How UK SMBs Are Betting on Social Media Marketing to Survive
Last update: 25 July 2022 at 01:50 pm
Let’s take a scenario.
A customer DMs your business on Instagram. Two hours later, they haven’t received a response. What happens next? According to Sprout Social:
- 35% of them will message a competitor
- 35% will not complete a purchase
- 33% will share their negative experience with their friends and family
- 18% will give a negative review on social media
If your business takes “too long” to respond, not only do you lose 1 potential customer, but you are giving them away freely to your competition and losing other potential customers along the way.
However, if you were to give your potential customer a good experience, Cyber Crew estimates that 71% of them will be more likely to recommend your brand to their friends and family…
At Sortlist, we have had the first-hand experience of visualising this growth of social media marketing in the UK with the sheer number of projects coming in.
Whether you have been convinced to set a social media marketing budget for your company, let us show you why you have made the right choice or why you need to start planning for one.
Why Is Social Media Small Business Marketing on the Rise?
As a business in the post 2000 era, social media is one of the largest sources of brand visibility. With over 4.6 billion people social media users (58.4% of the world population) estimated by Smart Insights and the power of targeting their ideal customer profile, companies have never had this kind of potential reach in the past.
In the UK, Statistia states that 84.3% of the population uses social media, making it the 16th country with the highest social media penetration rate and 10 places ahead of the US.
As a British business, this large gathering of their potential audience is too good to miss and that is why it is no surprise that social media marketing investments have been on the rise in the past 5 years.
The rise of social media marketing – 757% more projects
The rise of social media marketing within digital marketing can be explained by the continuous growth of potential these platforms provide for marketers. Up until now, there had never been a place as such for brands to gather as much information about their customers, reach their target audience on such personal levels, and drive conversions as fast.
We’ve even arrived at a point where social media marketing is almost indispensable for companies to survive.
“It’s super important for any kind of business [to be present on social media]. Back in 2015 or 16, you would see B2B clients, they wouldn’t be interested in social media. Maybe my clients were not on Facebook or Instagram, but nowadays, even B2B does go to social media because the decision-makers are on social media. That’s where they consume content.”Dana Hammoudeh – Social Media Lead, Chain Reaction
Since the first quarter of 2020, the top 3 expertises we have received projects for at Sortlist have been:
- Social media
- Public Relations
In the first quarter of 2020, Sortlist received a total of 60 qualified projects. Two and a half years later, in Q2 of 2022 we were able to send 328 qualified projects to our partnering agencies.
Social media marketing has always been the number 1 expertise companies in the UK are looking to outsource. And in the past year, there has been a significant increase in the number of projects coming in.
If we take a look at the growth of social media projects in the past two and a half years, there has been an increase of 757%. Continuing with this trend, in Q4 of 2024, we should receive roughly 514 social media projects.
But which sectors are looking to strengthen their social media marketing efforts?
The top 5 sectors in the UK looking for social media agencies are:
- Clothing & Accessories
- Real estate
Although we have seen projects coming from more than 30 different sectors, these 5 sectors have accounted for most of them between January 2021 and July 2022.
The main reason however why so many companies have decided it has become essential for them to be on social media platforms is for the countless amounts of benefits it can provide them compared to other places to advertise their business.
Are you |
Discover the most relevant social media agencies for your project based on your own specific requirements.Find agency!
Socials With Benefits: What Benefits Do Small Businesses Get From a Solid Social Media Strategy?
Increased engagement = increased brand loyalty. Just ask R “Ray” Wang.
“We see companies who have improved engagement increase cross-sell by 22%, drive up-sell revenue from 13% to 51%, and also increase order sizes from 5% to 85%”
By creating a better bond and relationship with your customers, you have much higher chances for them to become returning and regular customers.
In recent years, the top 2 ways in which consumers are most likely to engage with a brand is in some manner via social media. Forget the old-school phone calls and text messages, customers want to be sliding into your DMs and publicly liking your posts.
By not having a point of contact on social media, you’re taking away your brand’s top 3 chances of interacting with its consumers. And who knows, maybe you’re giving your competition a major advantage of leaving a positive impact on your current customers.
The British bakery chain, Greggs, found a fun way to boost engagement with its Instagram followers during the Glastonbury music festival in 2022 with this Instagram post.
The unique post invites people to comment on their post with the stage that they would choose all by advertising their different products.
The post ended up being the most commented post of the company’s last 5 months and gave the company an insight into which products their customers liked the most and potential combos they could create 👀.
Instead of having an in-person store on a busy street where the majority of people who walk past won’t even acknowledge your brand, of the 4.6 billion people present on social media, you can target your brand specifically to those who you know your product will interest.
Meta, which now owns the majority of the biggest social media platforms in the world, has a precise targeting system for companies to aim the advertisements to a more focused target audience…a bullseye technique so to speak 😉
On Meta platforms, you can target your ads to locations as specific as towns and as precise as categories such as “empty nesters” or “newly engaged 1-year”…
But not only that, you can start targeting audiences that you may have missed as potential targets.
Lookalike audiences are audiences that have similar behaviours to your target audience who social media thinks could become converting customers of your business.
By using social media, you can discover a whole new group of potential customers that you may have missed in your previous targeting tactics.
Take this Costa Coffee post for example:
Costa Coffee and Marks & Spencer have worked on a collaboration to sell M&S foods in Costa Coffee shops. Instead of only providing their current customers with this new promotion, it is in their best interest to branch out to lookalike audiences that purchase Marks & Spencer foods as well to attract new customers!
Another valuable asset social media channels brings to companies is a more positive customer experience which in turn, brings us back to the importance of converting one-time customers into long-term ones.
As I mentioned in the introduction, if a customer has a good online experience with a brand, 71% of them will be more likely to recommend it to their friends and family. The best way to ensure this is through 1-1 communication.
Check out this KLM customer that has taken to the “not so best place” to complain the services he has received from the Dutch airline.
The passenger’s message was easily addressed and responded to by the company and referred to the right spot to file the complaint, which they have also conveniently placed in their profile bio to make it easy for customers to get in contact with them.
But social media accounts can provide businesses with much more than just pain points. They can also be a source of positive feedbackand innovative ideas for your company.
During pride month, KLM showed its support for the LGBTQ+ community by taking to Instagram and posting the picture above. The comments section was filled with positive comments and support from either current or potentially new passengers. This is also a form of customer satisfaction.
Seeing the outpour of love from people on social media from this kind of post is an indicator to KLM that addressing social issues on their social media accounts increases positive engagement and customer satisfaction.
Measuring up against the competition
KLM may or may not have had the idea of posting a picture in support of pride month based on what their competition was doing.
With social media it is easy to keep tabs on your competitors and use new tools such as social listening to get a glimpse into the topics your, and similar, audiences are talking about.
From these kinds of tools, you can learn things about your audience such as:
- Social issues they are passionate about
- Upcoming events they may be attending
- Competitors they purchase products from
- The frequency at which they use social media
Are you |
Discover the most relevant agencies for your project based on your own specific requirements.Find an agency!
How to Avoid Social Media Marketing #FOMO
If you have an in-person store, you probably didn’t know that, according to Sprout Social, 80% of customers that walk in are expecting you to have a social media presence as well. But not only that. 62% of them that walk in believe that if you’re not on social media, your business will most likely die out in the long run.
With this in mind, it is important for both big and small companies to have a solid and professional social media strategy to live up to consumer expectations and give their business a chance.
But even with these high statistics, and the benefits of having a solid social media strategy which we outlined above, only 40% of small to medium businesses in the UK are present on social media platforms. There is double the percentage in the US.
But things seem to have started to take a turn since last year. Back in 2021, a Statista survey published that paid social media marketing was the number one area in which UK marketers were planning to increase their investments come 2022.
Although these numbers seem promising for the future of companies’ relationship with social media, it’s important for businesses to build solid social media marketing strategies to reap the benefits.
There’s more than just Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter….and TikTok
A common misconception companies have when it comes to social media marketing and social media marketing tools in general) is their limited view of platforms they can use to reach their audiences as well as their potential beyond engagement and branding.
Often companies’ relationship with social media comes from personal use with the platforms and where we are accustomed to seeing other brands. This kind of thinking has lead to a loss of potential which we can see from the graph below.
The platform a business decides to use is based on a wide range of factors that include the demographics of users vs the target audience (e.g. the Social Shepherd revealed that almost 50% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25…not ideal for B2B companies who may want to focus more on LinkedIn’s where Omnicore Agency says that 50% of its users are between 25 and 34).
However, there is a large percentage loss of potential in general with marketing on platforms such as WhatsApp with only 7% of marketers planning it into their social media marketing strategy.
WhatsApp and your morning coffee
The Saudi Arabia-based digital marketing agency, ANCHOVY., recently teamed up with Nespresso on a social media project based on a WhatsApp campaign.
Nespresso was looking to “grow their coffee capsules sales through retaining their coffee machine customers as returning customers”. But they were lacking two main insights: their customers’ favourite coffee flavour and how frequently they purchased the product.
Nespresso saw a 300% increase in its sales within the first 30 days of the campaign. It also happened to be the biggest number in sales since the company had started!
So why haven’t we seen more social media campaigns using platforms such as WhatsApp yet?
For ANCHOVY.’s co-founder and executive director Zak Borg, European markets are slower in adapting to the fast-changing times and still using traditional methods such as e-mail to get in contact with clients.
The Middle East on the other hand has already moved on to using platforms such as WhatsApp which creates a much faster line of communication to not only provide customer service but also receive valuable feedback via feedback button.
The speed at which the Middle East runs, the European market cannot understand. In the European markets, you send an email, you wait 24 hours, it comes in…there everything’s on WhatsApp. You can forget receiving an email. I think things are moving much, much faster there. And from my perspective, I think us Europeans, we’re way behind the curve now when it comes to markets like Dubai and Saudi where they are running at such a pace that our European team has to send an email, wait for it to come back. There they send a WhatsApp and within 10 seconds receive a reply. So it’s no longer as an account executive you gained two days to take it easy on that client because you’re going to get a reply straight away.Zak Borg – Co-founder and Director of ANCHOVY.
Post With a Purpose
Although you may have some insightful and fun Instagram posts on your page, consumers require a little more than just something they can chuckle at every so often. Everyone on Instagram has an account, and almost everyone posts, but not every post gets a like, or comment or “share on story”.
Your brand needs to stand out and unfortunately, marketers don’t have the same idea as consumers of what that means.
If you don’t pay much attention to giving your brand a leitmotif, you’re hurting the most important aspect that makes your brand distinct from the others in the eyes of the consumer.
Take a look at GoPro. Their Instagram page is considered by Eclincher the best brand to follow on social media. But what makes them stand out?
- They post almost exclusively pictures taken by their customers
- They encourage others to send in their submissions
- They hold frequent photography/videography competitions via their socials
- Communicate with their followers in the comments
- Provide a wide variety of different images
- Often give insights into their latest technological updates or tips on how best to use their technology
They also frequently post on current social issues going on around the world.
But it’s hard keeping up with all of these factors to ensure that your brand gets a shot at visibility.
SMBs Need a Helping Hand
But not only do you have to keep up communication with clients, but you also need to be aware of emerging trends and have a constant flow of new and exciting ideas for campaigns.
It’s impossible to have someone working in-house 24/7 all year round to keep up with your social media marketing efforts. This is why you may want to look into hiring a social media marketing agency.
“I’ve worked as an internal marketing executive for a company, and I’ve worked in an agency and I think the difference between the two is that yes, in house might be a little bit cheaper, but that person in house, although they’re focusing on you 24/7 they don’t do it day in and day out. I feel like when you’re doing it day in day out with so many different clients, you’re learning constantly and what works for one client may not work for another, and you’re using the data from all of your clients actually to improve your knowledge.”Sydney Clarke – Director of Social Milk Marketing
An agency can also have some extra perks and know some social media tips that you may not have access to with your internal team.
“Plus we’re always in contact with platforms. We always have meetings and workshops with Facebook, Meta now, and different platforms. So we always know the updates from them before they’re out for example”Dana Hammoudeh – Social Media Lead, Chain Reaction
From engagement rates to managing social media management tools, social media agencies have a clear overview of industry trends and social media usage in general on both the business and client sides. So why not make the most of these experts?
Building Your Social Media Presence
The marketplace has become saturated with all kinds of products and services thanks to globalisation and digitalisation, making it difficult for businesses to stand out.
Whether you work for a conglomerate or a small business, it has become more important than ever to build relationships with customers. These relationships have been proven to initiate, grow and persist via social media networks, and businesses across the UK are starting to make the most of social media tools at their disposal. But there is still a lot more potential for many businesses out there.
If your business goals include increasing brand visibility and boosting lead generation, but your business has yet to be present on a social media network yet, get in touch with a social media agency by posting your project to get started.
But not just that, any business that is already present on any social network could benefit from a helping hand from an agency to conduct a thorough social media audit.