Thursday, 14 February 2019 07:37

Mastering Social Media and Influencer Marketing for SMEs in 2019

Written by Unni Kurup

By Unni Kurup, General Manager, Plan.Net Middle East


For a business to remain competitive and thrive in its respective space, its marketing has to be on point.

A solid and well thought out marketing strategy is what stands between success and failure in any business. This is why corporates are pumping huge sums of money to drive their marketing efforts in a bid to ring-fence their market share as well as fuel their growth.

Things are, however, not all that rosy for small businesses that have to operate with small marketing budgets. While these small businesses can’t effectively compete with corporates in above-the-line marketing, other marketing platforms such as social media have given small and micro enterprises (SMEs) effective ways to market and sell their products and services at minimal cost.

SMEs today have a variety of tools available to reach out, interact, and engage with their target market. However, there are some that are still struggling with these tools. For many, the power of social media and influencer marketing hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Social media presence alone is simply not enough. The trick is to know which tools deliver effective results for the business.

Business owners need to constantly keep up with the marketing trends that are in a constant state of flux. It’s the only way business owners can ensure their audience is engaged in order to keep generating ROI. The landscape is constantly changing. What worked yesterday most probably won’t work tomorrow. Survival means embracing change.

Consumers are also demanding easily accessible services and efficient customer service on different channels. It’s no different in 2019. Small business owners must, therefore, rethink their marketing approach.

So how can SMEs master social media and influencer marketing for their business’s success in 2019?

Social media choice

Which social media channel should your business invest?  A recent study showed that most adults use YouTube and Facebook at 94 percent and 68 percent respectively.  However, Instagram adult users have increased from 28 percent in 2016 to 35 percent in 2018.

Small businesses can take advantage of features like multi-country, lookalike audiences, multi-city targeting and dynamic language optimization on Facebook, to reach a wider audience. SMEs can connect with new customers from different regions, cities or countries.

Micro-influencers and Nano-influencers

Influencers create strong connections with those who follow them since they like content produced. 49 percent of consumers rely on recommendations from influencers to make decisions. These followers trust their word and especially products they endorse. For businesses, every US$1 spent on influencer marketing, the business earns US$7.65 in media value. Influencers with huge followings are expensive for small businesses and this is where the Micro-influencers and Nano-influencers come in.

These are influencers with a following of 1000-100,000 and less than 1000 followers respectively. You might think that they do not have a huge following and therefore may not make a huge impact. However, they are the best people to help build your brand for a specific niche. Their followers are also more engaged and have complete trust in them.

Instagram is leading with 95 percent of influencer campaigns happening on this platform with most of it in Instagram stories. SMEs need to get onto this influencer marketing wagon since it’s proved to be successful in boosting new customer traffic.

Social media advertising

50 percent of millennials research for products on the internet before making a purchase. SMEs should use social media to promote their products since it influences consumers through the sales funnel. 55 percent of consumers who find a product through social media proceed to purchase it later.

Most people use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest as their first channels when discovering products.

SMEs can take advantage of this, not through unnecessary and annoying ads, but by telling engaging stories that provide the consumer with a smooth sales experience.

An SME that keeps up with these social media and influencer trends will reach more customers. The two are perfect for small businesses because they target niche customers and build awareness around specific interests.

SMEs can engage individuals interested in their niche services and products. Targeted messaging will help businesses reach consumers interested in their products and who are likely to consume their products and services.