Marketing is an inseparable part of business. While traditional media is still useful, digital media has permanently placed itself at the forefront of marketing, with social media as the spearhead. These days, social media can make or break an organization’s marketing strategy. Luckily, the advent of the internet has provided a level playing field between small, medium, and large organizations to reach their audience. But while everyone may have the same tools, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face unique challenges when it comes to utilizing social media’s full potential for content creation.
Large organizations typically have a substantial number of resources to devote to social media marketing in the form of large budgets, more employees, and more time to create social media content. Since SMEs do not possess those resources in the same quantities, they must find ways to make up for their limited resources when creating content for social media marketing. A 2019 study titled “Content is King: How SMEs Create Content for Social Media Marketing UnderLimited Resources” revealed which specific social media marketing challenges SMEs face as well as provided guidance for how to overcome this weakness.
One of the major resources that limited SME’s content creation potential is time. More often than not, SME owners are the ones in charge of social media marketing, and have to create content all by themselves on top of running their business as SMEs operate with few employees, and even fewer whose role is to conduct social media marketing. The study found that SME owners barely have enough time to create and publish entertaining content on a regular schedule. Two of theSME owners that were interviewed spoke about how they originally set goals for posting social media content of once every week or once every other week but quickly discovered that all of their other more pressing duties as SME owners meant that they had no time for content creation.
Despite SMEs having limited time to plan, create, and publish social media content, SME owners have found alternative ways to offload the burden from themselves while still maintaining a regular content creation schedule. One way SMEs can save time is by simply knowing who their target audience is. Of the SME owners interviewed for this study, 75% had a general understanding of their target audience based on the age, gender, or social status of their customers. With this general knowledge, SME owners could create content tailored to a more specific group of people than trying to appease everyone at once.
Social media platforms also offer support tools that help SMEs gather information about their target audience. For example, one SME owner mentioned Facebook Insights as an invaluable resource for statistics on when exactly their target group is typically online so they know when they should post. Despite how useful support tools like Facebook Insights are, only a handful of the SME owners who were interviewed even knew about them, let alone used them, even though the insights gained by these tools support the regular creation of content by cutting out time needed to plan posts.
The second major restriction that SMEs face for social media marketing is an overall lack of knowledge. The vast majority of SME owners aren’t social media marketing gurus, and this study found that SME’s most often have issues with knowing how to actively engage with customers and how to create entertaining content. Of the SMEs studied, 75% said they were insecure about how to correctly involve their customers in their social media marketing, and noted missteps of theirs in which they do not know what they did wrong. SMEs also have trouble with finding inspiration for their content, struggling with writing content in a tone that is not too colloquial but also not too formal, or writing content that they think would be too boring to their customers.
Luckily, when it comes to engaging customers over social media, there are plenty of tried-and-true methods to have an SME’s followers engage with their content. The study found that incentivizing customers through giveaways and prizes had immense success, even having a large amount of reach which drew in new customers. Other SMEs said that they gave out small prizes to customers who provided feedback. Asking followers to tag their friends in a post is also a good way to have them engage with posts, and possibly introduce new customers to their SME.Asking followers to tag their business in their posts also helps build a community around SMEs and can be used in other social media posts.
When it comes to creating entertaining social media content, SMEs noted that a certain standard of quality must be met for all of their posts. SME owners religiously spellcheck their posts, and make sure that the pictures they use are of high quality, communicate something about their business, or are entertaining to their target audience, typically via humor. SMEs also highly consider their style of writing when creating content, though this varies based on what kind of business it is and what kind of target audience they are trying to reach. One said that they try to write in a modern, young way with a second person style while another said that they write in a personal and friendly way, talking directly to their followers. Due to the nature of social media, SMEs try to keep their posts to as few words as possible, and never over 500. Emojis are especially useful to help garner attention to their posts while using few words
Social media is an indispensable resource for SMEs, and knowing how to use planning time efficiently and what kinds of posts work best on social media is integral to a successful social media marketing strategy, allowing them to punch above their weight and compete with larger organizations without spending thousands of dollars. By implementing these tips, and with a bit of trial and error, SMEs can sidestep their resource limitations and maximize their marketing potential
Kraus, S., Gast, J., Schleich, M., Jones, P., & Ritter, M. (2019). Content is King: How SMEs Create Content for Social Media Marketing Under Limited Resources. Journal of Macromarketing, 39(4), 415–430. https://doi.org/10.1177/0276146719882746
Written by Ryan Moody. You can learn more about Ryan and our other blogwriters by clicking the “Our Team” banner at the top!