2014 Small Biz Challenges: You Got 99 Problems but a Tweet ‘Aint OneMay 13, 2014
If you’re a small-to-medium-sized business, just breathe and listen to Jay. Studies indicate that the growth of small businesses will continue to progress in 2014, as small businesses have generated more than 65% of the new jobs created in the U.S. since 1996.
We’re a small business too (fastest growing seed startup in D.C. btw), so that stat gives us a sense of pride. But we’re also aware that attracting new customers is THE biggest challenge in 2014—and two out of three small businesses agree.
A recent survey by Linkedin shows that social media is indeed the magic elixir for bringing in new audiences. So without further ado, here’s the three biggest audience-related challenges your small biz will likely face in 2014, and the easy-to-do social media marketing solutions that will guarantee higher success:
1. Getting Your Story Out
While big brands might have the extensive marketing teams behind them, your challenge is not just how to spread your SMB story to the most people, but to the right people—aka, the ones who are likely to be interested in and will engage with your business.
Social Solution—What makes more sense to you: shouting from the rooftops and crossing your fingers that someone will listen, or pinpointing a large number of people you already know are interested? The latter we described is called influencer marketing, and is the method of finding the people that have a lot of influence on social media, and then encouraging them to become customers and promoters of your brand. Because other people listen to influencers, it’s a way to get your story out—with less time, less cost, and better long-term results.
2. Engaging With Audiences ‘Round The Clock
The part that often creates the most stress for SMBs is the constant engagement you need to maintain over social media. This can be tricky, as your employees are probably busy with other parts of your business.
Social Solution—64% of people say they will share positive experiences of brands they follow with their own social media followers, and 92% of people say they trust recommendations from friends more than other forms of marketing. But we’re most thrilled to say that building and maintaining relationships DOESN”T have to be time-consuming! Today, there are free tools at your disposal, like TweetDeck, that help automate and alert you of social media opportunities. And while Zoomph isn’t free (it’s $15/month for those who want to know), it does provide a comprehensive set of tools that lets you reach out to customers across multiple social platforms in real-time (shameless plug over, we promise). The point is, by doing some research, you can get the tools to make your life easier, and keep your social media marketing at full throttle.
3. Finding The Audiences You Never Thought to Look For
Yep, this one’s a doozy of a challenge without the right tools. Social media marketing is all about opening yourself up to new audiences and opportunities. So where do you start looking for those long-term, hard-to-find customers?
Social Solution: There are a number of social media marketing tools that SMBs can use to get their names in front of new audiences. For example, Promoted Tweets are a great way to spotlight your best material in front of new people on Twitter who currently aren’t following your brand. Another best practice is to start capitalizing on real-time marketing. Leveraging events or trending conversation in the moment has been shown to dramatically increase customers’ willingness to recommend a brand to others, making it a vital technique for every small business’s social media strategy.
All in all, 2014 is shaping up to be a great year for Small Business Owners. So go out and brush your shoulders off like Jay-Z. Because armed with the above social marketing tools and insights, any so-called ‘challenges’ are really your #platinum opportunities.
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