Leveling the Playing Field with Social Media

Entrepreneurs and small business owners face a lot of challenges, particularly if you’re starting your business later in life. One of these challenges is trying to compete with much larger companies who have a good handle on today’s technology. You may have the best service or the most innovative product, but trying to get your name in front of clients is tough, especially when you are the marketing department, ad agency, and sales force, all rolled into one.

Social Media to the Rescue

The best way to compete with these large, tech-centric companies may actually be to meet them on their own terms. Social media sites have leveled the playing field among businesses. A one-man show can get as much or more out of social media than the largest company can. If you want to ramp up your presence, here are some things to keep in mind.

  • It’s not just for the tech-savvy. There’s a little bit of a learning curve, but you’re probably using most of the tools already. It’s a short leap to making them work for your business.
  • Understand where your customers are. If you’re just starting out, you won’t want to hit every social networkat once. Start with one or two, and then expand your reach. To figure out where to start, ask your existing customers if they use Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or something else. You want to meet your customers where they are.
  • Be consistent. Make sure your company has a consistent image across all media. This could be as simple as using your logo as your profile picture in all of your messages, or it could mean a common picture that links to your blog posts. It’s a fine line between consistency and redundancy, though, so make sure your posts have enough originality that followers won’t think they’ve already seen them.
  • All roads lead to the blog. Your tweets and posts should lead your followers back to your blog, which should live on your website. That way, when they click on a link they are going to a place where they can make a purchase, or at least find out how to do so. This is particularly true for e-commerce companies.
  • Work at increasing your followers. You want as many people as possible to see your posts, so you have to increase your followers. Look for accounts that your followers are engaging with, and follow them. (Are you following this?) Encourage your Facebook fans to follow you on Twitter, your Twitter followers to join you on Instagram, and so on.
  • Engage with your followers. If you are a local retailer, host a Snapchat scavenger hunt. Post a close-up photo of a local landmark on Instagram and give a prize to the person who can identify it first. Social media was made for contests, giveaways, and promotions—just let your imagination run wild.
  • Once you have established your presence, look at advertising opportunities. The nice thing about advertising on social media is that you can keep your costs under tight control. You specify your spend, and when you’ve reached your limit, your ad stops.

An active social media presence will help you compete against companies that are much larger and more established. It doesn’t matter if you’re 17 or 70, or in business for two months or 20 years. Social media is the great equalizer, so tweet, post, and pin to your heart’s content, and watch your business grow.

Jenny Holt is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.