By Steve Hoag

social media for small business


Big brands are often idolized on social media. They have thousands of followers, everything they post gets shared, and they seem to grow without even trying. Well I have news for you! They do have to try very hard to break through the clutter. In fact, big brands can be highly innovative on social media. Here are some social media lessons small businesses can learn from their larger brethren:

Create a lifestyle, story, or personality.

One of the biggest hurdles of a big brand is to overcome the stigma that comes with being a business giant. Consumers tend to think of you as a faceless giant. Many big brands have overcome this stigma using social media to create stories and a unique personality. Starbucks uses Instagram to post casual pictures of customers, its coffee shops, and products. IBM created a network of blogs to give consumers an inside look into life as an IBM employee.The Weather Channel makes Vine videos to peek into its radio station shows. These are all different tactics that serve the same purpose – namely, to give a big brand a face and personality.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

There are two camps of thought when it comes to big brands when it comes to outside the box thinking. Some people say: ‘They have the budget, resources, and brand recognition to try crazy things and make them go viral.’ Others think: ‘Just because they have the resources doesn’t mean they will be successful. If they fail it will blow up in their faces because of how popular their brand is.’ Both are true. Thinking outside the box is a huge risk for big brands. They will either be celebrated or chastised. Pepsi has created soda machines that give out free samples in exchange for Facebook likes. Chipotle has even fake hacked its own Twitter account to create buzz. The point is, if big brands aren’t shying away from risk, why should you? There’s much more room for error with small businesses!

Pay attention to individual customers. Make them feel valued.

Big brands have thousands, if not millions of customers. It’s hard to keep track of all of their needs and concerns! Big brands have actually done really well at connecting with individual customers to make everyone feel valued. There are dozens of dedicated support accounts for products like Xbox, Comcast Digital Cable, and much more. Other brands like Zappos share cool customer stories like orders from Antarctica. Big brands are constantly monitoring social media, looking for mentions, analyzing sentiment, and then reaching out to those users. The point of social media is to connect people with people. You’ve won social media if you can make another person feel like they’re talking with another human being, rather than a brand. Reach out to people that mention you! Making people feel valued goes a long way.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:27:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SMB social media social media marketing