Platforms to help business boom
HOW TO MAKE A BIGGER IMPACT ONLINE BY ENSURING YOUR PRESENCE IS NOTICED
The pandemic has accelerated the use of social media apps for struggling small businesses – and it’s allowed them to forge meaningful connections and build brand awareness online.
According to social media expert Alisha Marfatia, 25, apps like Instagram and TikTok have taken centre stage for brand building, and are the most cost-effective ways to increase revenue and acquire new customers or followers.
“More small businesses have recently joined these social networking tools to engage with consumers and increase revenue during lockdown,” Marfatia says.
Launching her social media management business last year, Marfatia was forced to pivot and shift to the online space.
“I lost all my clients once the pandemic hit. Small businesses had to cut expenses and marketing was the first thing to go,” she says. “But many realised the only way to stand out was online, and I saw a change in how they shared content and how they were keen to learn.”
Her business, The Social Impact, is a program focused on mentoring female entrepreneurs, offering support to scale their business using social media. And her latest podcast, Build Your Brand, with NOVA Entertainment provides small business owners with tips and insights for anyone who wants to grow their online presence.
“Regardless of what’s happening, lockdown doesn’t impact your online presence. If there is a time to be online and keep your business going, it’s right now,” she says.
Marfatia offers her top tips to build a strong social media brand.
EXPAND YOUR BRAND
When building your business online, it’s important to establish a consistent brand message, engage with your audience, analyse your competition, and to be patient and not give up.
“The most common questions I’m asked from business owners are that they’re not growing, or seeing results, or unsure what they’re doing wrong on social media,” Marfatia says.
“It takes time to build up a social following. Look for another account who has an audience who is likeminded and introduce yourself and have a conversation about your product or service. It pays to have friends everywhere and you’ll eventually build lasting awareness.”
Marfatia says authenticity is the key to compelling content. “People are looking for authenticity and ways to connect. If they see someone running a small business online while homeschooling their kids, it will inspire them and help to connect.”
For businesses that sell tangible products, visuals are key. Make sure to outline what your business is, what it does, and share reviews.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Marfatia says to choose the best network to suit your business and your audience.
“If you’re offering professional services, then LinkedIn is for you,” she says. “If they are middle-aged, start with Instagram, or if they are older, jump on Facebook.
“Instagram showcases the best of your business and products, while TikTok only has video content which is sufficient for some businesses.
“Many owners blew up overnight because they posted a video that was more powerful than a photo. Viewers are able to see how their product works first-hand.”
Video content had helped Marfatia grow her following from 8000 to 52,000 in half a year.
“Social media is not only a platform to sell, it’s a place to be social,” she says. “If you’re going to push followers to buy your product, people are going to click that unfollow button.” Build Your Brand is an original Nova Podcast, posting every Thursday and is available via the NOVA Podcasts Player or wherever you access your podcasts
People are looking for authenticity and ways to connect