Turning Clicks into Cash

Why Embracing Social Media is the Best Marketing Decision for Your Small Business

$612.92 million. That is how much tourists spent in New Hanover County during the summer of 2018 according to the data collected by Visit NC. With our beautiful beaches, the historic NC Battleship, our charming downtown area, the Fort Fisher Aquarium, and the amount of film and TV content that has been shot here, it’s no wonder that Wilmington rakes in the cash during tourist season. This is great news for those in the local tourism industry. However, if your small business doesn’t seem to be getting a slice of the pie, it doesn’t mean it’s time to close up shop; you might simply be missing the attention because your business isn’t being advertised properly.

There are many ways you can market your business, such as through TV commercials, ads in travel magazines, or radio spots. However, with these forms of advertising you’ll find that they can be expensive, difficult to access when competing with national brands, and that they just aren’t as successful with reaching consumers like they used to (Garry Wei-Han Tan, et al). But don’t lose hope, you still have another option; social media advertising. While this avenue may seem daunting, it is the best way to market your small business in this day and age.


From your neighbor to your hairdresser, nearly everyone and everything is online now. While there is a bit of a learning curve to figuring out what times are the best to post content or the proper use of slang in your captions, it is fairly simple to figure out. And even if it takes a little bit to get the hang of it, the amount of eyes you will be able to reach once you start using social media ads makes it worth it. After you look up a few tutorials and have a friend who is seasoned user show you the ropes, you’ll be a pro.

Since there are so many people online, there are certain things you have think about in order to reach only those who you want to. One of these things is location; there’s no need to spend money to reach viewers at home in California when you have tourists nearby wondering what they should do while in town. This means combining technological resources with what you know about Wilmington in order to engage with your audience. Some ideas are to work with Airbnb hosts in the area to have your business pop up on a guest’s Instagram when they are on location or have the host include a QR code for your Facebook page in their Welcome booklet, purchase ads on apps like OpenTable or Resy where hungry tourists can snag a spot at your restaurant, or do exciting things with your company that will have local bloggers for encore or WilmingtonN.C. to write about. In order to have people view your new platform, you might have to put your business right in front of them.


Social Media advertising is much more cost-effective than traditional marketing. To start, nearly all of the top social media apps are free, and creating a profile is also free. Once your profile is made and you’re ready to start purchasing ads, you’ll find that the price for social media marketing is usually much less than standard ad formats. For instance, you could spend on average $200-$5,000 per week for a radio ad, and that isn’t even taking into account the production costs for making the spot. In comparison, if you were to spend the bare minimum of $250 for an ad on Spotify radio, which includes the production cost since you make your voiceover through the app, you would reach 11,ooo listeners right there.

Another possible cost comes with design; having professional, clean looking posts is important for reaching a virtual audience, especially if they align with your overall page aesthetic. In order to do this, you either need someone skilled in graphic design or access to graphic design templates. For the former, you would have to pay them for creating these posts and managing the various social media pages. Or you can teach yourself in graphic design software, either through free or paid online training depending on how comfortable you are already. For the latter, you would have to find online services that provide design templates, and while some of these websites are free, you would get more variety and the freedom to customize if you went with the paid versions. One example is Canva, a graphic design server with tens of thousands of templates, and for less than $10 a month you get access to all of them.


Not only can social media ads reach your potential consumers, but they can also directly guide them to your profile or website where they can immediately learn more about you with one click. They can then like, comment, and share your content (which is a form of marketing in itself), as well as make a purchase or appointment right on their phone. This is also provides the opportunity to connect with your target audience by responding to comments or sending a message of gratitude for a purchase. What’s more, if you keep up with the social media interaction year-round, then you can encourage your consumers to visit Wilmington again or even have your product delivered to right to them, which could provide business during the off-season depending on your company. Some good ways to boost interaction on your page is to come up with virtual contests, throw giveaways, or work with another business through a cosponsorship.

Another aspect of interactivity is how easy it is to find and/or experience your service through your online platform. If your menu is difficult to read on your profile or the tour booking process is complicated, it decreases the chance of your consumer following through on their purchase. This means putting in the extra effort to have your different add-ons and links work seamlessly; all of this content needs to be able to work on a phone, tablet, laptop, etc. easily. It is worth it in the end when your customers can quickly and simply interact with your social media without any struggle.


When it comes to social media content, the possibilities are truly endless. This allows for more creativity and freedom to show what the purpose of your business really is. When creating your profile and the content that you share on it, you implement certain visuals or themes to represent your brand. You can then make social media ads that go along with the overall aesthetic of your business, which can be an effortless way to peak someone’s interest. This also adds a personal touch to your ads, as well as your profile. Since social media interactivity was brought up before, when you directly handle a customer’s issue that they commented, or tag the account of the winner of a social media giveaway, you are creating a positive connection with that person. This could not only make them more inclined to go through your business for a certain product or service, but it could also interest other people who see this interactivity online and want to be apart of it too – which means more consumers interacting with your brand.

Don’t miss out on next season’s tourist crowd; utilize the technology we have available to us now for your benefit. Within no time, your small business will be reaching new customers and thriving in the world of social media.


Tan, G. W.-H., Lee, V.-H., Hew, J.-J., Ooi, K.-B., & Wong, L.-W. (2018). The interactive mobile social media advertising: An imminent approach to advertise tourism products and services? Telematics and Informatics, 35(8), 2270–2288. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tele.2018.09.005

Written by Emma D’Anjolell. You can learn more about Emma and our other blogwriters by clicking the “Our Team” banner at the top!