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For any small business, online messaging should be sensitive to the current situation but still proactive and positive where possible. Businesses need to be ready to manage expectations and be supportive to customer needs and emotions.
Here, we have put together 5 tips on how to improve your SME’s messaging online.
Follow the 80/20 rule of social media
No one likes a brand who talks solely about themselves and their products. Now more than ever, consumers do not want to be faced with a constant sales pitch. Customers want to know how your brand can add value to their lives, not how it can sell.
It may be surprising to hear, but only 20% of what you post should be dedicated to promotional content surrounding your business and its services. This leaves us with the other 80% - which should be reserved for entertaining, engaging and valuable content/messages. Whether this be in the style of informative and insightful recipe guides, pairing tips or instructions, it should constitute the bulk of your content. Always keep in mind the changing needs and interests of your audience. A recent survey found that 46% of consumers desired ‘content about optimism’ from brands during the pandemic. By providing engaging content, you can create connection with your audience that goes beyond sales.
Retailers of specialist foods such as wagyu beef and caviar, Fine Food Specialist, have succeeded in providing engaging and insightful content for their audience. Instead of shouting about their own products, founder Drogo Montagu features in Recipe videos teaching their audience how to cook some of his favourite recipes. They didn’t always sell everything they spoke about, but it added value to their audience in a time when they were stuck at home and looking for meal inspiration. “The feedback on our recipe videos has been great, and we think it’s really helped convey our authentic message to our audience” – Drogo Montagu.
Create authenticity with user generated content
Using user generated content (UGC) is a great way to make your brands messaging more approachable. UGC offers an authentic look into your business, free from any editing or staging. As a result, UGC encourages a significant amount of engagement compared to other brand-created content. Social media is an informal place meant for sharing. By re-sharing and engaging with your customers photographs, not only are you rewarding them for interacting with your brand, but you’re also showing the more authentic, real side of the business to your other followers.
The same can be said for reviews, which can also offer an authentic and unbiased look into your business. In fact, recent research found that 92% of consumers trust consumer content, like UGC & social reviews, more than any other content.
Be conversational and ask questions
Following on, make sure that your over-arching tone of voice and brand messaging is never too sales heavy. The clue is in the name; social media. Act social: Ask your customers questions and ask for feedback. By engaging your audience in conversation, you are inviting them to have a better experience and connection with your brand.
Start-up food retailer, The Healthy Snack Box, have done exactly that. The company have actively chosen to produce conversational content for their community. Not every post is concerned with the content of their boxes or the convenience of their service. Instead, they engage their health & fitness focused audience by asking about their exercises or mid-week pick me up routines, all to create a conversation with their customers.
Don’t forget to post regularly
Being social on social media seems like an obvious task, but you would be surprised how many brands fail to post often.
Engaging with both existing & potential customers is a perfect way to not only foster further interaction with your SME brand, but to also build brand trust. Posting regularly keeps your customers interested in your brand message, not to mention updated about your products, promotions & sales. It takes on average 6 to 8 touch points to make a sale, so make sure your customers see your brand frequently. Due to digital algorithms, not everyone will see all your posts, so SME’s have to be posting frequently to increase exposure to your brands message. If you have a marketing budget, you can increase your chances by running paid advertisements to ensure that users will see your brand’s message.
Identifying the best days of the week to post for your brand also helps maximise the reach of your message. To better understand your audience, think about the lifestyle of your average customer. Does your average customer shop on weekends or weekdays? At what time? Use this information to tailor your posting schedule around your audience.
Most importantly, be active and personal!
Social media is a branch of customer service. 90% of internet consumers say they would rather interact with a brand through instant messaging compared to other traditional methods of communication like e-mail or phone.
Social media platforms offer these instant messaging features, allowing brands to give their customers a better experience before & after their visit through personalised direct messages. Personalisation in these messages can make your SME appear more friendly and approachable, but businesses must remember to be grammatically consistent and correct at all times. Nothing undermines the credibility of a business more than grammatical errors and overly informal dialogue.