear message to customers and potential customers.

4) Support other businesses

We’re all in this together, so helping each other is key!

Let’s say you have a boutique and you just ran out and got coffee from your favorite place. It costs you nothing to post a picture of that coffee with a shout-out to the coffee shop (even better if you can tag them, both to let them know that you did it and for potential customers to immediately be able to connect to their business). It’s both real (you drink coffee, and you probably have customers that drink coffee and can relate to that), gracious, and next time they hear one of their customers looking to find product that you sell, they may be inclined to send them your way. Win-win!

5) Feed the beast

One thing about social media that people have a hard time with is that you need to “feed the beast” in order for it to be successful. I always tell my clients, if your time is limited choose just one platform and be good at it, rather than being so-so on multiple platforms. If you don’t consistently produce content, the chances of your posts getting seen diminish.

You want to build an engaged audience who see your posts regularly, and ideally take action on them (i.e. see a sale flyer and come in and make a purchase). Make sure that your platforms are up to date with all of the latest information (store closings, dinner specials etc). People rarely check websites for current information, they expect that they will find that on social media.

Keep tabs on your pages and be sure to answer any customer questions in a timely manner. If writing and posting are not your thing, you can lessen the load by choosing one day a week to write and schedule all posts, or you can hire someone like me to completely take it off of your hands! If you’re not doing it or spending time stressing over it, that’s costing you money.

My tag line is, “Let me run your social, while you run your business” — meaning, you focus on what you do best and I’ll take care of your online presence.

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