Fifty per cent of millennials research for products on the internet before making a purchase. Image Credit: Pixabay

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

Things are, however, not all that rosy for small businesses that have to operate within tight budgets. While these businesses can’t effectively compete with corporates in above-the-line marketing, other platforms such as social media have given them rather 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 markets. However, there are some that still struggle with these tools. For many, the power of social media and influencer marketing hasn’t quite sunk in yet. A 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 marketing trends that are in a constant state of flux. It’s the only way they can ensure their audience is engaged to keep generating a return on investment.

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 across different channels. It’s no different in 2019. Small business owners must, therefore, rethink their marketing approach.

How can SMEs master social media and influencer marketing for their business’s success in 2019? Which social media channel should your business invest? A recent study showed that most adults use YouTube and Facebook, at 94 per cent and 68 per cent respectively. However, adult users of Instagram have increased from 28 per cent in 2016 to 35 per cent in 2018.

Small businesses can take advantage of features like multi-country, lookalike audiences, multi-city targeting and dynamic language optimisation 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 the content produced. Forty-nine per cent of consumers rely on recommendations from influencers to make decisions. For businesses, every $1 spent on influencer marketing, the business earns $7.65 in media value. Influencers with huge followings are expensive for small businesses and this is where micro-influencers and nano-influencers come in.

These are influencers with a following of 1,000-100,000 and less than 1,000 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 per cent of influencer campaigns happening on this platform. SMEs need to get onto this influencer marketing wagon since it has proved to be successful in boosting new customer traffic.

Fifty per cent 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. And 55 per cent of consumers who find a product through social media proceed to purchase it later.

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.

Unni Kurup is General Manager at Plan.Net Middle East.