With 2.3 billion active social media users accessing their accounts daily, it is no surprise that 91% of brands chose to utilise social media as a way to supercharge their digital marketing strategies*. Advertisements and sponsored posts are becoming increasingly popular amongst social platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With billions of active users, these social sharing channels open up a mass market of hungry consumers who can be specifically targeted by brands based on a selection of segments including their age, gender and interests.

The advantage of this laser focused targeting enables small retailers to accurately pin point their ideal customer and allows them to present a tailored ad at the right time, to the right people. This works wonders for increased brand awareness and often helps to generate a nice boost in sales figures.

Customer Service

Excellent customer service is invaluable in every industry; but it is imperative in retail.

With more and more people turning to social media as a point of contact for brands and their customer service team, it goes without saying that keeping active on social media is important! There are a whole host of reasons why customers turn to social media; some log on to leave a review, to chase a delivery or to merely seek out advice. Others use social media to openly voice their opinion, make a complaint or worse, go all out to tarnish the reputation of a brand to discourage others from buying their product or service.

To make sure that you are keeping on top of comments and interacting with your customers effectively, brands should ensure that they have an active and positive presence on the platforms being used. Brands need to be sure that they are replying to all customer comments whether they be negative or positive, as this will show your customers that you care about their feedback. It also helps to increase engagement rates.

Also, be aware that savvy consumers actively seek out brand social media profiles to get a feel for how customers perceive them. Do they have good reviews on their social profiles? Are the comments positive? Are any negative comments addressed fairly? How many likes or followers do they have?

The answers to these questions will determine your brands social status. They will either give consumers the confidence to buy from your brand or heed the warning to shop elsewhere!

Target YOUR Audience

When we say your audience, we mean YOUR audience. Small business owners , especially local retailers, need to make the most of their marketing resources and more importantly, their time. Make sure you are targeting the right people, in the right area at the right time. Social media allows you to find and target people from a certain demographic, whether that is a certain age group, gender, job title or location. Small locally focused retailers can utilise social media’s targeting abilities to ensure that only potential customers who are based locally are targeted, which could potentially increase footfall and boost your sales.

Monitor Conversations

Monitoring conversations on social media comes in many forms, whether you are monitoring conversations as a part of your customer service strategy or you are monitoring conversations which are happening within the industry, you need to ensure you’re staying alert and up to date.

In terms of customer service, normally there is no way you will find out what someone is saying about your brand, service and products unless you hear through word of mouth, but like a game of chinese whispers, you never know how reliable that is. Using social media allows you to monitor what people are saying about you, for example, on twitter you can either search your company name or your twitter handle (e.g @TheInsuranceOct) to see if anyone has mentioned you in a conversation whether it be directly or indirectly. This allows you to stay on top of any complaints, recommendations or enquiries people have in regards to your business.

As well as monitoring conversations which you are mentioned in, you can also see what is happening within your industry and keep up to date with the latest trend. Whether it be a new digital innovation or a new flavour of crisps which your competitor has released,  it is an advantage that you know as soon as possible to ensure you and your business is not left behind.

Check Out Your Competitors

Admit it, you have always wanted to know what your competitor three streets away is getting up to? Don’t worry it is totally natural, we all do it! Social media allows you to monitor what your competitors are doing, what new products they are selling, what they are receiving complaints about and what they are doing to promote themselves. Generally, competitors are people you can learn from – whether that is learning what to do or what not to do, you can use them as a way of growing as a business. For example, your competitors do a ‘follow and RT(retweet)’ competition every month where the prize is one of their products and they get a great response from their customers, perhaps it is time for you to do the odd competition to increase brand awareness across social media.

If you are new to social media as a means of marketing your small business, make sure you check out our blog for our top tips for small businesses using social media.

At The Insurance Octopus we aim to give our customers the best possible choice for their business and shop insurance. As an independent broker we are not limited to one direct insurer or underwriter. Through a combination of well known insurers and specialist niche insurers, we can compare business insurance quotes and tailor a policy to your exact requirements, offering a truly personalised service to make sure your business is protected.