The post-Covid-19 business landscape is slowly taking shape. The continued observation of social distancing is a must, shoppers are filtering back to the high street and businesses are taking the first tentative steps towards some sense of normality. However, there are still degrees of uncertainty but amid this online sales have soared.
The pandemic has certainly shaken up routines with brick-and-mortar stores and other physical outlets taking a necessary back seat, replaced by e-commerce and app-based transactions. Whether you’re a business to consumer or business to business operation it’s a certainty that your customers and prospects are not only familiar with e-commerce but also social media and it’s through these latter channels that you can reach a new pool of prospective social media savvy customers.
The social media channels you can use depends on which target group or groups the business is trying to reach.
If your audience is young, that is Generation Z born between the mid-to-late 1990s and up until the early 2010s, Tik Tok is the platform to reach them.
Tik Tok is about short-form videos that last seconds. A business can be successful on Tik Tok as long as its videos are authentic. The key is not to try and be ‘cool’ but rather to be creative.
Instagram and YouTube
Instagram Live and Facebook Live
- If your target market is millennials, aged from 26 to 40, Instagram and YouTube are the ideal platforms.
- Videos lend themselves very well to these platforms and they host a mind-boggling range of content. If you think your business isn't appropriate for these platforms, think again because you might be surprised.
- For instance, a series of videos that feature a small industrial machine crushing everything from plastic dolls to old phones have been viewed millions of times. Others include how to make a croissant, cool hairstyles, latest book reviews, and so on.
- The odds are that your type of business is already on social media, even if you're a bespoke gasket maker, veggie cake baker, or accountant for the self-employed.
- These platforms use the camera on a computer or mobile device to broadcast real-time video and can be used to boost customer spending.
- A small business can partner with influencers or invite guests relevant to their industries to provide valuable information.
- A small business can hold live sessions where they tell their customers what is new and how they are operating post-pandemic and making customer’s lives easier.
- If your product or service appeals to older adults then Facebook is your sweet spot. One of the largest growing demographics on Facebook is individuals over the age of 55.
- Older adults don’t just share things because they are told to. They share things they consider to have value. Links to blogs with tangible benefits, such as tips, do well. Provide some value with your content and older adults will provide you with plenty of engagement.
The value of expertise
- The first step is to research which social platform your audience uses. In short, you need to develop a strategy to set that makes sense for your target demographic and industry and then plan accordingly. You may prefer to get some help to do this or do it yourself but research is absolutely essential.
- Identify the type of content you need to produce and keep in mind content is king. This is what gets customers through your virtual door and also how customers evaluate your business.
- Once you have nailed the channels you want to use, make sure the channel's online address is on all your communications whether print or online. And when it's online, provide a link that takes customers directly through to your social media channel.
- Measure the analytics. One of the great things about the internet is its transparency. You can measure the number of visitors to your social media channel and see how many ‘hits’ you are getting. This in turn can inform what type of content you create based on what has proven to be popular.
- There are many ways to measure ROI on social media. Some of the main key performance indicators are follower growth, website traffic from customized links, promo codes for sales, subscribers for newsletters, customers filling out forms to receive sample products, and so on.
This is a lot to do for many small business owners pressed for time. Yet to do it right does require time and research. It may be that outside expertise is required. This needn’t be expensive. There are many independent marketing people well-versed in the world of social media, setting benchmarks, and measuring success that takes on these tasks in a freelance role.
The beauty of mobile
We live in a world of mobile communications. Smartphones have incredible amounts of processing power that we take for granted. This enables access to all sorts of applications that are important for the business including social media.
It also means when your social media campaign is up and running you can keep tabs on it when on the move. It enables you and your employees to post content at any time of the day or night and from any location. Perhaps you’ve secured a big win or launched a new product or service and you want to let customers and potential customers know about it.
The need for protection
It goes without saying that cybersecurity for any small business needs to be nailed down. If the pandemic has revealed anything it's just how vulnerable businesses have been in the face of a blizzard of cyberattacks especially for people working from home and those who are regularly mobile.
Many small businesses hold back on this essential requirement because they believe:
- They are not a target
- Cybersecurity is too complex
- It costs more than they can afford
None of these are true. BullGuard VPN and BullGuard Small Office Security provide the necessary protection small businesses need at costs that may surprise you.
- A single BullGuard VPN license for instance protects up to six devices and works out a cost of a few euros, pounds, or dollars each month. A VPN is essential for securing connections between a device and the company network. BullGuard VPN is incredibly easy to use; simply click for a secure connection.
- BullGuard Small Office security is an easy-to-manage platform that protects all devices, whether mobile or desktops, from malware threats such as ransomware and phishing emails that hide malicious code. Specifically designed for small businesses all devices are simply managed from a centralised cloud dashboard and include progressive protection such as machine learning to identify and block advanced threats.
Social media success doesn’t happen overnight, its long term, more than a few months, and you should be looking at campaigns that run up to a year. This might seem a long time but when the wins start rolling in, and they will, you’ll be glad you made the investment.