Social media marketing reality check for small businesses

Your Business, February/March 2019

By Amantle Mokubing

Social media marketing continues to reign supreme in 2019. While this sounds like the obvious inexpensive avenue for small business owners to take advantage of, the reality is that you might not have the time to execute the social media marketing strategy that you committed to on paper when there’s still the operations side of the business to look after. Service enquiries, sales conversions, generating leads, orders and deliveries, salaries, new business development, customer complaints, logistics and other day-to-day activities are most likely to keep you on your feet all day. So how is one expected to make time for social media marketing while trying to stay in business?


1. Choose your content pillars. Decide on the channels and the frequency of your posts.

Make a decision on the type of content that you believe will help you attract new customers and retain the existing ones. Imagine running a mobile beauty salon. You could choose to have your company’s social media pages focus on showcasing the type of treatments that you have on offer, the quality of the salon’s equipment, your friendly staff, the skincare care brands available at the salon and reposting good customer reviews. In an effort to avoid inconsistency on social media, try planning ahead. Start with a bi-monthly social media calendar that allows you to plot the days on which you will post specific content. Make use of platforms that will enable you to pre-schedule your content and provide you with a dashboard view of your social media accounts such as Tweetdeck. When it comes to the content, you could perhaps choose to dedicate Wednesdays to a #MeetOurBeauts series during which you introduce your incredible salon staff members to your prospective clients.

Twitter is not only known for engaging content, but for also holding companies accountable for their brand promise. Should you choose to make use of Twitter as one of your social media
marketing platforms, be clear about its purpose in the business and ensure that you have enough resources to handle the enquiries, complaints and acknowledge the compliments that the business is most likely to receive through the channel. Be open to having frank and uncomfortable conversations on the public domain. Familiarise yourself with all the other platforms at your disposal and the expectations for each of them – from visually appealing posts on Instagram to more formal and insightul posts on LinkedIn. Stay informed about the regular updates from each platform with the aim of maximising its functionalities. For example, when using Instagram for business, ensure that your product or service related posts include price tags in order to make it easier for prospective customers to make a purchase decision and complete their purchase directly on your website.

2. Use on-site prompts to inform your store patrons about the business’ socail media

It would be great to get your social media marketing strategy off the ground in 2019 but even better to have your customers become part of your online community. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and experience their entire journey with your business. During that process, identify opportunities for prompting your customers to join your online community. Keep this to moments that are not forced, nor expensive to create and can be weaved into the current customer journey. If you are running an online store, you could choose to prompt customers to like and follow the business’ social media accounts during or after the checkout process. As a brick-and-mortar store owner, consider opportunities such as your packaging, mirrors in your fitting rooms and till slips to alert your customers about the business’ newly launched social media pages.

3. Master Google’s micro-moments and put a #hashtag on them

According to Google, customers turn to their mobile devices during intent-driven moments of decision making. This includes “I want to know moments”, “I want to go moments”, “I want to do moments” and “I want to buy moments”. Invest time in carefully crafting your company’s answers to these moments by creating experiences worth sharing. Make these moments original, exciting and engaging enough for your customers to authentically share the experience with their circle digitally and offline. Remember to include a hashtag. The hashtag will not only help increase your company’s share of voice online but will also help you track the conversation, making it easier for you to identify and fix the cracks in your business’ micro-moments while finding and sharing compliments from your prospects