It’s a lot easier than you think, because most brands aren’t doing it right.
Bigger brands may have sophisticated social media presences, but SMEs rarely do. They’ start a few social media channels because it’s cheap, and it’s what everyone else does. Without investing in social media strategy, however, they rarely make a big impact. They post irregularly, rarely engage with followers and don’t develop a sophisticated voice. Social media remains essentially just a way for them to throw adds at customers now and then. And when that strategy doesn’t yield results, they put even less effort into it.
The truth is, posting because you think you’re supposed to post will get you nowhere. You’re better off with one really good social media channel than your competitor is with four semi-abandoned ones. If you take the time to develop your voice and strategy, post regularly and respond to messages and comments promptly, you can build a following your lazy competitors can’t match — even if they’ve been on social for years longer than you have.
Big brands do have some obvious advantages: better name recognition, bigger budgets that let them put together slick posts across multiple channels, and (in general) more influencers who already want to engage with their brand.
But SMEs have one big built-in advantage most big brands don’t: authenticity. If you’re an entrepreneur with an inspiring story, a local company with ties to your community or an underground brand offering something new and exciting to early adopters, that can resonate with consumers — even if you don’t have a massive ad budget.
Ultimately, you don’t have to beat all your competitors at their own game to win on social media. You just need to find a way to connect with your own market in a way that builds your own brand. If you’ve got a good team and a strong brand voice, backed up by a solid product, that’s something you can do.
If your brand can jump in and engage with the story while everyone is paying attention, it can lead to viral posts, traffic boosts, press coverage and greater visibility for your brand. This strategy, known as newsjacking, works best if you get your voice out there while it’s still breaking new. If you join in too late, and you’ll just look like another company trying to ride the trend.
To be one of the first voices out there, you need an active social media team. Not only will that enable you to track and react quickly to current events, it will also ensure your message gets out, so that reporters, influencers and followers see your take while the story is still hot.
Not surprisingly, when you stay in front of your customer base, they’re more likely to buy from you when they need the products you sell, but social media marketing does far more than increase brand presence. You can influence customer buying decisions at multiple points along the sales funnel, from amplifying the reach of white papers and blogs targeting top of funnel, to answering customer questions and addressing pain points, to incentivizing buyers with coupon codes.