The popularity of cloud services has placed a wider range of tools in the hands of small and mid-sized business than ever before. SMBs now enjoy access to a variety of resources that were once available only to large enterprises, as remote hosting makes more sophisticated infrastructure and software available in a much more cost-effective model.
Online marketing for small businesses has been one of the key areas of growth, as cloud-based social media, email and other applications mean there is an increasingly larger number of channels on which brands can reach consumers. But in order to craft effective messaging campaigns on these platforms, it's key for firms to understand - and to the furthest extent possible, control - how they're being perceived online. These two best practices can help keep your SMB's digital content in line with the brand image you want to communicate.
1. Go for engagement
In creating a compelling messaging strategy on social media and other online platforms, it's important to remember that these sites were originally conceived as channels on which people could interact with one another and share content in a personal context rather than a business setting. And even in the past several years, as more companies have continued to leverage social networking as part of a digital marketing strategy, the bulk of activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and similar platforms is between private individuals.
As such, you should think about social media as a way to boost engagement through sharing meaningful, attention-generating content rather than as a way to promote your products, promotions and events. In a post for Business2Community, online writing expert Leslie Anglesey recommended that when addressing an online audience, digital marketers "skip the sales-speak and only ask for things after giving them a ton of information/entertainment first."
2. Less is more
To put it simply, consumers and potential clients don't have the bandwidth to read through lengthy posts and emails from your brand, even if they're avid followers. There are simply too many other sources of input - friends, family and other businesses on social media, not to mention the vast numbers of often sub-par promotional emails that flood consumers' inboxes. When putting together digital content for your SMB, it's imperative that you pack as much meaning into as few words as possible.
Anglesey pointed out that this effort takes a certain amount of practice and brainstorming, but the payoff in increased attention makes content brevity one of the key online marketing strategies for small business.