It’s No Secret, SMBs Spend Less & Gain More From Social

Big brands work off of big budgets — where small-to-midsize [SMB] businesses pale in comparison. Unless you’re a start-up supported by venture capital, you are most likely trying to make due with a minimum amount of advertising and promotional dollars. With that said, it doesn’t mean you can’t find an alternative means to reach your target audiences. In fact, by utilizing the power of ‘social,’ you can accomplish some of the same goals of a big brand, while not incurring their heavy marketing expense.

Millennials Leading the Charge 

Social media for small business is a means to that end. With social, you can appeal to your customer-base, devoid of high dollar allocations needed for traditional print media and/or ad runs on TV and radio.

According to a new Magisto survey, millennial SMB owners are 84% more likely to use social media to reach their clientele than print ads, and they are 136% more likely than Boomers to create social video content.

“Millennials retain the same basic marketing objectives as their older colleagues, but are besting their counterparts with a more evolved media mix, greater authenticity, more sophisticated targeting and an overall better understanding of new tools like social video,” said Magisto’s CMO, Reid Genauer. “Even when Baby Boomers use social channels, they’re publishing outdated product-centric ads, and are missing their audience and the real opportunity by treating Facebook like late night local TV.”

Survey Says 

The findings of this Magisto report also uncovered the following:

  • 1 in 3 Boomer SMB owners use TV and other traditional media ad methods
  • 9 in 10 Millennials use social as a leading marketing strategy
  • Millennial owned SMBs are 183% more likely than Boomers to post video to Instagram
  • Millennial owned SMBs are more likely to use branded lifestyle video to connect than straight advertising

Based on those findings, it bodes well for Millennial’s older colleagues to follow suit.

Being Socially Apt

However, for your SMB to fully take advantage of this less expensive means to market your product and services, it requires a number of skills.

Since owners and CEOs of smaller firms lack large staffs, the onus of these types of duties often requires they wear several hats. In one of my previous blog posts titled, “Startup Founders – So Many Hats, So Little Time,” I cover multi-tasking and number of job responsibilities often assumed by top executives in smaller firms.

With social, this requires that a small team of people need to work well together, where you collaborate and communicate regularly and effectively on a timely basis.

Externally, when you market to your customers, you must adopt a customer-centric approach that establishes a quality user experience from the first moment you engage with them on any social media channel.

Content updates and consistent management of that content is an imperative with social networking. This includes the majors such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but also some of the newer mobile social apps such as Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

According to eMarketer this past March, presently 89% of SMB professionals said their company uses Facebook. Nearly half (49%) of respondents said their company uses Twitter and 42% said their company uses LinkedIn.

Social Media Paradigm Shift

When the playing field changes, you need to be quick to adapt.

For instance, SMBs should also be aware of the paradigm shift introduced by yet another new crop of social networks. These are the platforms predicated on a ‘shared economy’ monetization model.

These networks are not only important for SMBs with meager budgets, they also can provide a secondary revenue stream for the firms that register with them.

Shared Economies

Based on ’shared economies,’ founder Sebastian Sobczak was one of the first to introduce this model to all types of users, SMBs included.

With his social network Tsū [pronounced ’Sue’] launched October, 2014 he explains his network’s difference to Facebook and others: “The success of the largest platforms in the world has created a trillion dollars-worth of market cap for themselves, not the users. Yet markets such as photography, music distribution/publication, songwriting, publishing, etc. have had their markets decrease in value proportionally.”

Basically what this means is that Facebook and other first-iteration social networks have inserted themselves into the distribution of their users’ content without compensating them in return. In doing so, they essentially make the user the product where the Facebooks of this world reap a 100% of all ad revenues generated by users’ content.

Tsū, on the other hand, only keeps 10% of their advertising revenue and distributes the other 90% to its users through a top-down lineage of users (a cultivated network referred to as your “Family Tree”).

“Tsū is just the more efficient way of doing things that repairs the relationship between those who create the value and those who get the value,” adds Sobczak.

So, there are two opportunities for SMBs to make money on Tsū. First and foremost is the product or service you are selling to your customers, and whether or not your wares are commercially attractive to a wide audience. And secondly, by the advertising dollars that drop into your bank daily, proportionately according to how many views your content generated. Case studies have shown that the latter is dependent on the amount of creative content you upload to this network and whether or not your posts resonate with a good number of users. Daily royalties could range from a $1 to $100+ per day dependent on how active and engaged your SMB is on this platform.

Socially Speaking 

So how does social shake down? Well, in today’s business milieu, in addition to the opportunity to save on advertising, all SMBs need a social media presence, if you don’t already have one.

It’s been proven that consumers are more likely to trust a company if they vetted them first on social media. In this space, you lose by not showing up. Your competition is there. You lose competitively, if you are not.

And since all social has a relatively low barrier to entry, it’s easy to set up and get started in no time at all. On average, SMBs only spend a few thousand dollars a year on social media, while allocating one full time person to the task of oversight and management. The more difficult task is gauging your success rate and return on investment — which we will cover in a future post.

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Ron is part of the marketing team at Telzio, covering everything from tips and tech for growing businesses to customer success stories for the Telzio blog. Previously a Director of Advertising and Public Relations at Marriott International, Ron has published several books including the award-winning graphic novel Facebucks.