It would be an understatement to say that small business owners face many problems that leaders of larger organizations don’t have to contend with. Executives at big enterprises have their own challenges to deal with, but they’re rarely as strapped for time and budget as small business owners. But a limited budget and schedule shouldn’t stop you from finding innovative ways to tackle your business’s challenges. By learning how to use social media and its many advantages, you can both save valuable resources and run your business smarter.
To help you use social media to address your business needs, we have put a list of social media challenges that small businesses face, along with ways on how to use social media to solve them.
Here’s how to use social media to solve 5 small business problems
Jump to problem:
- I’m looking to increase my brand awareness, but I don’t have the budget to put into radio ads or billboards
- I need to learn more about my customers, but I don’t have the time or money to put into market research
- Should I start expanding beyond my local market? How do I know there’s a need in other markets for a business like mine?
- Providing customer service is turning out to be very costly. How do I provide customer service but, keep the cost down?
- I need to get ahead of my competitors, but it’s hard to stay in the know of what they are doing.
Problem #1: I’m looking to increase my brand awareness, but I don’t have the budget to put into radio ads or billboards
Because of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, there are many affordable ways to create effective brand awareness.
Tip #1 Cross-post content
A simple but effective way to increase the reach of your social media marketing is to post your content to multiple social networks. This allows you to connect with a larger audience, and lengthen the lifetime of your content while increasing amplification.
Tip #2 Use Facebook and Twitter Ads
The advertising game has changed. Where billboards, newspaper spreads, and bus stops were once the once the best way for a small business to target a specific local audience, now social media ad platforms offer much more powerful targeting tools than any old media. Plus, they’re perfect for budget-conscious entrepreneurs because they charge by the click. For an in-depth look at Facebook and Twitter ads best practices, read this blog post.
Problem #2: I need to learn more about my audience, but I don’t have the time or money to put into market research
Social media enables you to learn more about your customers through social media metrics reports that analyze your customers’ behaviours. Hootsuite has analytics reports that allow you to dive deep into the metrics behind your social media activity as well as give you insight into how your customers engage with your brand on social media. The following are 5 social media metrics recommendations that you can use to understand how your customers are engaging with you.
- Ow.ly Clicks – In Hootsuite you can track the clicks on ow.ly shortened URLs. This metric can provide you information on where in the world the majority of your customers are located, and if your business is reaching the target groups media.
- Facebook Liked by demographic – If you are in need of knowing the demographic breakdown of your audience, look no further than Facebook Insights to learn about the age and gender breakdown of your audience.
- Twitter sentiment – With Twitter sentiment you’ll be able to gain insight on how your customers feel about your business.
- Facebook likes by region – This metric will provide you information on what regions your Facebook audience resides in. Therefore, giving you insight to where your customers are from.
- Keyword Over Time – This allows you to track specific keywords and learn how your audience or customers are engaging with them. Are they using the name of your company more than your product name?
Problem #3: Should I start expanding beyond my local market? How do I know there’s a need in other markets for a business like mine?
Along with general market research, social media analytic reports helps you understand where your customers are located. Our two suggestions are to use Facebook Insights and geo-search capabilities on Twitter in Hootsuite.
Tip#1 Use Facebook Insights
Within Hootsuite analytics reports, you can use Facebook Insights. With Facebook Insights you can monitor and measure your fans, Likes, comments and page activity right from your Hootsuite dashboard. You can also find more in-depth information about your fans including their demographic, region, language, and post source.
Tip #3 Use Geo Search
Take advantage of Geo-located searches in Hootsuite, and filter searches according to distance. This allows you to only view the social messages in a specific area you select. You can further refine your search to industry-related terms or brand mentions based on your location. For more information how how to perform a geo-search, check out this blog post.
Problem #4: Providing customer service is turning out to be very costly. How do I provide great customer service while keeping the cost down?
Social media has become more than just a marketing channel, especially when it comes to customer service. Also known as social customer service, your business can increase customer engagement and satisfaction by using social media. Because customers now expect assistance within hours, if not immediately, and reach out for service over multiple social networks, here are a couple tips on how to use social media to make sure you respond effectively and consistently across every social channel
Tip# 1 Quickly resolve customer issues
Ensure that you are monitoring your social accounts and brand mentions across the social web. This way you can quickly pinpoint your customers issues and help them in an efficient manner.
Tip #2 Measure customer happiness
Once you have the monitoring and response down, make sure you measure how effective your social customer service is. Use Hootsuite analytics to track mentions, and see whether your brand sentiment has improved or stayed the same.
Problem #5: I need to get ahead of my competitors, but it’s hard to stay in the know of what they are doing.
To get ahead of your competitors, our suggestion is to get a handle on social media monitoring. By monitoring your competitors on social media, you both stay in the know of what everyone is doing and you are able to predict the competitors’ next move. To be able to monitor effectively and spend your time on the right things, here are some suggestions as to what to monitor.
Tip#1 Monitor your company
Make sure you create keyword search streams and monitor names of products or services without your brand or company name. Also monitor slogans, campaigns that include branded hashtags, and top players in your company, like your CEO and founders. Monitoring the above will allow you to evaluate effectiveness of your marketing and advertising efforts.
Tip# 2 Monitor your competitions
Make sure you monitor brands and company names, as well as names of products or services of your competitors. Also look for your product or brand name to compare with your competitor’s. It will also help to discover what topics are popular with your competitors’ target audience, which may the same as your own, or a group you may want to expand your reach towards. This will help you find real-time marketing opportunities and evaluate how your company stacks up against competition.
Tip# 3 Monitor your industry
Because you can’t listen to everything that is being said on social, pick areas that directly apply to your industry. Focus on specific topics and relevant industry events. By following these things, it will help inform strategic decisions for marketing and product improvements.