Do you own a Small and Medium sized Enterprise (SME) in Singapore? Wish to use social media marketing to boost your business?
In this article, I will share some of the steps which you can take to improve the way you brand your small or medium sized business, engage with customers, and drive sales on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.
Making up 99 percent of the businesses in Singapore, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) employ two-thirds of our workers. Collectively, they account for about half of our GDP.
While there is a strong push for more SMEs in Singapore to strengthen their digital capabilities, the main challenge of startups and small businesses lie in their inability to attract customers or build their brands online.
This is a huge opportunity cost, considering how digital and social savvy Singapore’s population is.
As an entrepreneur myself, I am mindful of the challenges faced by SMEs like yours. Running a tight ship with high overheads and low margins, you may find it difficult to outsource your social media marketing to expensive digital agencies.
Here are 7 strategies which you can adopt to swim with the big boys in the online ocean.
#1 Tell Engaging Stories
To craft engaging stories, begin with studying who your target customers are, and what would make them tick. Humanize your stories by including characters that your customers can resonate with.
Local seafood distributor BoBo Fish Ball is an exemplar of video storytelling. In a series of hilarious yet moving videos, they’ve created a mini-series which went hugely viral and made their brand of frozen seafood household names.
#2 Shoot Gorgeous Photos and Videos
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are heavily skewed towards visual content like short videos or photos.
Given the short attention span of your mobile audience, it makes a lot of sense for you to focus your attention on creating gorgeous eye candy which captures their attention.
There are tonnes of online resources (like this article) teaching you how to take great photos with your smart phone. You can also check out these invaluable tips on editing your photos from the Expert Photography website.
Wish to shoot a short video of yourself using your Android smart phone? Consider the tips shared in this video:
#3 Create Snackable Content
One of the most common excuses I hear from SME bosses is that they have no time to create social media content.
(Interestingly, these are the same folks who can recount every episode of the latest Netflix series with startling detail.)
Now, creating an image post on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn probably takes a few minutes to do so. Writing a blog article or shooting and editing a video may take a little longer. Consider doing them during the weekends, or split them into different stages, working on a little each day.
Here are some ways to create bite-sized snackable content that you (or your staff) can post each day:
- Take a selfie with a customer (get permission first) and write a short 100 word story about him or her.
- Snap your latest product or service, and share it with a short description on what inspired it, how it is developed, and why you’re so excited about it.
- Shoot a different angle or object in your shop and share it each day. Describe what makes this image so special.
- Do a short “behind-the-scenes” video to show how you prepare for each day. This is especially useful if you are in the food business.
Here’s an example from my favourite hipster coffee joint Stranger’s Reunion.
#4 Partner Complementary Businesses
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (supposed) African proverb
Faced with limited time, resources and funds, it makes sense for SMEs to work with complementary businesses to promote themselves on social media.
If you are running a small fashion boutique, you can consider partnering a shoe shop. Likewise, fitness studios and gyms can collaborate with shops selling sportswear and gym clothes to jointly post content featuring both products and services.
#5 Start an Interest-based Community
With Facebook tweaking its algorithm to favour conversations over engagement or link baiting, it makes perfect sense for you to start interest-based Groups.
These can cover your business (and professional) interests: from cake baking and vegan cooking, to pilates, kite flying, deep sea fishing, toy collecting, and SMEs in Singapore.
The advantage of a community (or a group) is that it allows you to demonstrate your thought leadership and expertise. You can also offer your help to others by answering their questions with helpful tips and hints.
PS – Please avoid using groups to spam your business offers and promotions. Doing so does little to build trust and goodwill in your business.
One of my favourite Facebook Groups is the Community of Learning (Singapore), started by Steven Koh. I love how much engagement and interaction occurs on each post, and the strong camaraderie amongst members supporting each other.
#6 Curate and Share Customer Content
By now, you should know that customer testimonials are powerful trust builders. A good testimonial helps to improve the reputation of your business and reduce fear for first time customers.
You can also curate and collect customer generated stories (aka user-generated content) by organising contests and giveaways. Offer a cash prize or vouchers for the best stories – these can be photos, videos, selfies (with your product), or text stories related to using your product or service.
Here’s a good example of curating customer content from Adobe’s Facebook page. I love how Adobe uses its channels to regularly showcase its customers’ work, providing a good platform for creative producers, designers and photographers to get themselves noticed.
FedEx is another good example of a company which tells good customer stories. In the example below, a shoe designer and e-commerce retailer relates how FedEx helped her business.
#7 Enhance Customer Relationships Online
Last, but certainly not least, you should use your social media accounts to further develop customer relationships.
Remember how you used to call your neighbourhood shopkeepers “auntie” and “uncle” or chat with their children in the shop after school? Social media can build that relationship with your customers online, both on your Facebook page/group, or directly through customer interactions.
Nordstrom regularly does an equally wonderful job of engaging with their customers online as they do offline. On their Facebook page, they provide helpful and quick responses to customer comments and offer alternatives and suggestions to them. Each response is signed off with the name of the staff handling the request.
What I adore about their brand, however, is the classy way they manage negative and strange requests, like the examples below.
As you can see from the 7 strategies above, it doesn’t take a Herculean amount of effort to engage with your customers on social media.
While some of these businesses may be MNCs and large corporations, the strategies which they use can be easily replicated in SMEs.
By doing so, SMEs like yours improve the way you tell your brand stories, engage with your online communities, collaborate with like-minded businesses, and build customer relationships.