I have heard the question of whether a Kauai small business needs social media marketing. On the island of Kauai we have a small town culture. People take time to talk story with each other. People know people who know people. There are a lot of word of mouth business referrals. But there are also many businesses whose target customers include not only locals, but also visitors. Small businesses here and in other parts of the world are wondering what to do about social media marketing and whether it is worth the time and effort. As a small business owner your goal should not be excellence at social media. Your goal should be to increase your business by picking and choosing some social media marketing that will reach your customers and prospects cost effectively. You could get social media training to do it yourself or you could hire someone to write and manage marketing content for you.
Why Kauai small business social media marketing matters
- Gain awareness of your target audience, whether locals, transplants, or visitors: People increasingly look for information online and on the go. There are local Facebook groups for causes and for rants and raves. There are locals, transplants, and visitors not only searching the web, but also searching social media for Kauai information, products, and services. Kauai small business is fortunate to have many repeat visitors. What are you doing to stay in touch with them and make sure they do business with you on their next visit? What are you doing to encourage them to share information about your business with friends and neighbors who may also visit sometime? Social media is another place to find out about your small business and to stay connected over time. It is also a fast and affordable place to do A/B testing of content to see what your target customers responds to most and where they do it from.
- Drive traffic to your web site: Having a web site is a basic start for online marketing. Getting your web site noticed, though, is the goal for attracting new business. Social media visibility and sharing useful content for your target audience can help to drive people to your web site for more information and to take action. Or it may cause their friends and neighbors to become aware of your web site by seeing a “like” or share.
- Capture contact info for email marketing and newsletters: Sharing interesting content in social media may be the hook to get someone interested in your Kauai small business. You now have a reason for them to give you their contact info and to sign up for email updates or a newsletter. They may become aware of your blog posts and updated useful content that will cause them to come to your web site and fill out a form to contact you. Yes, it’s good to have this on your web site. But you can use social media to interest people in contacting you.
- Induce trial of your product or service: In addition to generating awareness through social media, you may also be able to induce a trial of your product or service. Providing useful, interesting content can cause them to take action to request more information or to visit your shop. You might also offer a special promotion on social media for a free sample at a certain time that creates an urgency and excitement to be shared with other friends and neighbors.
- Foster customer relationships and repeat business: Social media marketing is also a great way to retain customers, to deepen customer relationships, and re-inforce their buying behavior with you. We feel proud as consumers when we see an ad or promotion for a brand that we use and with which we have a positive relationship. Your customers will feel a much stronger connection to your business by also knowing more about you, your suppliers, your employees, your locations, etc. We all like a peak behind the scenes and to feel like we are insider.
- Create social media referrals in addition to word of mouth referrals: This is a real strength of social media marketing. Humorous, emotional, or just useful content doesn’t have to go viral to benefit your business. But having your customers’ friends and contacts seeing and hearing about your brand is an online word of mouth that can spread much faster and certainly much wider than just talking story at the farmer’s market or other local gathering spot. What are the chances that your small business will come up in conversation? But if there is useful or interesting information on social media, that can be seen by or shared with others.
How a Kauai small business can get started
Social media marketing for a Kauai small business takes some time and effort. But you don’t have to be everywhere. Work with an advisor to pick and choose the platforms that make the most sense for your target customers. Focus on one or a few. Don’t try to be an expert on every social media platform. Focus on the content to be interesting, humorous, emotional, useful (see our other blog posts on compelling content). It’s not about selling. It’s about communicating, gaining awareness, inducing trial, and fostering customer relationships. Test to see what works and to focus your efforts on those that produce real results to grow your business.
So if you are a Kauai small business, you can likely survive without social media marketing, but will you thrive?