It can be hard to achieve successful brand awareness on social media, especially as there’s so much noise on social platforms. Nearly every business is active on social media these days and small brands can often be overlooked. Big brands have big teams with big budgets invested in their digital marketing. It’s one thing to have the time and flair to produce consistent, organic content for your current audience, but paid targeted campaigns that captivate wider audiences are a whole other contender.
For some businesses, this just isn’t possible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful online. If you’re a small business with limited to no budget for marketing campaigns, fear not; we’re here to assist you by offering ways in which you can organically engage your audience, increase awareness and grow your brand without any financial input.
Encourage consumer generated content
You must remember that social media is a network of consumers and businesses, with the purpose of being social. You want to be talking to your consumers, you want them to interact with you, and you want them to be talking to each other. Community interaction is essential for small businesses on social media, as word of mouth is one of the most highly effective ways to organically increase your brand awareness online. There are many ways that your small business can boost this kind of interaction:
- Run competitions on both Facebook and Instagram, where the participant must share the post to be entered. This gets the participant to share the post to their own social pages, where they have their own following (some of which might be interested and want to follow your brand).
- Run competitions on both Facebook and Instagram, where the participant must tag friends into the post. This will bring new audiences directly to your social media pages.
- Encourage your followers to post photos, tagging your brand and repost these to your Instagram stories and social media feeds. This works best if you sell a product and customers can share images of their purchase. Not only does it help your customers feel part of your brand, but it also provides you with content for your brand marketing.
- Ask for recommendations. Customers who are happy with the service they received will more than likely be happy to leave a review if you just ask.
- If customers visit your premises, give them an incentive to ‘check-in’ online. The goal is to get as many brand mentions as possible online.
Brands can use their engagement to understand what their consumers want from their brand. For small businesses, this can be incredibly useful to get feedback on products instead of conducting focus groups which can cost a lot of money. Consumers love to feel part of your brand, so this is a great way of interacting with your customers, and making them feel like their opinion is valued.
- Using Instagram Polls or Questions is a great way to start. (Instagram stories is a perfect way to interact with your consumers and to remind them to interact with you).
- On Facebook ask your consumers for feedback in a Facebook post.
Responding to your customers
As indicated above, consumers want a brand to interact with them and this can be achieved by replying to comments and questions. What makes a small business stand out from larger, more corporate businesses, is that you genuinely value each and every one of your customers, and can carve out the time to respond to each post comment. It is important to stay proactive in responding to your customers. This can be achieved by:
- Responding to all Instagram comments on your businesses posts.
- Liking and commenting on your customer’s pictures, which they have tagged you in.
- Responding to all Facebook comments.
- Responding to all Facebook messages- if you are quick at responding, you can earn a responsive badge, which will show you offer great customer service.
Make sure you respond to everything! Even if it’s a negative comment, showing your customers how you deal with negativity can help to keep your customers loyal.
It’s important to keep your consumers engaged with your brand and a big issue for small businesses is infrequent posting on social media. Consistently posting can increase engagement as your posts could more frequently appear on your consumer’s homepages and make your customers remember your brand. There are plenty of free scheduling tools and programmes that can help you to pre-plan your content and automatically post them, or remind you to post them, on set dates and times.
Content is crucial when it comes to effectively engaging consumers. It’s important to meet your consumers’ needs with interesting and relevant content. Ways this can be achieved include:
- Providing your audience with genuinely helpful information; this could be information about your brand, products, or industry.
- Keep images interesting and relevant.
- Keep images professional and of a high quality – no pixelated photos or logos!
- If your small business’s tone isn’t formal, use humour to engage- this could be a light-hearted image or caption.
Keep up to date with Facebook and Instagram Algorithms
Unfortunately, social media organic reach is based on the dreaded algorithms. What Facebook and Instagram choose to show you is based on certain factors, so it’s important to keep up to date with what they are, as they can change regularly. Both Facebook and Instagram acknowledge engagement from a consumer with a brand, as a reason to continue to show that consumer your posts, showing the absolute importance of enhancing engagement with your customers.
So, small businesses here’s a quick round up of everything we’ve covered.
- Encourage your consumers to talk about you and to you.
- Listen to your audience.
- Respond to customer queries and comments.
- Be consistent.
- Create engaging and interesting content.
- Keep up to date with Facebook and Instagram updates.
Just remember to offer value to your consumers’ lives and should start to see organic growth.