A key concept in digital marketing is the difference between social networking and social media platforms.

Social networking websites are platforms for communication and building relationships. Examples include forums such as Mumsnet, Pistonheads, Reddit and our own Porsche forum, ImpactBumpers.com. Social media websites are platforms for sharing news and content relating to information and ideas. Examples include Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

While there is an element of social networking on social media platforms, these spaces are primarily all about what it says on the tin: sharing visual media that is created by the user community. Each platform has a favoured type of content and each appeals to a slightly different demographic.

When it comes to using social media for small business marketing, the nature of each platform is an important consideration. However, the most important thing to remember is that users of social media applications expect to encounter marketing messages. So your small business marketing on these platforms will not be regarded as intrusive in the same way that a newsletter sent to someone who did not sign up for the email might be (never do this). Social media therefore offers significant marketing opportunities for all small businesses.

The social media dilemma

Too many small business owners think that the most important thing in social media marketing is to keep the channel ticking over with any old content posted any old time and just hope for the best. This is not the case. If you want to grow your audience on social media audience and assert your brand’s expertise and authenticity, the process deserves your attention.

A haphazard stream of incoherent randomness posted inconsistently on a branded account tells potential customers that this is a haphazard organisation. If the aim is to shoot new business in the foot, sharing a public shambles as your brand is a great way to do it.

Brand culture is king in the digital media space

Social media offers businesses of every size an unbeatable opportunity to showcase their brand culture. Too many small business owners view the notion of a philosophy or culture underpinning their business as pretentious or above their station: the corporate-speak preserve of giant corporations with bundles of money and nothing better to do. This could not be further from the truth. If your business presents itself on the same platform as Starbucks and Coca-Cola, then your business culture is every bit as important as the culture of those brands. This is the level that social media users have been trained to expect.

Hiring and Firing

We must also be mindful of current and future employees. Employees are no less aspirational than customers, and losing one or more skilled members of a small team can be devastating to a business. As so many job hunters now do their research through social media, a business must broadcast the best parts of itself, demonstrating to employees present and future that this is a great place to grow and develop new skills. Otherwise, the business doing the better job will become the aspiration of current team members and replacing lost skills and team players will be a very expensive exercise.

Focus your content (or keep it offline)

Business owners who look to social media as an earnings platform which needs no time spent on curation may at best expect nothing in return. Substandard content will always highlight a substandard business. Focused effort is required to derive the most value. Whether that is done by suitably capable individuals within the business or experienced creatives like Mighty Motor Media is a decision for the MD.