4 Things Small Businesses Must Understand About Social Marketing

Mark Cooper
Mark Cooper Co-founder/VP Customer, Offerpop

Posted on September 8th 2013

4 Things Small Businesses Must Understand About Social Marketing

Small Business Social Marketing

Social marketing is not just for big companies. It’s a practice – a discipline – any business, of any size, can jump into.

But that doesn’t mean all social marketing strategies are one-size-fits-all. For small businesses – typically resource-strapped and charged with carrying out many tasks at once – there are some very basic essentials that deserve particular attention.

As we put together The Small Business Social Marketing Workbook, we uncovered four essentials for boosting sales and customer engagement.

1. You Need to Know What You Want
Every company should set realistic goals for social. But if you’re a small business, where time and attention are stretched, not knowing what you want to get out of it can shut you down before you’ve even started.

Before you launch a Facebook campaign, or start tweeting incessantly, ask a simple question: What are the key objectives I want to accomplish?

Do you want to boost engagement for your in-store promotions? Are you out to build a bigger base of fans or drive up subscriptions for your email newsletter?

Take the time to figure out the two or three most important goals, and jot these down. They’ll help determine when something is working or if it’s time to change direction.

2. Figure Out Where Your Best Customer Is
Chances are you can easily picture your best customer. They’re the type to visit your store or site again and again. You can cite the age range, the location, maybe even the income level.

Now, can you name the social network most likely to draw in this ideal customer?

Understanding the various demographic – and geographic – pulls of different social networks will help you focus your efforts in the right place. This could be determined by size (Facebook is huge), location (Twitter does particularly well in urban centers), age and gender (Pinterest is particularly strong with women), or your product (Instagram naturally makes sense for snap-happy foodies).

Take the time to investigate which networks where your best customers congregate. It may be more than one, but fight the urge to be everywhere all at once.

3. Know the Difference Between Social Ads and Social Campaigns
In an older age of media, you simply paid to have an ad slapped onto a newspaper page or in between TV segments. But with social media paid, earned and owned media are converging.

That means small businesses need to know social marketing means more than purchasing ads on Facebook and Twitter. You need to build and engage your audience, keeping them active and connecting to their peers to make your ads successful.

Social campaigns are the best way to do this. A social ad is a paid placement for your copy, tweets or posts. A social campaign is where you make a coupon or offer available for fans or for sharing your content; it’s concepts like photo contests, caption contests and video contests where users create the content themselves; and it can involve hashtags, which integrate your campaigns across social networks and even across various marketing channels.

Social ads and social campaigns work well together. But it’s important to know the difference between them. 

4. Make Social a Part of Your Week
The last essential for small business is perhaps the simplest, but hardest to carry out. You need to make social marketing a regular part of your week.

This doesn’t require blowing up your week. It’s about fitting in the various tasks required for sustained social success in a natural way. It could involve 30 minutes coming up with campaigns one day and another 30 minutes analyzing results the next. When and where is not as important as making an actual schedule. Because if you simply wait until you have a free moment, you’ll quickly fall behind. And nothing is less fulfilling than an out-of-date social account.

Photo Credit: Social Marketing/shutterstock

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper

Co-founder/VP Customer, Offerpop

Mark is Co-Founder and VP Customer of Offerpop, a leading social marketing software company.  Offerpop helps marketers engage audiences everywhere. Launch powerful social marketing campaigns inminutes across all major social networks and marketing channels on any device subscribers.

Mark has helped launch an array of online, mobile and media businesses, including the first TV product placement ratings service (Nielsen IAG) and the wireless industry's first mobile virtual network operator (ESPN Mobile).  He began his career building brand campaigns for leading consumer marketers in the US and Asia / Pacific, including NIKE, General Mills and Apple. Mark holds a BA in History and a BA in International Economics from Brown University.

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Marshall Crawford
Posted on September 9th 2013 at 1:42AM

Like your points. To identify the exact need of your target audience in social media, you need to establish channels of communication. Blogs and discussion boards are the best ways that can lead to useful conversations. Communication in social media will give you two way result: you can get feedback from them as well as you can easily let your customers know about your latest updates.

Posted on September 9th 2013 at 11:21AM

Hi Mark thanks for sharing such a great post there are really helpful tips for small business. To me one of the most important points you have mentioned is number 4 as social media should be implemented in order to interact with current and future customers. Sharing valuable information with current and potential clients via social media offers businesses the opportunity to demonstrate that they are knowledgable in their field and that they truly understand how they are the solutions to their audience’s problems. In business your ultimate aim in marketing is to get this message across because once you are seen as both knowledgable and a solution,  customers are attracted to you like lightening to a lightening conductor. Whilst social media is an excellent platform it is just a tool so a key factor in getting the best benefits from it is knowing how to use it effectively to engage and interact with your community in a meaningful way.


We have written more about it in here, I would love if you give me your feedback.  http://www.eelanmedia.com/some-dos-and-donts-of-social-media/ 

Posted on September 15th 2013 at 12:26PM

Great insights. I agree that we should make social a part of our lives as an Internet marketer. We should also focus, not only on technology or automation, but more importantly on humanity and relation.