According to the global pattern, small local businesses are bursting into emergence over the recent years! A start-up, as all entrepreneurs would know, requires a massive amount of zeal and focus. A good set of strategies for businesses such as restaurants, or coffee shops, and other small businesses could determine not only the company’s survival but also their chances of achieving groundbreaking success. In this day and age, with the internet and it’s extensive reach, for local businesses, a killer social media strategy can make a huge difference! Here are a few tactics to reach out to and engage your customers with your brand:

1. Identifying Audience

A restaurant might initially start with tapping on a small (local) market. For example, a shop based on Dhanmondi is more likely to promote its brand to most people who live in or around Dhanmondi. However, if they focus on a specific genre of food, say, authentic Japanese and such, they could start marketing their product to food junkies all over Dhaka via social media. They can expand their consumer market to a significant degree. Perhaps, they could even introduce additional facilities such as home delivery service which in turn, could increase their revenue – That is the power of the internet and social media marketing! There are internet tools that help you identify gender and age ratios, along with tonnes of other breakdowns of a population which can help you set targets and enable you to promote your business to the relevant group of people. Understanding, defining, and effectively promoting your business is a social endeavor at this point. A comprehensive social media strategy can help ensure successful product launches.

Check out how Rahimafrooz connected with urban youth through crowdsourced storytelling and cause-driven marketing:

2. Prioritise Social Media Platforms

For startups, you should be aware that you are working with limited resources and a lean model. Spreading yourself too thin over all the social media sites might end up getting you a small number of followers on all sites which will not help create the best of impressions for your business. Go where your customers are: Twitter and Facebook are good places to start! Once you’ve identified your audience, you need to locate them. Research and find out influential blogging sites or forums (relevant to your business, of course!) from which credible content are disbursed into the social networking sites. For example, a food review site. Coffee shops and burger places can get healthy reviews from popular and credible sites which could enhance sales. Most contents that are in discussion or which go viral, are usually created on some other site and merely shared through social media platforms. Get active in the creative community and build a stronger presence for your brand – this can be an essential practice especially at the early stages of a startup.

3. Post-Contents Consistently to Increase Engagement

Keeping your customers engaged is one of the key ingredients to driving traffic to your page. To keep your target market engaged, you need to post rich and relevant content regularly. Posting at least once a day for Facebook, and 4-6 times* a day on Twitter should be ideal.

4. Use Lots and Lots of Images When Posting to Facebook

One of the best ways to increase engagement in Facebook is by attaching a photograph along with the text. Photos on Facebook have been shown to generate approximately 53% more* likes than an average post with only text and/or link. Sometimes, when you have a new announcement, for example, a ‘new discount’, or a ‘happy-hour offer’, perhaps you can post a suitable picture along with the announcement.

5. Twitter: Spot the Influencers

Instead of only treating your biggest fans well, it would be wiser to get fans who have a large following themselves. Here, your strategy should be to find out the trending issues, the influencers on those topics, and the kind of content the people in the discussion are engaging in. Once you have figured that out, you can very swiftly get involved in the conversation. However, remember to get involved with relevant topics. For example, if on Twitter, you get Scarlet Johanson to retweet your tech post, you might find yourself unheard, or in the wrong conversation, given that an insignificant portion of tech-savvy people will be following the celebrities.

6. Create and Share Infographics

Today, with the internet and its far-fetched reach to people all over the world, information is in the air. In fact, the overflow of information has made it difficult for people to make sense of these data being generated every fleeting second that we spend online. In this free flow of information system, leveraging these data to your business’s benefit is exactly what you need to do to achieve groundbreaking success! Over the last few years, infographics have become extremely popular. Due to the overflow of information surrounding us, people have less patience to go through detailed writings. Infographics are fast, efficient, and relatively easier to absorb. They are also an attractive means of communicating crucial points with viewers in a matter of seconds. Professionally designed infographics can spike huge traffic to your sites. Invest some time researching intriguing topics relevant to your industries, such as “how much money does an average Bangladeshi spend on food” or “what percentage of an average Bangladeshi’s income is spent on coffee/tea and such beverages compared to the rest of the world.” Good infographics can easily go viral and sometimes other blogs or news sites might link back to infographics created by you which can drive back thousands of visitors to your page!

7. Analysis of and by the Competitors

When you initially plan to penetrate an existing market, a fair share of your pre-launch surveys may have highlighted your competitors. They must have had to go through similar, if not the same milestones at the early stages of their operations. Therefore their legwork could give you a head start into your business planning. The idea is not to copy their strategies but to gain from their research and design yours better. For example, local businesses can benefit from the understanding of what kind of networks, messages or contents are engaging your target audience. Startups have to keep a close watch on their industry. Companies launch and fail every day, so it’s important to read and stay informed about startup news. You can notice exactly what your competitors are doing to gain attention from their audience. The best brands in the world innovate by looking at the smallest trends. Therefore, being able to anticipate the market trends could help the company design a better consumer experience for their target market.

8. Monitor Customer Behaviour

Simple statistics come in handy here. Every set of audiences has various patterns in their habits and response levels to your brand. You can use Google analytics and such simple tools to find out which kind of posts go viral (again, in your relevant industry); when do most of your customers come online; what is the average age of your engaged audience, etc. Using these stats, you can easily figure out the best timing to make posts and the perfect category of content to create. In fact, it can also reduce your advertising costs because this enables you to narrow down your target market and efficiently reaches only your potential customers and in the right hours of the day. This, in turn, can boost your sales and increase your ROI.

9. Appreciate Feedback Loop

Always remember that your business is trying to ‘engage’ your desired audience through social media as opposed to simply dumping tonnes of facts and information on them. It’s a two-way street; therefore, communication is vital! Listen to your customers. Shoot question-answer posts; receive feedback and act on them. Make your target audience feel that they are being listened to. That alone increases your engagement rates by far. A business does not grow alongside its social media activities, but the two elements are in sync. The success of your enterprise depends on a feedback loop, to some extend. The discoveries from your research on the target audience, social network priorities, and influencers can benefit other marketing and positioning aspects of your business.

Go ahead and use these simple tactics to create and expand your target market and watch your businesses’ engagement rates shoot up! Build strong credibility over time, and increase your company’s growth and sales.