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Social media success for SMEs: here are 3 key lessons I learnt from my own business

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My husband and I established Little Birdy & Me towards the end of 2016. We launched a  laser cutting and engraving businesses, creating personalised crafts based out of Tasmania. We were one of few at the time and provided a unique service. I was thrilled – finally I was doing something that I was both passionate about and good at, and the business itself was a success.

Two years on from the beginning my husband and I can look back with satisfaction and pride for the business we built  – but this did not come without some valuable lessons. Our main challenge was the “how to” when it came to building our brand, and ensuring that we had repeat customers as opposed to unpredictable once-off business.

Looking at other small businesses around us, we saw that almost half across Australia were operating on social media. We followed suit, realising that to play the game we would need a solid social media presence based on a targeted  social media strategy. This was imperative, with almost two thirds of consumers reporting that they trust a brand more if they can engage with it on social media.

We built a profile for Little Birdy & Me on both Facebook and Instagram, which acted as a conduit for potential customers and directed them to our website. Digital tools enabled us to expand our brand as much as possible on these channels, while also integrating social into our internal processes where possible. This meant that we could communicate with our customers via social media for non-marketing related aspects, such as payment.

This is how we approached it:

1. Looking for a logo

So that our social media marketing was consistently on brand, we needed to officially establish our name by building a logo. Online platforms such as 99designs provide access to a range of talented and creative freelancers who design a logo so that your business comes across as legitimate in all marketing scenarios.

2. Seeking out social channels

Once we had established a clear brand on our social channels, we wanted to ensure that the accounts for Little Birdy & Me housed engaging content. Tools likes Hootsuite allowed us to schedule on-message posts, track their metrics and follow a long term strategy. The return on investment here was undeniably worthwhile – our stronger social media presence led to increased conversions.

3. Prioritising payments

After we had built the social front of our business, we focussed on the internal nuts and bolts, making the payment process as accessible as possible to customers. We started using the mobile app Invoice2go, as it allowed us to invoice clients easily via Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. With 9 out of 10 customers preferring to communicate with businesses via text messages and messaging apps, being able to invoice customers in the context of an existing conversation streamlined our workday. It also created a clear communication trail and facilitated immediate payments.

Social media upped our business exposure, created leads and offered a platform on which to build our brand. We were also able to stay in line with, if not ahead of, key competition. From a client perspective we had a better understanding, and were well equipped to handle business in ways that worked for them. It’s safe to say that Little Birdy & Me owes a large portion of its success to social media!

Sarah Kaye is the founder of Little Birdy & Me

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