“Be careful what you wish for. “ Have you heard that one before? Sure you have.
If you owned or handled the marketing a small business in the 80’s or 90’s, I’ll bet you wished for a new type of media. You wished you could reach your market someway that was less expensive than traditional media like local TV and radio, billboards, newspaper, and direct mail.
As long as you are wishing, why not wish that new media is not just less expensive, but free? So that’s what you did. Then… ABRACADABRA! — your wish came true — a new media was born — social media!
LinkedIn invited business owners and employees to connect online in 2003. Facebook opened its digital doors in 2004. YouTube followed in 2005. In 2006, a little bird began tweeting at Twitter. Instagram began presented a new social image in 2010.
In the last 20 years, social media audiences in the U.S. have grown exponentially. LinkedIn has 64 million users. Twitter, even after Elon Musk took over, has 77 million. Both are dwarfed by the super tankers of social media: YouTube — with 246 million users, Instagram with 143.4 million and Facebook with 175.0 million users.
Are businesses marketing to these groups? Of course. The markets are too big to be ignore. And while a certain type of business may favor one social media platform over the other, there are plenty of choices.
According to Statista, however, five platforms get most of the action from marketers. As of January 2022, Facebook was the most used social media platform among marketers worldwide — with 90 percent of responding social media marketers using the network to promote their business, while another 79 percent did so via Instagram. LinkedIn, the smallest of the big five, is popular with 61% of marketers, followed by YouTube with 51% and Twitter with 43%.
With that big of an audience, it should be easy for a small business to get noticed and get new customers, right? Wrong. According to Forbes, social media is the number one task most small business owners would outsource if they could. That’s because creating social media messages that get noticed, that engage customers and drive business is a very time-consuming job.
Even if a business owner carves out the time to create the posts, he/she is unsure WHAT to post. Designing and writing creative and engaging posts is challenging even for professionals. But far and away, the biggest challenge is coming up with ideas for the content of the messages — because content is still king.
Score — The Service Corps of Retired Executives, offers some quick tips that small business owners can use to create content their social media posts. Here’s a sample:
- Case studies. Ask customers to describe how your product or service helped them accomplish their goals.
- Testimonials from happy customers.
- Photos of your recent work.
- Updates to your offerings— new products or services.
- Changes like extended summer hours of operation.
- Announcements of upcoming events, online and offline.
- Employee profiles.
- Awards and accolades your company receives.
- Help customers get more from your products with a tip of the day.
- Link to news stories relevant to your industry.
- Solicit your audience for advice, suggestions, and recommendations.
- List of local happenings and events. Remind people about things happening in your community, like concerts, festivals, and charity events.
- Gift ideas. Make suggestions relevant to your audience.
You can Google many more tips, but none of the tips matter if you don’t use them. So, use the resources, do the work and you’ll get results.
Next time, be careful what you wish for. ##