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How-Tu Tuesday: Using Social Media as an SME and thinking about your Strategy

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

November 17th 2015

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are often the companies who are most apprehensive and cautious in terms of being active on the social media. However, the irony of this is that the entire concept and characteristics associated with social media are most suited to smaller businesses who don’t have the budget for a wide-scale advertising or television campaign.

As it is Global Entrepreneurship Week this week (November 16-22), the premise of which is to celebrate innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and support human welfare, it is fitting to share some helpful advice for SMEs who want to make the most of their social channels and understand the most important skills to adopt.

Tell Your Story

The main difference between large well known brands and small businesses is the level of following they acquire and their levels of awareness within the general public. When a big company with an easily identifiable name (Coke, Topshop, Nike etc) becomes active on social media, they instantly gain a large following, and furthermore, people follow them without even looking at the kind of content they are sharing simply becomes they already have an affiliation with that brand. Smaller companies, however, have to work a little (or a lot) harder to build that relationship with users, and this is something that will take time in the beginning.

To begin this process, SMEs should weave their brand story into all content being posted. Always have the mindset that someone reading your tweet or Facebook post has never heard of your company and has no idea what you offer. Brands should be creative with this and avoid posting the same message, as this will only become repetitive for existing followers. This could include telling people about the services and products you offer, but it doesn’t always have to be as direct; if you own a restaurant, you could share recipes or cooking tips.

Define Your Strategy

SMEs not only lack the budget of a company worth millions, but they also lack other resources including time and manpower. It is crucial that small businesses combat these weaknesses by having a social media strategy in place that guides the process and clearly defines the following:

  • Platforms: make life as easy as possible and only be present on the channels where your consumers are choosing to engage and hang out. Focusing on a small number of platforms (2-3) will allow you to dedicate your time solely on these particular networks, thus improving the quality of posts and levels of interaction.
  • Integration: it must be understood by the whole team, who the person is that is responsible for the social media activity, and if it is more than one person, roles must be defined.
  • Content: there should always be a clear message being shared in every post published. Having a monthly calendar in place helps both with time and understanding of what needs to be communicated and when.
  • Metrics: it is important to understand what works well and attracts engagement (likes, comments, shares) and what doesn’t work well. Analyse the numbers and react accordingly.

You can read more about creating a social media strategy in one of our previous blog posts here.

Keep Going

Starting out on social media is like starting many other things in life, namely the business you created; in the beginning you may not see the results you desire, but you have to keep going and break through that barrier of frustration. I often compare it with weight loss; it takes time for people to notice a change in their body shape, even when they are eating well and working out, and then suddenly things fall into place and the results of your hard work show.

Social media works exactly like this – you have to post regularly and in the same tone. Maintain your brand persona, communicate the messages you want to share and engage with others. Eventually people will notice you and hit that like or follow button – and as they say, the rest is history!

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