How Social Media Is Helping Local Businesses Take On S&P 500 Marketing Departments
Today any local business can build its social media channels to challenge its largest competitors
Industries have evolved over the years,
with midsized and high-growth businesses quickly being acquired or outpaced by their larger rivals. It’s left a David and Goliath landscape, with most businesses being on the smaller side. Prior to the advent of the internet, larger businesses always had the upper hand when it came to marketing. They had bigger budgets and could afford the most coveted ads and support them with superior creatives generated by leading agencies while hiring the best internal talent.
Larger businesses also had the budgets to run radio and TV ads simultaneously across multiple networks, leaving most local businesses on the advertising sidelines. Their multichannel campaigns would blanket magazines, billboards, radio and television, leaving local businesses few options to build their brand awareness. Marketing decisions for local small and midsized business came down to budget constraints, while their enormous competitors were spending hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on their campaigns.
Social media levels the playing field
Today any local business can build its social media channels to challenge its largest competitors. The barriers to entry are low since starting business pages is relatively easy and costs nothing. The investment comes from daily posts and leveraging best practices that are constantly evolving. Running a Facebook ad is a fraction of the cost of TV, radio or newspaper ads, and the business gains granular engagement metrics that aren’t provided by traditional channels, as well as the demographics of the people reached. Savvy business owners and marketers can glean a lot of information about their follower’s preferences based on the engagement and demographic data.
Only a handful of traditional marketing channels have the ability to provide viewers with coupons, and none of the traditional channels can collect a potential client’s email address for future marketing opportunities.
The overlooked modern marketing asset
Smartphones are a huge social media marketing asset that often goes neglected. Too many businesses miss opportunities to take quick pictures throughout their day that their followers would find interesting. Remember the old saying, “A picture is worth 1,000 words”—a before-and-after picture is worth more than 2,000 words: It’s priceless.
The local businesses that are finding success regularly post informational or humorous content, while leveraging pictures and videos. These social profiles eventually become company assets that generate new business, help with search-engine optimization and are a fraction of the cost compared with traditional marketing channels. It’s exciting how any local business can tackle Goliath with having social channels that resonate. The tough part is overcoming inertia.
When it comes to being flexible, for the most part, the advantage favors local business owners. They can quickly respond, without lengthy legal reviews, to circumstances and events that can pose a threat if handled incorrectly or an opportunity for their business. Local businesses also have the upper hand in knowing who their customers are and their preferences. Knowing your clients is key to growing a business and marketing success. It also provides the ability to engage with them during each transaction and cross-promote social channels.
The businesses that are finding success on social media and other channels are blending educational insights with humor to deliver a memorable brand experience that’s trusted. Most of the time, social media marketing requires a plan, common sense and commitment to consistency.
Participating in making history
The capabilities and reach of new channels that emerged over the past eight to 10 years have enabled brands to rise from zero in revenue to billions of dollars. Local businesses can now execute the same caliber social media campaigns that their billion-dollar competitors are launching, while simply engaging and staying in touch with clients. Never before in history have people and businesses been able to communicate on a one-to-one and one-to-many level, while gaining transparent metrics into their marketing campaigns.
Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member