Social media has come a long way in a short period of time. When Facebook and Instagram first launched, no-one could have predicted that these two social network companies would be worth billions.
Today, social media has become an added marketing tool for most businesses. Social media helps businesses communicate to their target audiences directly and find new leads by way of using users’ shared information to identify interest. Additionally, social media advertising proactively targets relevant users even before they begin their search. It’s no wonder why companies are leveraging social media channels to promote their brand and or product sales.
When it comes to marketing, small and medium enterprises are often required to think of innovative and cost-effective solutions to get their brands seen. Social media also offers brands the opportunity to connect with prospects and engage with them in real time.
How can SMEs benefit from using social media? Here are some points:
1. Build a loyal following
Social media offers a collaborative platform for businesses to captivate, connect and communicate
– what I would term as the three C’s of communication
– with both their audiences and prospects. And it is simple: all you need to do is constantly engage your online followers because people want to feel that you truly care for them. By continually checking in with your followers and fans, you are essentially building rapport with them, thus letting them feel that they are important.
Treat your customers like friends. To do that (and right), you need to care about their needs. And even if you do not have anything to offer your customers, it does not hurt to say “Hi!” and or send them a personalised greeting on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and or WeChat. After all, the customer is king and he or she wants to be treated like royalty.
Businesses can also take their engagement a step further by organising regular meetups to get to know their prospects and fully understand their needs and wants. Over time, your fans will better understand your brand values and business offerings. That will differentiate your business from your competitors.
2. Invest in building a strategic asset
Over the last decade of deep explorations into the changing business landscape, I have found that the best way to succeed in a dynamic world lies in viewing digital marketing and communication channels as a strategic revenue generating activity, rather than as a cost-centre for activities. Knowing how to use your social media channels effectively can make an impact in your company’s bottom line.
With the prevalence of digital technology in marketing, instant messaging and blogs taking precedence as the main and preferred form of marketing to connect with audiences, captivating them with compelling brand messages and communicating one-on-one, investing in digital properties is the preferred way to be seen and heard.
3. Communicate your brand stories
Modern customers enjoy social interaction and are perpetually glued to their smart devices. Along with a high smartphone penetration rate, people are forever swiping the screens of their mobile devices. More so than any other generation, Millennials are spending 5.4 hours of their time on social media a day, according to a study by multi-channel response direct marketing company, Koeppel Direct. To engage audiences, SMEs must be able to effectively communicate their brand’s stories in whatever ways that captivate them.
Take Singapore Chinese Orchestra for example. Steeped in heritage and revered in tradition, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) is probably an unexpected heritage brand that would embrace digital marketing channels to communicate its brand’s ideals. SCO constantly puts out interesting information in the form of three to fi ve minute digital videos and short bites that are well-put together and that engages the audience. A cursory glance at the Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s Facebook page reveals the organisation’s efforts in constantly connecting with its current fans, plus reaching out to the younger audiences.
Branding is all about perception. Knowing how to position your brand is equally important as knowing how to sell your company’s products and solutions. Positioning statements give your brand character and lay the foundations for both the marketing and operating decisions of a business.
All in all, SMEs can successfully overcome traditional advertising shortcomings by leveraging on digital platforms and social media channels to give their brands a push.
- Florence Fang, Managing Director and Principal Consultant,
Flame Communications Pte Ltd -