As small businesses start to incorporate and build their social media marketing programs and strategies, a key component in successful marketing campaigns is to demonstrate how their brand, product or service can meet the needs of target consumers by differentiating their brand, product, or service from the competition. A unique and creative mission and vision statement as well as value proposition can show how a small business sets itself apart from the competition and states what the company goal is for the customer.
Just a well designed and eye catching website is not enough to attract potential and existing customers and turn their interest into a sales conversion. Social media marketing tactics and campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and blogs can reach out to more potential fans, friends, and new customers within the target market compared to traditional marketing strategies such as TV, radio, print ads, and word-of-mouth. Social media marketing campaigns that create an interesting and catchy tagline or brand image that consumers like and remember will generate a growing customer base. An example is the “Got Milk” campaign for the California Milk Processors Board (http://onforb.es/cZS0up) where celebrities sport milk mustaches and promote the healthy benefits of drinking milk. Another example is the “Light & Fast” tag line for Mont-Bell (http://bit.ly/Tryvxm), a manufacturer of lightweight sports apparel and gear and differentiates itself from the competition by offering lighter, warmer, and more comfortable clothing and gear.
By building a strong and positive brand image, a small business gains the trust and reputation needed to retain existing customers and attract new customers. Small businesses that use Facebook and Twitter generate a following of friends and fans who likely will be within their target market demographics, psychographics or geographics to make a purchase based on a recommendation or positive review.
Company that incorporate YouTube videos on products or services as well as blogs for product, service and company updates, reviews, and recommendations can reach out to a larger base of consumers and demonstrate how their brand is different and/or better than the competition. These social media tools give direct insight into how a product looks, feels, or performs and assists customers in making a purchasing decision.
A blog (http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/01/small-business-social-media/) by Dave Folkens who writes the TopRank Online Marketing Blog summarizes why social media is a necessary component for small business success, “One of the greatest benefits specifically for small businesses is that access to potential customers has increased tremendously. Rather than strictly focusing on paid advertising, word-of-mouth referrals, and in-store promotions (or a wacky mascot standing outside) businesses can now directly find customers that may be interested in their products based on profiles, active discussions, keywords or expressed interests.”