Guest Post By Matt Fielding, the head of SEO at Custard Online Marketing.
Today’s small businesses have access to an arsenal of marketing channels that their forerunners could only dream of. From Facebook Ads to email lists, the Internet has given small businesses a huge amount of control over their marketing.
In this quick guide, online marketing agency Custard Media looks at three of today’s net-savviest small businesses, and examines how they’re using social media to stay ahead of the competition.
1. Hawksmoor: a lesson in using mouth-watering food to your advantage
Hawksmoor is a London restaurant that takes a different approach to marketing on
Facebook. Instead of posting endless pictures of special events, it uses its Facebook
page to post every restaurant’s most important product: its food.
From mouth-watering steaks to delicious desserts, Hawksmoor uses food images as a
tool to attract the attention of Facebook’s hungriest users.
Hawksmoor’s strategy for the increasingly image-led Facebook platform has been rewarded with over 21,000 likes. Rarely posting more than a single update in a day, the restaurant relies on reflecting the quality of its food rather than spamming followers with too many posts.
2. iLoveDogs.com – Social Media and Content Marketing perfectly aligned
When ilovedogs.com tweet, they strike the perfect chord with every dog owner who loves their pet as they would a member of their own family.
The business exists as an online supplements store and provides a huge information resource to attract traffic to the site. Social media is a huge part of the strategy to promote this content, including a carefully targeted Twitter campaign.
By tweeting links to blog posts with a summary that is more enticing than the actual title of the post, @iLoveDogsInc ensure click-through is high and dog lovers are consistently referred to the site:
By tying a strong content strategy to their social media campaign – all focused on providing content that their customers are likely to find interesting – iLoveDogs.com have managed to attract almost 35,000 followers.
Despite this enormous reach, the company have resisted the temptation to make their tweets overly promotional and have stuck by the content-led campaign that has proved so successful.
3. Private Picassos – Driving Word-of-Mouth Through Instagram
Using the brand’s Instagram account, Valeen Parubchenko exhibits the work of students at her New York art classes via the photo sharing platform, with great success.
Despite only being followed by 46 users, Valeen recognises that vanity metrics like followers pale into comparison when the word-of-mouth business that comes in means she has no need for paid marketing.
By telling personal stories through images of work-in-progress, Valeen has managed to showcase her services by providing social proof of the results of her classes.
What kind of results can social media achieve?
Even the smoothest social media campaign is ultimately a failure if it fails to bring in any new business for your company. However, by clearly outlining your goals before you start a social media campaign, you can achieve an excellent ROI.
The three businesses profiled above each use social media for a different purpose. In Hawksmoor’s case, it’s attracting existing customers back to the restaurant. For iLoveDogs.com, it’s knowing that traffic translates well enough into sales not to have to sell directly through Twitter. For Private Picassos, it’s simple word-of-mouth through the sharing of beautiful images.
Only once you’ve defined your goals can you assess the success of your social media campaigns. Think about what your business needs – research data, new customers, or press coverage – and tweak your social media presence to reach these goals.
About the Author: Matt Fielding is the head of SEO at Custard Online Marketing. He doesn't have access to all the dark and wonderful secrets of Google’s algorithm. However, he does know a few things which he likes to share.