How social media is relevant and useful in the growth of MSMEs
Jayati Singh, Global Head, Marketing - Tally Solutions
In this modern era, social media seems to have become a part and parcel of our lives. We practically, eat, sleep, breathe in this world surrounded by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al, for we believe it makes the world a smaller place to live in. Apart from becoming one of the mainstream modes of communication, social media has also proved to be extremely beneficial for businesses and industries across the world. While most businesses especially the MSMEs communicate with their audience through traditional media, i.e. Newspapers, Television, Radio etc. the response time tends to become high and the interaction level is almost negligent. The communication isn’t personalised which makes the audience feel less relevant.
Since the MSMEs form the backbone of the Indian economy, it is crucial for them to become a part of this globalisation and understand the essence of social media. According to the reports on Hubspot, 92 percent of the marketing professionals have reported that social media marketing played an important role in their businesses with as much as 80 percent of them claiming that their inbound website traffic increased because of it.
Social Media - An Integral Part of Digital Marketing
Since social media is a primary aspect of the digital marketing space, it is important for businesses to make the most of it to stay at the top of their game. With digital marketing changing the entire landscape of advertising, marketers are investing most of their time in marketing campaigns and building a brand for their product. While digital marketing strategies vary business to business, let’s look at how B2B and B2C are different when it comes to exploring this wide space.
One of the key differences between B2B and B2C digital marketing is the audience. Since B2B activities are only confined from one business to another, it is important to understand the communication technique. Typically, B2B customers are accustomed to being bombarded with information which are packed with the technical aspects of the product/service. While in B2C, the customers only want to know about the product or service in a more colloquial and entertaining manner.
For MSMEs, to design a digital marketing strategy, it is extremely important to assess the kind of business model a company is. The communication can then be designed, and the consumers can be approached in the most impactful way which would eventually make their business boom.
Digital Marketing for B2B MSMEs
Creating marketing campaigns for B2B companies which are targeted to be populated on social media is quite tricky. While the traditional tactics like business branches and cold callings are still practiced, to make your brand speak for itself, social media advertising should definitely be adopted. Identifying the mediums through which you would want to communicate with your audience in the most effective way is one of the key steps in B2B marketing as your audience won’t be present actively on all the platforms equally. Look at this infographic found by Content Marketing Institute which will give you an idea of where your audience primarily lies.
Effectiveness ratings for B2B social media platforms (Infographic Courtesy: Content Marketing Institute)
Lead generation for B2B businesses is the major reason why marketers choose social media to communicate about their product/service. LinkedIn is one of the major social media platforms where businesses identify their prospective customers, but that doesn’t mean that other social media forums should be left at the backburner. The first goal of B2B social media marketing needs to be branding, not leads. Social Media Examiner found that more B2B companies are starting to pick up on this and are expanding beyond LinkedIn. While 89 percent of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, 88 percent and 83 percent use Facebook and Twitter respectively. Surprisingly, 61 percent rely on Google+ for their marketing and the remaining is distributed between Youtube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Thus, identifying and exploring as many social media channels in terms of B2B digital marketing would not only prove to be effective for marketers, but also give MSMEs an opportunity to compete with big players in the market.
Digital Marketing for B2C MSMEs
With limited finances, MSMEs in India fail to explore the myriad of opportunities which social media marketing offers. With focus being adoption of latest technology to grow their business, B2C MSMEs must not ignore the potential of social media. Numerous insights, growth of the competitors, better understanding of the industry, and increasing the customer base are some of the topmost benefits of creating a social media presence.
Just like B2B marketing, companies in the B2C circle must not exploit other social media forums apart from Instagram and Facebook. While Facebook has the most relevance when it comes to communicating with consumers in the B2C business model, with the right kind of messaging, MSMEs can achieve their desired target even via other social media platforms.
Here is a visual data representation of which social media platforms have performed and worked best for B2C business models:
Infographic Courtesy: Social Media Examiner
The MSME sector primarily contributes in the manufacturing output, employment and exports, aiding in the industrialisation of rural and backward geographies, hence, populating their presence in the social media world could be tricky. Targeting the right audience to generate more leads and result in increased sales is extremely crucial, otherwise the social media strategies adopted by the respective business would just fall flat. Here are some of the advantages of Social Media Marketing to MSMEs:
Better business visibility
With the wide presence of social media across the globe, MSMEs have greater opportunity to garner more visibility. While SMEs seem to be on the backfoot to fully exploiting the traditional marketing options as compared to bigger business players having deep pockets, now with the Internet age, there are means to create an impact, with social media coming in as a strong enabler for all categories of business owners.
Higher rate of conversions
‘Call to Action’ through social media are instantly helping the businesses stay connected with their customers daily. With personalised communication approach, businesses can convey their values, goals and benefits directly to the customer. This yields in better connectivity, consistency, and building relationships with customers. With this direct way of communication, businesses can also get instant feedback from the customers and engage with potential customers in the blink of an eye.
Business networking and management of human resource
Through professional networking portals like LinkedIn which primarily aims at providing employment opportunities through job citing, respective businesses can hire manpower which cater to their business needs. Eliminating the geographical constraints, businesses can scan through various profiles according to their needs. In fact, businesses can even establish a solid communication with prospective partners who would be interested to collaborate and looking for expansion.
This kind of networking also provides a lost cost option for products and service marketing when there is a limitation for resources. Further, with reducing marketing costs social media marketing helps create mechanisms, such as blogs, forums, and social networks that firms use to communicate with individuals raise their private business profiles.
Triggers brand authority and loyalty
A well-plan and well-executed social media strategy could do wonders in building a loyal customer base for a business. Studies have also revealed that customers who follow their most-loved brand pages on social media tend to stay loyal towards them and also promote them on their personal handles which results in brand authenticity. Several potential customers are often attracted to the feedback shared by existing customers and thus it is important for a business to keep them engaged with timely activities on the social media pages.