Social Media For Small Business

The social media uptick and what it means for small business


In one form or another, social media have been with us for decades. From early emails and discussion boards, the world wide web has seen a strong social side since the beginning of its existence, pretty much. After all , the internet is only a communications tool – and what we use those for, of course, as the name suggests, is to reach out and be sociable.

For small business, social media is something that’s often overlooked, since in many cases an SME owner or senior manager may feel that

  • Time needs to be spent on more pressing projects
  • Only big brands benefit
  • There’s only a small potential return on the time invested

But for many small businesses, perception as well as profitability have been enhanced. So in order to get the best from social networks the things to think about in the initial stages are as follows.

The objective. This can be something as simple as simply raising awareness of the organisation and having a social media presence as a means of achieving that. Or it could be more specific and be related to something like promoting a new product line.

Who is the audience? Most businesses have a string idea of who their target market is, and it’s important to make your social media content speak to them. This isn’t anything massively complex – more a process of saying the things that will be of value to them, and in a way that it will please them to hear it.

And it doesn’t matter how small your business is if you’re looking to get a social media boost. For a time I lived in a city in the west of Germany. A lot of the small businesses near where I lived had their own social media presence on the usual platforms. One was a very cool coffee shop – not cool as in exclusive or expensive – just a nice place that had a bit of a buzz about it. And on their social media they’d post pictures of the latest batch of fabulous cakes in stock, well photographed cups of coffee, and so on – all done in a way that showed off what the business was in business for, and what it did very well.

Another local German business near to where I lived was the local corner shop – basically a small licensed grocers shop. But it diffentiated itself from nearby business by stocking the best range of beer, and having a well-designed logo on its carrier bags. And the social media was used similar to the coffee shop – showing off what the company was selling. An added benefit, of course, is that people such as myself who are familiar with the area are likely to pop back into these places when we visit, and in no small part because we feel we have a relationship with them.

Where social media can lead

For some businesses, it seems the sky’s the limit. Social media is highly unlikely to be the thing that makes your commercial star shine, but it is definitely an important way of helping you get your message out there – as well as getting an idea of who your fans are too, and letting them interact by leaving comments or likes. Of course, there may be the odd curveball, but by handling these you’re demonstrating your commitment to customer service.

Social media can also help expand awareness of your business beyond national boundaries, which is especially handy if you also want to sell overseas – as well as finding new ways to grow the business at the same time.

Blogging on SME news and developments, D Parsons works alongside AXA PPP healthcare small business health insurance on a variety of se;f employed and small business topics.