The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Utilize Social Media

by Joanne Lindberg

As a small business owner, competing against some of the larger big box retail chains on social media can be daunting. Brand recognition for these large chains makes it easier for consumers to search them out versus a local retail store. Consequently, small businesses may be missing out on utilizing social media.

Today, the retail landscape is changing. Toy-R-Us declared bankruptcy and closing all of its stores. Sears and Kmart are also facing financial difficulties and closing stores.

Closed Sign on a small business shop

As a result, now is the time for small businesses to take advantage of this changing retail climate by utilizing social media to gain advantages over these larger, struggling companies.

Know Your Audience

What types of people buy your products or services? Take note of the people who are currently buying from your business.

Do these people make up the market that you are trying to go after? Understanding your existing consumer base is an important first step. If your business happens to be a bakery, you probably have a good understanding of your consumers. But what if you want to expand your product offerings to address those consumers who are gluten-free, dairy-free, or have nut allergies? This audience could be kids, teenagers, or adults that you are not currently targeting.

Lady with Shopping Bags

Reach Your Audience on Social Media

After you understand your audience, get your message to them on social media. Paid advertising is one avenue to consider. Once you understand your audience, the next step is to get your message to them on social media through paid advertising.

Research from Crowdtap revealed 64% of 3,000 people surveyed use social to find inspiration for shopping (up 51% vs. prior year). This is driven by retailers targeting consumers with personalized offers and deals on social networks:

  • Nearly half (46%) of social media users use social platforms while thinking about making a purchase.

Paid advertising also allows you to set a budget that you are comfortable with.

Tell Your Story on Social Media

Every small business owner has a story. As a child, you may have spent a lot of time in the kitchen with your mom or grandma. As a result, this experience led you to open a bakery. Maybe your woodworking hobby turned into a custom furniture business because people loved the pieces you created. Connect emotionally with your audience. Let them know where your passion for your business started by explaining some of the challenges or accomplishments of running the business. Emotional connections leave a lasting impression with customers. 

Focus On Your Community

small business owners that use social media

In my community, a family-owned pizza place sponsors a Latin Festival for the residents every year.

Vendors, musicians, dancers, food carts, etc. all gather on the town’s community park where everyone enjoys a day of fun.

To promote the event, posts are created to announce the festival and the day’s events. Specific hashtags are created and attendees are encouraged to post photos of the festival with the hash tag.

Make Your Customers Top Priority

Small businesses can utilize social media to provide one-on-one support.

By making your customer a top priority, you make them feel important. Encourage them to leave reviews by sending them thank-you cards. If you receive a negative review or comment, reach out to the person publicly, listen to the complaint and resolve it in a quick way.

Make sure you reply quickly and address each customer.

Go the extra mile to put your customer first. Give them the nudge needed to purchase something from you.

In conclusion, you should have learned how small businesses can utilize social media Give us your feedback or tell us what you do to set yourself apart from the big-box retailers.

Category: Social Media Marketing 201