Marketing your small business is a necessary part of entrepreneurship. However, it’s an aspect that bemuses many business owners. Knowing how, where and how long to allocate your advertising dollars can feel like a spin of the roulette wheel. Although it’s tempting just to stick to the old favorites such as print and television, direct mailing and even billboard advertising, more and more entrepreneurs are beginning to see the value of social media advertising.
Yet today’s social media marketing is about much more than pay-per-click ads on Facebook. Let’s explore how the social media advertising landscape is changing.
The rise of social media spending
Social media platforms have become an integral part of our lives, boasting billions of users worldwide. With so many users, it’s no surprise that marketers were quick to recognize the immense potential of social media as an advertising medium. In fact, social media marketing has become the preferred strategy for many business owners.
By the end of 2025, online spending is expected to account for 57% of overall global ad spend, according to Zenith Media. However, with increased competition, entrepreneurs must adopt a multichannel organic approach to establish their audience and brand awareness. While ads can complement organic growth, focusing on content marketing and other organic strategies can often provide a better return on investment.
Leveraging user-generated content
As more and more businesses implement social media marketing as part of their strategy, the need to tap into less traditional means is also growing. One such solution can be found in your most loyal customers. User-generated content (UGC) is a growing area that innovative business owners are beginning to take advantage of.
User-generated content refers to content created by consumers that showcases their experiences with a particular brand. This could be in the form of unboxing videos, product demonstrations and other methods to showcase how your product is being used by fellow consumers. By tapping into UGC, businesses can harness the power of their biggest brand advocates.
Strategic UGC efforts can be cost-effective and highly impactful. You can encourage your most faithful, raving fans to create valuable UGC through exciting offers, branded hashtags, contests and even your e-commerce websites.
According to TrustPilot, 89% of consumers seek out online reviews before deciding to purchase a product or service. By encouraging your most loyal customers to make engaging content that features your products or services, you can take advantage of this trend, becoming a trusted and recognized brand.
Entertaining customers to drive sales
Brick-and-mortar retailers are facing intense competition and are actively seeking ways to attract customers back to their stores. In this pursuit, marketers are focusing on making the shopping experience more exciting and engaging. One way to achieve this is to create content that captivates and delights prospective clients.
For instance, when I create videos for my own social media marketing, I follow a simple rule. For every three videos I make, one of them has nothing to do with my business. Instead, this content will focus more on who I am. I might hop on Instagram just to ask my followers if they like pineapple on their pizza. If they do, I explain why they’re wrong.
The point is to develop a connection and allow some space so your prospective clients see you as more than just a salesperson. If you can make them laugh, prospective clients are more likely to have a positive perception of you and keep you top of mind when they’re ready to buy. In fact, a 2018 study by Clutch revealed that 53% of customers are more likely to remember and enjoy an ad if it’s funny.
The power of social media across business functions
Beyond marketing, social media holds great potential across various business functions. It can enhance customer service, drive sales, aid in recruiting and hiring and even assist in crisis management. The versatility of social media platforms makes them valuable assets for businesses of all sizes and across all industries.
Building an effective content strategy
To make the most of these trends, you must develop a comprehensive content strategy. Your strategy should align with your business goals and rely on the creation and distribution of effective and engaging content. It should be unique to your brand identity and company mission.
Nearly every business can benefit from a well-thought-out content strategy. Such a strategy helps drive growth, maintain consistency in your brand’s voice across channels and educate your audience about your value proposition. Entrepreneurs who understand the importance of omnichannel content marketing can leverage a comprehensive content strategy to achieve their goals.
Moving forward, increased investment in social media, user-generated content and entertainment will continue to shape the marketing landscape. Businesses that adapt to these trends and develop robust strategies stand to gain a competitive edge. By embracing social media, leveraging content created by your biggest fans and providing entertaining experiences, you can build strong connections with your target audience and thrive in the ever-changing digital realm.
The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.
This article was written by Justin Goodbread from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com. Justin Goodbread CFP®, CEPA, CVGA, at WealthSource Partners, LLC, is a financial educator, wealth manager, author and speaker.