More people are searching, comparing and buying online than ever before, making online marketing more important than it’s ever been. With social media and other forms of online marketing changing so often, it is constantly providing new ways for businesses to reach and connect with their customers.

Before talking about ways to improve your online presence however, it is important to be aware of what opportunities you miss out on if you don’t plan your social media strategy properly:
·                  If you don’t have a proper plan in place, you risk getting lost amongst the crowd. There are many businesses on the same platforms fighting for the same customer base. Having a clear plan helps you identify your unique selling points to make you stand out.

·                  Failing to use social media means you miss out on the opportunity to connect with a much larger customer base than you would expect to find just using more traditional forms of marketing (which of course are still important!)

·                  Finally, it is easy to waste time and money on social media if you don’t know who you want to reach and how you are going to reach them.

Many small businesses struggle online because they’re not entirely sure who they want to target. Once you have decided the type of customer you want to attract, it becomes much easier to work out how to reach them. This gives you an idea of what sort of content they are interested in, which leads me nicely to my next point.
Content marketing:
Content marketing involves you creating and sharing valuable, and of course free, content to attract and convert followers into customers, and current customers into repeat buyers. The content you share should be closely related to your product or industry, as to make it interesting for the people who choose to connect with your online channels.
This type of marketing is very powerful because it shows you as an educated business that they can follow, like and trust enough to do business with you.
Content can include anything from weekly blog posts responding to relevant and industry specific news articles, to sharing links, videos and photos. It’s important to remember content should be focused on quality information, not your product.
The advantage of being a small business is that you can bring a personal touch that bigger companies can’t always achieve. You should also utilise the fact you are local and becomes a valued member of the community.
Engage with your customers:
Social media provides you with the perfect platform to talk to your customers which is invaluable. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions. What do they enjoy? What would they like to see more of? Is there anything they would change? Regardless of your industry, you can be the expert. Answer your followers’ questions, be happy to talk to them and show it. It’s all part of the customers experience after all.
Measure your results:
It’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. What type of posts do people respond to? Digital platforms all for quick change, which means if something didn’t quite get the response you were expecting, learn from it and change it moving forward.
Digital marketing is vital to small businesses, no matter how resistant some may be. If you identify what platforms potential customers are using and how they communicate, this will have a huge impact on the success of your business. With a well thought out digital marketing strategy, businesses of any size can really thrive and achieve amazing results.