OVER the years I have been fortunate to learn first-hand about the power of Instagram and Facebook through my work at Shuropody, Mahabis (a leader in the digital marketing space) and Esska shoes.
It is clear that both Facebook and Instagram are incredibly powerful in helping brands build awareness, engage with the consumer, tell stories, portray a brand’s DNA, develop endorsements, build wholesale distribution, drive sales, build web traffic and convert online sales. But what I think is interesting is how well small businesses can compete with large corporates on an almost level playing field across social media platforms – and in some cases they do it better and in a more genuine and compelling way.
In recent years, many ‘challenger brands’ have used the power of social media to their advantage. Mahabis (slippers) built much of its business model on the power of Facebook (unsurprisingly, its founder is an expert in social-media marketing) and invested heavily in Facebook ads. Mattress brands Eve and Simba are regularly found in the Social listings and now you can’t escape ads for the ‘next best’ male grooming products (more likely if you are a man as you’ll have been targeted).
When I first started working with Social Media, everyone was chasing ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ and numerous companies set about helping brands grow their reach. In reality, many of these new likes and followers were either the wrong consumer profile or fictitious people and as a result had little commercial value.
Cambridge Analytica arguably gave Social Media a bad name (there are enough articles out there, so I won’t go back over old ground), but through it everyone became more aware of how Social Media works and how its reach spreads throughout FB and Insta communities.
So back to the question small companies being in a strong position…
I think many small companies and brands are able to use Social Media better than larger companies due to the fact they speak with a genuine voice. In many cases, the person posting is the owner/ founder, or is part of a small team with a very clear vision of the business they work in.
Smaller companies also tend to post regularly with fresh content about what they are actually doing on the day or with news specific to the day they are posting, making the content relevant and, again, genuine.
Because of the genuine nature of smaller companies, their posts, comments and replies also tend to feel more compelling and I think consumers appreciate and resonate with this in a more empathetic way.
It is true that larger companies generally have larger budget for paid for Social Media and have dedicated teams to drive and deliver content, however the improvements in mobile phone cameras, smart phone editing and a whole host of smart phone apps has allowed sole traders to compete on a creative level with professional marketing departments.
So, in conclusion, I think Social Media has helped level the marketing playing field’ and that being small and genuine is an absolute positive in the Social Media world.