Social Media and Your Small Business Brand


Social Media and Your Small Business Brand

At one time prior to the internet revolution, advertising was all about branding combined with a call to action. Successful advertising involved a numbers game relying on huge budgets for reaching mass audiences, then hoping for a return on investment. Today, the internet has transformed advertising into a series of steps that attempt to engage your target consumers through social media for small business, then lead them to more elaborate content that helps them make purchasing decisions.

What is a Brand?

Branding serves three main functions, which are to create product awareness, identify solutions to consumer problems and develop brand affinity or product familiarity. A brand needs widespread exposure through various media in order to generate a returnbranding and marketing on investment. But even before the internet age, in order for a brand to be successful, it needed to make some type of connection with a target market in the pre-internet era, whereas online customer reviews are now becoming the new standard for building a credible, successful brand.

Does a Small Business Have a Brand?

The main problem with television and radio commercials has always been that they depend on repetition, which usually favours big businesses with big budgets. Low budget commercials that do not run often tend to drain budgets, especially for SMBs. A better alternative for smaller companies is to build their brands through social media. But successful branding does not happen simply by creating social media profiles and waiting for customers to post reviews. Your business must first have a developed brand that consumers can identify with. Then you must learn from your customers how well they identify with your brand, so that  you can develop top-of-mind awareness associated with consumer needs.

How Does Social Media Play Into Small and Medium Business Branding?

Despite a lacklustre response to small and medium business social networking on Black Friday 2012, it’s important for you to remember the true purpose behind SMB branding through social media. It’s not really meant to generate transactions. The purpose of social media for any type of business is to engage with your customers and create a memorable experience that stimulates interaction. You can manage and monitor click through rates through other means beyond social media for small business. Social media works best as an escape from sales pressure and a focus on creative networking that cultivates a loyal online community. The goal is to share information.

Does an SMB Need to Blog?

Blogging is a highly effective way of developing brands with an online community. One of the major reasons blogging is important is that it is now favoured by search engines for delivering quality content to online researchers of niche markets. Blogs, unlike social media, represent internet destinations where a call to action points to sales conversions. But the purpose of a blog is still not to push sales. It’s the next step beyond engaging with prospects and customers to offer deeper product information. If the user continues to gain interest, an effective blog will move them through the sales funnel by providing links to product landing pages.

Seems Like a  Lot of Work .. Can I Get Help?

Since engaging with your target market can mean dealing with hundreds of people, you may find social media for small business to be very time consuming and a distraction from developing business strategies and goals. If that’s the case, you should consider hiring an inbound marketing company to handle social media for you. They can develop an understanding of your market then create online campaigns using email and coupons to attract traffic to your product landing pages.



Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America. OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Why Social Media Works


What I have found is missing from many businesses today is old fashioned customer service. The kind of service where you connect with your customers and take a moment to chat with them. It was this type of customer service that built long lasting relationships and kept customers in the past coming back to business.

You can have a great product or service … but that can be replicated by your competition. What the competition cannot replicate is your relationship with your customers. Social Media is an excellent tool to build lasting relationships with your customers. Imagine writing a note or posting most anywhere and you get a direct response from the company president or a person within the company? These are the type things that make you go, “wow I can work with this company.”

How can you make this happen within your business and where can you find the time in your busy schedule? First off in today’s market you just have to make the time to get the job done and done right. Your competition is or will be soon … it is as simple as that. Second you are missing out on a great opportunity if you do not take advantage of Social Media.

It is not difficult to create a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ pages and that is probably the easiest aspect of the whole process. Search on Google for creating a Facebook page or any of the others and you will find step-by-step processes to get that aspect accomplished.

Once the pages are created that is where the work begins. First add links to your website direct to these accounts so that your site visitors can connect to your social media accounts. Then you need to add content to the pages. If you are a reasonably decent writer you can write your own content, though make certain the spelling and grammar is correct before you publish. It is always good to get someone else to edit your content before you publish.

What not to write … blatant advertising. Your readers are looking for help and information not another ad to go to your website to buy this product or that service. For example one of the tweets I will use for this blog is the title, “Why Social Media Works” which will include a link to this blog … which of course at the very bottom has a call to action if you the reader wants to see how OTR can help your company with their social media management. You always want to attract business but the key is to be low-key about it.

A very important aspect of Twitter is the capability to search for specific phrases that people are speaking about. For example OTR’s Twitter name is “otrweb” or @otrweb and I have that term as well as some industry terms in my search grouping. For example if someone is posting a question anywhere about #html5 I can get a notification about it even if it has nothing to do with OTR Web. This gives me the opportunity to answer their question and build a relationship … and maybe a new client over time.

I can hear you saying to yourself, who has the time for that? Searching through Tweets … there are thousands that come through my box every day. That is where Social Media management software comes to play. From a single interface you can have the software select relevant people you wish to follow, schedule Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts and deliver to your desk those people that have made mention of your company. Follow up on those posts and you are building relationships.

Lastly there is the on-line blog … it is from here that you can write relevant information that can help make you a go-to guy in your industry. When you provide information that will help people it is then that you have built some credibility about you and your company. So take the steps to create your pages … get your blog up and providing good information about your industry and see the traffic to your website increase exponentially.

If all of this seems daunting to you still …  then as I stated earlier OTR is here to help manage your social media platforms. We can even write your blogs for you, create and enter your Facebook posts and schedule your tweets at optimum times. If you would like more information then contact OTR.