Does My Local Small Business Really Need A Social Media Presence?

In these difficult times where the COVID19 pandemic has hit the economy hard, this year is about surviving! Be it staying indoors and working remotely or running a small business, it’s all about getting through the situation. Things have changed and most operations have moved online and gone digital. If you are a small business owner, you are most likely thinking about alternate options to reach your customers and stay connected to them under the current circumstances. 

Online brand success stories and a fair amount of peer pressure must be leading you to think: does my small business really need a social media presence? If yes, will I be able to reach my actual customers, do I need a strategy? Which channels should I explore? Is it really going to help me generate ROI? If not, what could be the reason? And what could be an alternate option to reach potential customers?

We are going to cover this topic briefly to analyze and understand if your small business demands a social media presence for sure or not. 

Here are the three main reasons why businesses are moving towards social media.

  • Efficiently reach and deliver to your existing customers even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Adapt to the current market scenario and reach out to potential customers online.
  • Even if your business is in a good position today, social media can help prepare for the year ahead.

Let’s analyze a few business case scenarios. 

 

You are an FMCG store (kirana stores, departmental stores, stationery stores, provision stores)

    • Service: Home delivery of goods within a 4 km radius 
    • Common user behaviour – Visit shops as required 
    • Expected change during/post C19: 
      • High request for home delivery
      • Long queues at the store
    • Team size – 5 to 7 
    • Do you they need the SM presence – No
    • Google My Page Business Listing  – Yes
    • Or a WhatsApp for Business – Yes

You are a small restaurant owner

    1. Purpose – Serve veg/non-veg snacks and meals to individuals
    2. Common user behaviour – Serving food at the restaurant and takeaways
    3. Expected change during/post C19: 
      1. Users request a home delivery option within the nearby area
      2. Extra precautions in food delivery and packaging with delivery partners
      3. Maintain social distancing at the takeaway queue
    4. Team size – 10 to 12
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – Yes
    6. Expected ROI – Low
    7. Time investment  – 3 hours per week
    8. Other listings  – Zomato, Swiggy etc

You own a small pharmacy/medical store

    1. Service  – Provide medicines and essential goods
    2. Common user behaviour: Crowd during the peak hours of the day
    3. Expected change during/post C19: 
      1. Delivery of medicines within the 3 km  radius
      2. Maintain social distancing and hygiene measures
      3. Offer better deals and service to customers as big companies like 1MG are into the same
    4. Team size –  5 to 6
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – No
    6. Do they need Google My Page Business Listing  – Yes
    7. Do they need WhatsApp for Business – Yes

You are an auto garage owner

    1. Service –  Repairing and servicing of automobiles
    2. Common user behaviour: Users drop their vehicles and book slots
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Users expect online booking of slots and home pickup of vehicles
      2. Advanced online payments for home pickups
    4. Team size  – 5 to 7
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – No
    6. Do they need Google My Page Business Listing  – Yes

You are a coaching class tutor and owner

    1. Goal – Provide coaching to students preparing for board examinations
    2. Common user traits – Attend classes in the coaching centre
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Shift the regular batches to online classes 
      2. Special online notes and notifications to parents about topics, attendance, and report
    4. Do you they need the SM presence – No
    5. Do they need Google My Page Business Listing  – Yes
    6. Others – Register on online portals for classes/ workshops

You are an owner of a beauty parlour or hairdresser

    1. Service – Provide grooming services to men and women
    2. Common user traits – Book appointment via mobile phone or directly visit the store
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Expect home service for grooming
      2. Accept payments online and also appointment booking with combo offers
    4. Team size –  4 to 7
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – Yes
    6. Expected ROI – Medium
    7. Time Investment  – 2 hours per week

 You own a bakery or snacks corner

    1. Service – Take cake orders, sell pastries, cupcakes, snacks, etc
    2. Common user traits – Directly visit the store, give pre-orders for cakes, etc
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Expect home delivery of cakes
      2. Accept  orders and payments online 
    4. Team size –  4 to 7
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – Yes
    6. Expected ROI – Medium
    7. Time Investment  – 2 hours per week

You are a photographer or a wedding planner

    1. Service –  Plan wedding and event photography for parties and groups
    2. Common user traits – Visit the studio as and when required
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Fewer bookings for events due to the prolonged lockdown
      2. Move your work portfolio online 
    4. Team size –  4 to 7
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – Yes
    6. Expected ROI – High
    7. Time Investment  – 6 hours per week

You have a niche product store – organic products, handmade products etc

    1. Service –  Sell high-quality products that are pure and rarely available
    2. Common user traits – Visit the store as and when required
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Accept orders on phone and provide home delivery
    4. Team size –  4 to 7
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – Yes
    6. Expected ROI – High
    7. Time Investment  – 4 hours per week
    8. Other – WhatsApp Business

You own a  designer boutique 

    1. Service –  Sell designer dresses and take orders for individual designer stitching 
    2. Common user traits – Visit the store as and when required
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Send the catalog to the customer’s cell phone for orders
      2. Arrange pickups or home deliveries for orders
    4. Team size –  4 to 8
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – Yes
    6. Expected ROI – High
    7. Time Investment  – 7 to 8 hours per week
    8. Other – Google My Business Page

 You own mobile recharge shop

    1. Service –  Mobile recharge center and sell mobile accessories
    2. Common user behaviour: Visit the store as and when required
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Nearby customers might give you cash in person for recharge
      2. Customers might ask for credit balance
    4. Team size  – 2 to 3
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – No
    6. And a Google My Page Business Listing  – No

You own a nursery and sell garden supplies 

    1. Service –  Provide shrubs and plants, sell packets of fertilizers, seeds and other gardening equipment and products
    2. Common user traits – Visit the nursery and store as and when required
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Accept orders on phone and provide home delivery of products and ask if maintenance service is possible
    4. Team size –  4 to 7
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – Yes
    6. Expected ROI – Low
    7. Time Investment  – 3 hours per week
    8. Other – WhatsApp Business, Google My Business Page

You own a travel service

    1. Serve –   Providing consultation services and travel packages
    2. Common user traits – Visit the store as and when required or book tickets over call and design package tours
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Provide emergency travel services with sanitized vehicles and certified drivers.
      2. Accept bookings and payments on cell phones
    4. Team size –  4 to 15 
    5. Do you they need the SM presence – Yes
    6. Expected ROI – Medium
    7. Time Investment  – 3 hours per week
    8. Other – WhatsApp Business, Google My Business Page

You own a courier service

    1. Serve –  Delivering documents and small parcels interstate
    2. Common user behaviour: Visit the store when required
    3. Expected change during/post C19:
      1. Difficulty to deliver in containment zones
      2. Fewer shop hours during the lockdown
    4. Team size  – 2 to 9
    5. They need the SM presence – No
    6. Google My Page Business Listing  – Yes

Now let’s comprehend user behaviour: which channels your customers are spending time on, and which placements will work for a more detailed understanding.

Business Case GMBP* Facebook FB Shop Instagram WhatsApp Business Other
 Bakery  Page posts, story, FB groups  √  Feed, explore, going live, story, carousel posts  √  Delivery partners like Zomato, Swiggy
Designer boutique Page posts, story, marketplace, local group join, catalog  √ Feed, explore, going live, story, carousel posts  √  
Domestic tours and travels  √ Page posts, story, marketplace, local group join, lead generation, offers and packages  √ Feed, explore, story, carousel posts  √  
Organic and handmade product store  √ Page posts, story, marketplace, local group join, catalog  √ Feed, explore, going live, story, carousel posts  √  
Beauty parlour or hairdresser  √ Page posts, story, book appointment, local female group join, offers and packages  √ Feed, explore, story, carousel posts  √  

*(Google My Business Page)

Here is an amazing case study of how local small business owners are making the most of the available opportunities to reach out to customers and get going!

 

From providing services at the doorstep to using social media platforms, micro-business entrepreneurs trying to recover from the effects of the prolonged lockdown are leaving no stone unturned to avoid bankruptcy.

The recent relaxations in the lockdown have enabled traders to try out new ideas to make up for lost business. Roadside cobbler Leelavati Chavan (58) and her husband Mahadeo, who operate in the vicinity of Ideal Colony on Paud road, have launched a ‘service at your doorstep’ initiative to woo reluctant customers.

The couple has been operating a roadside cobbler unit for the last 35 years. Their son used to work as an electrician and contribute to the family kitty. They lost their daily earnings due to the lockdown and are now dipping deep into their savings. Moreover, they have to make a monthly payment of Rs 4,000 to a moneylender to pay off a loan. So, as soon as the lockdown was relaxed, the Chavans got back to business.

Mahadeo said, “We thought we must reach out to people after we heard about restaurants and grocers taking a similar effort. Now, Leelavati looks after the outlet while I go with my son to various societies looking for people wanting to avail our service. We send messages to the housing societies through security guards. Those who want to repair their footwears send them to us through the guards. At the shop, Leelavati repairs and polishes them and later we make the home-delivery.”

Leelavati added that before the lockdown they would earn around Rs300-400, per day. “On the first day, we could earn only Rs70 but now we earn about Rs100-200, per day.”

Another micro-entrepreneur Ashvini Pathak, who sells dress material, ready-to-wear garments and lingerie, has logged on to social media to move her wares. Pathak circulated messages on WhatsApp groups, hoping to promote her business among friends and acquaintances.

In the message she shares over social media, Pathak explains the problems faced by entrepreneurs like herself. She has been collecting orders over WhatsApp and taking up home delivery of goods with the help of her husband.

Pathak said, “Because of Covid-19, the business had come to a standstill over the last two months. We thought that if the customers are unable to come to our shop, we should only reach the customers with the help of social media.”

Source – Times of India

 

A few things you should consider while crafting social media are –

language, content, timing and dialogue.

 

 To decide on brand language you should know the following:

  1. What are your customer’s interests?
  2. Where are they from?
  3. What they are looking for?
  4. What do they want?
  5. Which blogs/news websites/social media platforms/websites do they visit on a regular basis?

If you are able to understand your customers through this, you will be successful in knowing what language is best suited and what voice one should follow to communicate with them.

Your content should be informative, useful and inspire sharing. Posts like articles, checklists, new product launches and insights into your business will help you communicate with your audience. 

Remember – social media success does not depend on how many followers a business has but on customer engagement! 

 

Here are a few perks of social media that go beyond the boundaries of traditional advertising.

  1. Small business owners can have a community and individually focused strategies and can easily foster connections with customers in the marketplace and FB groups. You can also track reviews, questions, comments, and concerns from consumers. Many small businesses choose to partner on marketing campaigns, which leads to a connection with customers. 
  2. To start advertising on Facebook, small businesses can focus on their locality without any heavy investment. It is a great advertising tool without paying for extra features. For example, Facebook shop features allow you to tag your products on the video and images. In future, you can choose the products you want to feature from your catalog and then customize the look and feel of the shop with a cover image and accent colours that showcase your brand. This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them. Customers will be able to view a business’ shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct.  
  3. Personalized attention: Small businesses are all about personalization, you can take the time to connect with individuals. You can answer where your products come from, how long your business has been around, and where you got the inspiration to start your business.
  4. Joint social media marketing efforts: You can collaborate with multiple small business owners and work with neighbouring small businesses (not competitors) that target people within your niche. Teaming up can build brand awareness, and together, you can explore the radar of potential customers and motivate individuals to buy from both businesses. Example, you can post on Instagram that customers can get a 20% discount from another business if they buy from you and vice versa.

 

Here is a checklist that will help you understand if your business really needs a social media presence.

Each list item has 1 point, if you have scored less than 4 points – you probably don’t need a social presence right away.  But you score more than 4, you should get going with creating your business presence. 

 

  • You belong to the B2C category type 
  • Your customers (target audience) have a presence on social media platforms
  • You have an understanding of your target audience’s language, pain points, and  preference
  • You are willing to synergize your business efforts with social media marketing
  • Your competitors are leveraging social media platforms
  • You aspire to convert regular customers into loyal ones
  • believe in your business growth and customer satisfaction
  • You have a commitment towards spending time and budget in marketing efforts consistently
  • believe in improving and getting feedback from customers
  • You want to reach potential customers at a lower cost
  • want to communicate your services, products, and offers
  • You want to keep your customers up-to-date with regular business updates from your end 
  • want to find new channels of communication and advertisement – Facebook marketplace

It is important to get started with creating profiles and regular posts citing offers, information about products/services, appointments, delivery etc. But also note – you’ll make a bad impression if you just create your business profile and refuse to keep it updated. 

What could possibly go wrong in creating a social media presence for your business?

  • You don’t know on which platforms your existing/potential clients are present
  • You don’t know much about your direct and indirect competitors
  • Lack of knowledge and confidence to start building your business profile on social media
  • Unaware of business growth opportunities that can be executed on social media

 

What could be done?

 

  1. Hire a social media executive part-time if you have ample knowledge of digital profile maintenance (recommended for business owners with 15 – 20 employees)
  2. Contact an agency partner and collaborate with them (If you are a total newbie in the online business and also if you have more than 10 employees)
  3. Learn from free tutorials available online to understand the basics, if your business and budget are too small

But if you are ready to take a holistic approach, opt for a social media advertising agency – that should do the needful. 

What you need to consider is whether you just need an approachable online presencelike GMBP, Telegram, WhatsApp for Business or a complete social media profile build. Hopefully, after reading this blog you can take the call for what is best for your business! 

Social media presence isn’t merely having an account or handle on social media. It runs far deeper than that. It refers to several things:

  •     How you post
  •     How often you post
  •     What you post (the nature of the content being posted)
  •     Engagement levels on your account
  •     How you interact with your followers and the community at large

These are just some of the things that define your social media presence. Consistency also goes a long way in helping create and cultivate a robust social media presence.

Not just in terms of posting regularly, but even in terms of the logos, colour scheme, look and feel of your account.

So, just why is social media important in marketing? For starters, it is a two way conversation and a tool that allows you to interact with your customers and target audience in real time.

It gives you the opportunity to tell your brand story, your way, raw and unfiltered, without a third party involved. It also gives you access to a vast audience at your fingertips – something you would have to pay a pretty penny for using traditional print or TV advertising.

By regularly updating your social media handles and incorporating a smart marketing strategy, you will see increased website traffic, better SEO, growing brand loyalty and rising customer satisfaction levels.

There are several benefits of marketing on social media

  •     Initiate a direct conversation with your audience.
  •     Tell your brand’s story, your way. Share your vision, mission, values and even behind-the-scenes stories.
  •     Gather feedback and learn ways to improve your product or service. 
  •     Build customer loyalty by conversing with customers and keeping them informed and up-to-date about launches, changes and more. 
  •     Redirect traffic to your site 
  •     Drive conversions by adding CTAs in your posts.
  •     Promote content and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

Increase your reach with relevant hashtags that make it easier for potential customers to find you.

Having a strong social media presence is important for brands that are looking to grow and increase their conversion rates. Here are few tips.

  •     Define your audience – know who your customer is, and market to them.
  •     Build relationships – your social media handles need to spark conversations, and you do this by engaging with your customers.
  •     Set goals and create an editorial calendar so that you post regularly and effectively. 
  •     Make use of visuals and videos – these are sure-shot ways of grabbing more eyeballs and boosting engagement and sharing.
  •     Stay up-to-date with trending news and events, and try to tailor your posts around them.
  • Stay active – posting sporadically isn’t going to get you any traction.
Growth Marketer | Co-founder. Amol is Chief Growth Strategist at upGrowth. Different ways of lead generation, quick optimization tricks, and easy to implement growth hacks are his specialties. He loves to read and share his knowledge through training in free time.

One thought on “Does My Local Small Business Really Need A Social Media Presence?

  1. thoroughly researched, analyzed article wit oodles of wisdom and take home points for small and medium businesses across verticals. Maybe parts of this article like a checklist could be as pdf files to download, and reflect.

    Very useful resource during Covid 19 Times. Cheers

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