Small businesses have the advantage of using social media to increase their chances of gaining local clients and revenues. You don’t need a big marketing budget or a large agency. It is important to understand how social media works and what tools you can use to your advantage. To gain more insights, I reached out to Tom Keiser, the CEO of Hootsuite and the current owner and CEO of Stuckey’s, Stephanie Stuckey. The continued growth of small businesses across the USA is reflected in her current revival of the long-standing small business brand.
Oberlo’s research shows that in 2022, the US had 33.2 million small businesses. As the 2022 increase in US small businesses is a sign of sustained growth, it represents a 2.2 per cent increase over the previous year as well as an overall 12.2 percentage growth from 2017 to 2022. There are 61.7 million US small businesses, accounting for approximately 46.4 percent of America’s workforce. How can small businesses be supported in their social media endeavors?
‘As an organization that connects with businesses of all sizes every day, Hootsuite has had the privilege of watching some of the brightest marketing minds at work, and what we’ve found is that some of the most creative and gritty are the small businesses,’ said Tom Keiser.
Tom has provided the following marketing tips for small businesses that he believes will help them increase holiday sales.
- Demonstrate who you are and what makes your business stand out from other big box stores. Give a peek into your business and tell your story to establish your place in the local community with your customers.
- Look to other like-minded business owners in your region to collaborate on a ‘buy local’ campaign. Promote each other on social media, and engage with each other’s content to extend your network and attract new audiences.
- Your customers should have the opportunity to interact with you via social media. Ask for pictures of your products to be eligible for a prize or to promote hashtags.
- You can create a unique event for your customers via virtual or real-life communication. Send your customers with special offers or promotions via DM.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you’ve been wondering if you should be on TikTok, try it. However, you should tailor your approach for each social media network. Customers will engage more with content that is appropriate to their platform (e.g., a short compelling video for TikTok or IG Reels vs. detailed product information in a Twitter topic).
The Stuckey’s story is as simple and complicated as perhaps any long-term small business. The Stuckey’s story is simple: start and grow the business. Partner with others to sell it and then buy it back when it fails. Stephanie made a huge investment when she purchased the failing business to bring it back in the family’s hands a few years earlier. Strategically she returned to the original product lines, imported the candy to the USA and started sourcing local suppliers. She also managed her supply chain, product distribution, and costs. It worked. Stuckey’s has grown from $2 to $13 million in sales in only two years with zero advertising budget.
‘As a scrappy comeback brand, Stuckey’s did not have access to marketing firms or a large advertising budget. We’ve relied solely on word-of-mouth marketing generated from our social media posts to drive sales,’ said Stephanie Stuckey. ‘We’ve effectively utilized multiple social media platforms and tools like Hootsuite to build our customer relationships and loyalty.’
The backbone of the economy and our country are small businesses. To get your share of the local market, you should use every advantage possible, including social media tools and content.