Social Media Marketing: 5 Things Small Businesses Should Consider

Social Media

Twitter and Facebook are everywhere. Hashtags appears on your favorite TV shows, in your mailbox, and even on billboards. It’s as if people won’t understand your marketing without a “#”!

With all the social media hype, small businesses must really consider their approach to social media marketing.

While social media marketing works great for national corporations, small businesses may find that their ads posted on social networks—Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin—don’t carry quite as far.

5 Things to Consider When it Comes to Social Media Marketing

1.Targeting
Effective advertisements are crafted for specific audiences, which is called targeting.
A key disadvantage to many social media channels is that unless you promote your content, people have to visit your site to see what you’ve written or posted. Even if you promote your content, businesses still have less control over who actually receives the ad. Although, Facebook has improved targeting through “Facebook for Business,” which sends ads to specific geographic areas and demographics.

Unfortunately, no matter how targeted an advertisement is on social media, its reach is always limited to social media users. This is a major problem when businesses serve demographics that aren’t using hashtags.

For example, businesses that serve older populations—like retirement homes or in-home care providers—will likely find other marketing channels more effective because their target audience isn’t online. Social media channels are always limited to reaching its users.

2. Follow the Data

Metrics are important to measuring the success of any social media marketing campaign. If you can’t measure, then there is no way to know if your marketing money is paying off.

Brad Shorr, a contributing writer for Forbes, is skeptical of social media and its game-changing potential for small businesses.

“Many small businesses that have been on social media for a few years have absolutely no idea how well their campaign is working,” he writes in an article  10 Social Media Mistakes That Small Businesses Owners Make. “Obviously, not having a way to evaluate a social media campaign leads to wasted investment and an inability to improve campaign effectiveness.”

There are several metrics small businesses can monitor to know what’s working, such as engagement, likes, and follows. Many social media networks also have built-in metrics centers that show your followers and total engagement for each post.

Tracking the number of visitors referred to your site from a social page can also help your business gauge the success of its current strategy.

Keeping tabs on how many leads are channeled through your social media lets you know what’s working and how to adjust your social media approach in the future.

3. Your Customer is Central

 Operating a business social media account is quite different from a personal account. While a personal account is focused on your interests—what’s important to you, such as your new puppy or that great meme your aunt posted—small businesses must remember that their social media accounts exist for the benefit of the customers.

It’s not about what interests you, the owner, but what interests your customer. As a business, your content should teach your potential customer about your product. It should be interesting and surround your products with value.

Before producing any content, however, you should decide on the social media networks your clients are most likely to use. A local fabric shop may connect to more clients on Pinterest, while a car wash might completely avoid this social network.

Before signing up for all social networks, make sure that each network is worth your time. If your customers aren’t on a particular channel (or at least aren’t looking for your business on a certain network), then skip it.

Operating social media accounts takes far too much time and energy, which, of course, is always in short supply.

 4. As Customer Support

 Small businesses should be prepared to answer clients’ questions and respond to customer concerns. Not every interaction will be positive likes, shares, and congrats. That’s ok! Social media is a great way for customers to directly interact with your business, especially when seeking customer support.

Occasionally, customers will even post the dreaded complaint on Facebook. How your business responds makes all the difference.

Responses should be quick—within 24 hours of a complaint—and should be courteous, personal, and let the customer know how the company is working to resolve an issue.

5. Social Media As Marketing Bonus

 Social media offers businesses a way to interact with potential customers, build their brand, and share valuable updates and information. However, for small businesses, social media marketing will most likely work best as a complement to a broader marketing strategy.

Putting energy and resources into advertising in your surrounding community can be more effective and less expensive than overwhelming yourself with social accounts and paid social advertisements.

Building brand recognition through word of mouth is still the strongest way to advertise your local business in your community. While social media can help businesses achieve this, small businesses will likely find that local brand awareness requires a local solution.

Once a business establishes a strong customer base, then social media can be a great way to engage their existing customers and interact with leads at all stages of the conversion pipeline.

Billboards Complements Your Social Media Marketing

Hannon Distribution is a trusted and proven grocery store advertising system that has provided brand exposure for several small businesses. Ads placed in grocery stores build strong brand recognition and are seen by the people most likely to use your service.

To learn more about in store advertising, read this blog. To contact a representative for a free marketing consultation, please click here.

Why store advertising is the best way to reach customers!

Super Market Billboards

Relocating or shifting to a new area always comes with its own set of challenges. There are many things to deal with: new locality, new people, and so on. One of the first challenges is to get groceries so that the household is up and running even while the fixing and arranging is going on – sometimes, for weeks together.
A very important reason why people go grocery shopping at a supermarket is because almost everything is available under one roof and the amount of hunting around the locality for basic things is reduced considerably. Another interesting fact is that there are various deals, both at the supermarket as well as in and around the local area, through advertising in shopping carts, coupons and other in store billboard advertising .
The first thing one does when one goes to a supermarket is to grab a shopping cart and keep it in front entire time while shopping, finally dropping it off near one’s vehicle. On the way out of the store consumers almost always stop at the multi user free publication rack to grab the local magazine, brochures and other items on the rack. 

Store advertising puts the name of a business/venture and its message in front of your potential client twice or thrice a week! This is key to providing your business repeat exposure for such a long time that is almost unattainable in any other advertising medium and which a customer cannot miss even if she/he tries.

A.C. Nielsen Company reports that Americans are 3 times more likely to visit a supermarket than anywhere else in their community.
Let’s talk numbers:

  • A supermarket spends around $20000 on advertising per location every week
  • An average household makes 2-3 visits per week to the supermarket and spends around 40-60 minutes at a store
  • It caters to over 9,600 households per store
  • On an average there are 80,000 monthly visits per store of which over 70% are female decision makers
  • 80,000 visits x 3 times per week that makes it 24,000 impressions!

Store advertising has never been this effective. Advertising on local grocery stores will not only give your business the eyeballs that it needs to thousands of customers through the large number of impressions, but also help you gain new customers in the area.

Branding Small or Local Business

Branding

Branding is a concept that extends far beyond the marketing of a “brand name” product. A business’s brand represents their market identity—who they are, what they do, what kind of quality they provide, their reputation for trustworthiness, and more.                                  

  Nigel Hollis, EVP – Millward Brown explains that, businesses must make their brand both different and distinctive. Different to be able to justify pricing VS competition. Distinctive in order to trigger pre-existing, positive feelings during search or shopping, i.e. trustfulness.

Like large business, small or local business most pay close attention to their brand, branding will position and state a small business’s mission and build proper imaging of this business.

By definition, brand strategy is a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand; a brand’s message and a brand’s imaging.The power of brands lies in focus.
BRAD VANAUKEN

Small or local business’s name, owner photo, logo, and tag line are critical components of successful branding.

  • Your name is the key that unlocks your brand image in your consumer’s mind.
  • The business owners’ photo, particularly their face, creates familiarity, over continuous exposure this familiarity converts to TRUST. “Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.” ~ Frank Tyger
  • Your logo is the brand mark or symbol that serves as the face of your business.
  • Your tag line or slogan is the memorable phrase that provides consumers with a quick indication of your product, brand, and market position.

Effective Tips for Seasonal Publication Distribution

Hannon Distribution

As a distributor of many – seasonal products, we are often tasked with the following challenge of publisher giving us a fixed number of copies to cover a specific time frame (3 to 6 months typically). The goal is releasing the product through the season and to have as little waste as possible as the season comes to close but not to lose coverage, all within a publishers in budget.

It is a challenge we know and understand well.  

Here are a few steps you can take for 2017 and beyond to get the proper coverage inside the budget you can afford:

Plan with someone who has a plan and actual knowledge of how magazines and specifically your type of magazines/publications move– I call it “the real vs the imagined.” This can be a staff member or distributor. Be careful of “distribution perception” it is something that can lead to allot of waste, experience and knowledge is power. Locations vary widely on what they actually move.       

Plan the release of the delivery with the right quantities. Too fast too soon and you will be left with the dilemma of losing exposure at the end of high season and shoulder seasons. Too little a release will leave you with too many copies at the end of the season and a very expensive recycling project. If you have enough knowledge of the locations, you can then plan the necessary trips to the location with the right quantities to give you presences there throughout the season. I grade locations 1-5 based on service needs.     

The Right “REAL” locations are important –  get real locations that you will have a presence in. Products stuffed into a corner, on top of each other and ones that are left and removed by the changing staff will not get you what you need. Being aware of the differences in locations is important, and again this is what I call “the real vs imagined” it is important to your advertisers and businesses success. I can’t tell you how many lists I have seen from clients with stops that are not real locations, real distribution from a trusted source is vital to your business.    

More is less – there are always several locations in every area the large majority of the people have to go too. For instances a Grocery Store, Large Hotel/Resort with Amenities or for Boaters it could be a West Marine. For a Golfer it could be Cape and Island Golf, Tourist Travel Stops and so on  . . . being “everywhere” isn’t necessary if you have the key locations in place because locals, tourists, day trippers, people passing through will find you if you have these key spots and the quality of pick up will serve your product and advertisers well. These types of locations may allow you to more effectively use your print, and control your distribution expense.

Leverage some relationships – if you have advertisers it is not a bad idea to ask them if you can display the magazine. Give them a nice rack and if it is a new location for free publications ask them to give you feed back for their needs for service. Some unique spots can occasionally lead to a better than expected pick up and a lifelong advertising customer.

If you are not using a professional distribution company with racks and holders they should be on your list of things to acquire. There is no proper way to distribute materials without them.

In market vs out of market – The main issue is what fits your budget and the goal of your publication or product. If it is a regional driver then out of market is important to drive would be travelers or consumers. If the magazine is more area focused with events, attractions, and things to do, then stay as close to your area as possible.       

In a perfect world the last copy walks out the door when the new ones arrive. If you don’t have this in place I would be happy to talk to you about how this proper planning has benefited our clients. We have given them a true understanding of what they are getting, how we will distribute the products and we have a full understanding of the release of magazines so there is limited if any waste.

Our goal is always to aim for less than 10% field waste and zero warehouse waste. If you need help planning this year or future distributions give us a call for a free consultation!      

Builds Brand Awareness

Service Company brochure distribution provided by hannon distribution

 

People often talk about how to building brand awareness. How do you define building brand awareness? It can be an abstract concept . . . lets see if I can make it a bit more concrete.
 
Brand awareness is a seemingly basic concept, but as with all things “seemingly basic” spending just a few minutes thinking about it can lead to questioning your existence. It’s a marketing buzzword that’s easy to dismiss as something few businesses have, but most can’t really achieve, but the truth is, brand awareness is something all businesses can actively accomplish.


So, first thing’s first, what builds brand awareness?

Brand awareness is when people recognize and recall a brand or business. There are different levels of awareness (some marketers break them up into awareness and recognition-for this article, we’ll treat them as essentially synonymous). 
 
Ask yourself – Can people recognize your name? Are they aware of your products and services? Do they have a personal relationship with your business?
 
Most commonly, when marketers discuss brand awareness, they’re referring to a basic familiarity.
 
Before making a purchase, people must know your business exists. That awareness gives most consumers comfort to make a purchase. 
Major national companies, such as McDonald’s, have achieved extremely high levels of brand awareness. Just glance at a golden arch and you think cheeseburgers.
 
Smaller businesses don’t have it so easy. The average person isn’t already aware of the local pizza restaurant down the street. There are only two ways the local hole-in-the-wall pizza restaurant can boost brand awareness: put out a larger sign or start advertising.

Why is brand awareness important to sales?Build Brand Awareness

You’ve probably heard about the buyer’s journey and the stages of decision-making. They are: awareness, consideration, and decision. As people interact with a business, they move through the phases like a funnel.

Awareness is at the top of the funnel. The next phase is consideration, when buyers compare products to decide what best serves their needs. Consumers make their decision at the narrowest part of the funnel, which is also where the money changes hands.

I like to think of the awareness stage, the top part of the funnel, as a giant fishing net. The bigger the net, the likelier the catch.

Building brand awareness is similar to casting a giant fishing net over a community. Not everything that lands in the net translates to a final sale, but you can’t make any catches without a net.

How do I build my net? (AKA – How do I create a brand awareness?)

There are several ways businesses can make consumers aware — both through print and digital. Before boosting awareness, businesses must create a “brand” or unique personality.

For large corporations, this process is quite extensive. All communications from the company are on branded stationery and everything will have a specific personality. For McDonald’s, this personality is happy and upbeat, like their slogan “Put a Smile On.”

For the smallest of local businesses, building a brand is a simpler process, but even just the basics — a logo, slogan, and tagline — go a long way for brand recognition.

When people see your logo or here your slogan, they’ll begin associating those elements with your business, which is an even more advanced form of awareness called brand recognition.

Once a business establishes a brand, boosting brand awareness involves advertising. This is essentially how businesses cast their advertising “net.”

There are so many different advertising channels available to businesses today, both print and digital. The strongest marketing strategies will utilize platforms, but will have one thing in common:

Both strategies will be targeted, meaning they’ll reach an audience located in a specific geography.

Most common brand awareness boosters:

Billboards: The signs you see along the highway are brand awareness boosters. They typically don’t include an offer (offers are usually reserved for marketing to customers in the consideration and decision phases). Billboards are used to make your business more visible, and are usually displayed for extended periods of time. Billboards offer unlimited exposure and impressions and they are available 24/7 as well

Commercials: Television promotions can be used to build brand awareness within a community. For local businesses, commercials can be an effective way to let your neighbors know you’re open for business.

Commercials can be quite expensive, but can be worth producing, especially if your business has recently opened.

Digital/Internet Campaigns: Digital and Internet campaigns can be quite effective, although only until relatively recently have they been capable of targeting just those residents living near a small business.

Businesses can target certain IP addresses and market to only computers in nearby localities.

Your business should carefully consider what brand awareness marketing method reaches not only the most people, but the most potential customers.
Ready to Boost Brand Awareness for Your Business?

Consider Supermarket Advertising. It is the one local locations all residents need to visit. The Billboard advertisements will create targeted, local, shoppers who are buying and typically are the house hold decision makers. In store billboards build brand awareness through sustained and repeated ad exposure in the central part of a community.

Being seen is central to the success of any business, but it’s not about being seen just anywhere. Supermarket Billboards are great for local business because they target your advertising to the people most likely to use your services.

If you are considering a campaign to build brand recognition and would like to talk to us call Tom at (978) 270 4544 or email at tom@hannondistribution.com for a free consultation.

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