Small business marketing is interesting, because you probably have all the expertise of big corporations, just not the massive budget!
So how can you stand out?
The small business marketing tips below are designed to help you strategically build a powerful brand online, whether you’re a local business or have customers all over the country!
Inspiration for the article came from an interview I did, where the interviewer focused on smaller brands, and how they can turn average consumers into loyal customers without a big budget.
Why shouldn’t every small business be able to do that? The digital world is our oyster, and if we navigate it just right, we can create wonderful, lasting results!
1. What are the best social media platforms for small business marketing?
The best place to be is wherever your audience is. If your targets spend all their time on Instagram, for instance, that’s where you should be.
As a default, I’d recommend Facebook, partially because of how many people are on it, but mostly because it’s an easier platform to share recommendations.
On Facebook, your customers can share that they’ve worked with you (and tag you in that post), which is essentially them giving hundreds of others a personal recommendation to work with you, too.
Now multiply this effect by how many customers you have, and that’s how effective Facebook can be (in general) for small business marketing.
If you run an ecommerce site, Pinterest is also a great platform to engage viewers and convent them into happy customers.
Generally, the more places you can be, the better. But you’ll usually get the most benefit from focusing on the 1 or 2 platforms where your targets spend most of their time.
2. What are 3 topics a small business can focus on to develop content?
There are so many options! Which topics your business should focus on really depends on what questions your targets are asking.
If your target customers are asking questions around, say, maintaining HVAC units, you should be creating content around that.
If your targets are asking questions about tax preparation, filings, and deductions, your content should focus around that.
The whole point of creating content is to add value. What would add value to your targets?
Answering your targets questions brings people to you, and helps you engage, convert, and keep customers.
If you’re not sure what specific questions your target customers ask, go to your sales team or account managers. Any questions they get are prime choices for your content strategy!
As far as 3 areas of content to focus on, I’d recommend:
- Questions people ask before working with a business like yours
- Questions people ask about your specific business
- Questions customers ask after working with you
- Bonus option: Any topic you think would add value to your targets
3. How often should small businesses post to better engage with their clientele?
Well, it depends – on your industry, on which platform, and on which study you look at it. They all give you different answers.
The more helpful blog posts you can get out, the better. Though 1 post every 2 weeks is a great starting point for small business marketing.
Studies show the best social media engagement on Facebook and LinkedIn comes at 5 posts a week, or 1 a day. For Instagram or Snapchat, it could be anywhere from 1-5-20 times a day!
Sending 1 email a week is just fine, and tweeting 2-5x a day is good.
How often you should post also depends on how social media fits into your content and advertising strategies.
If you only create 1 new piece of content a month, for instance, there’s not much sense in posting every day. What new value would you bring?
Aside from new content, you should also have conversations with your customers and followers from time to time, just like you would with your friends.
This keeps relationships strong, and keeps you at the top of customers’ minds whenever they’re talking with other friends (which can lead to more referrals).
4. Why is it important to have a Facebook business page separate from a personal page?
Great question! There are several reasons.
Having a Facebook business page gives your brand and website more search engine optimization (SEO) value, which helps bring more people to you.
When someone searches on Google for, say, “pest control near me,” you’ll stand a much better chance of being found with a Facebook business page than without.
A Facebook business page also lets you get, display, and share reviews from clients, which are valuable in helping you get new clients.
Reason #3 a Facebook business page is valuable is that it simply makes you look more professional. It brings you more clout compared to those who don’t have one, and looking better than your competition goes a long way in small business marketing.
5. How many words and images should a blog post have?
Generally, longer posts (on any platform except email) tend to get more engagement. Posts with more images tend to get more engagement, too.
But that doesn’t mean you should write super long stories every time, or add 100 photos to every blog article. There’s always a limit.
For good, informative content, 800-1,500 words with an image thrown in every 200-300 words is great. If you’re presenting in-depth research, 2,000-2,500 words is a good range.
Posts around 800-1,200 words tend to get the most shares, while posts with about 2,500 words tend to rank highest in search results, so write what’s best for your overall strategy.
Keep in mind that word count should be your last consideration when creating content. You first and foremost need to add value to your targets, and then you need to keep their attention.
6. What tools do you recommend small businesses use to promote their posts?
You can create a bunch of posts all at once, and then schedule those posts to go out when your audience is most likely to engage with them. (Mid-morning and late evening tend to be good times.)
There are also a million free video tools to help you create more entertaining content, like Boomerang for Instagram or any of Snapchat’s fun filters.
For brick and mortar small businesses, you need to have a Google My Business page, and an online listing wherever else you can get one.
Yext is a great service for creating and managing online listings on dozens of sites. It might cost more than other tools you use, but over time it will be worth it for many small businesses.
7. What else would you like to add?
The only good thing that happens instantly is winning the lottery. Successful small business marketing is going to take time, and probably a lot of trial and error.
Try not to get discouraged if things don’t take off quickly, and commit to promoting yourself a little more each day.