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How Social Media Advertising helps SMEs and Start-ups

Social media advertising is more than digital marketing for entrepreneurs, not because it’s a trending path or because it’s simple but because of its accessibility…

As social media is becoming more infused into our daily lives, it exposes small businesses to opportunities for reaching out to target audience through social media advertising. In this report, Daily Trust on Sunday collates the experiences of owners of small businesses cashing in on social media.

It is no news that the advent of social media has somewhat bridged the gap between entrepreneurs and their customers. The importance of social media for small scale businesses and start-ups is growing at an incredible speed with more people creating accounts, joining social media sites and using them effectively. It’s important that businesses take advantage of the social media space in order to boost their revenues.

Social media advertising is more than digital marketing for entrepreneurs, not because it’s a trending path or because it’s simple but because of its accessibility to a wide target audience. This creates opportunity for customers to engage deeper with brands they patronise and the entrepreneurs connect with their customers on a higher level, therefore serving them better.

According to a report by datareportal.com, they are 104.4 million users of the internet in Nigeria. It also states that there was a 22% increase in the number of people that use the internet between 2020 and 2021. As at January 2021, Nigeria was recorded to have a total of 33 million social media users. Reports also show that an average individual spends at least 3 hours a day on social media.

With social media advertising, there’s no room for induced beliefs about whether it’s working or not, this websites and applications provide daily analysis and metrics showing post engagements, daily reach, page likes and which post was liked most by viewers, all these can be found on an Ads Manager. It also gives the business owners the ability to micro target their audience. It can be based on interests, demography, age range, location. Social media advertising creates an environment where business owners can learn in depth information about their prospective customers by gathering data from their social profiles. The information gained can help business owners make smarter decisions where their customers are concerned.

Asides targeting potential customers, social media advertising retargets profiles who have previously shown interest in a brand. These are people who they might have clicked on a business page, used the call-to-action link or if possible have left things in their online shopping carts. Persons who have expressed such interest in your brand should not be ignored at all. Using social media advertising tools, these persons can be constantly reminded of your brands and will be compelled to finish their purchase history.

For SMEs and Start-ups, social media advertising eases the process of collating and receiving feedbacks from customers. When customers have issues with a product or service, it can be reported in a convenient manner. It also brings about healthier customer satisfaction as when customers comment on business posts, they are opportune to get a modified answer rather than a computerized text. This form of advertising also gives room for small businesses and enterprises to build their brand and gain loyalty from their customers. When a brand is found trending online, customers view the brand to be responsive and accessible. This kind of vulnerability positively effects how the brand is perceived and makes customers more interested in the information they share. Entrepreneurs also have the opportunity to create conversations around their brand, partners and product, this in turn helps to show areas where the brand is lacking and needs improvement.

Social media advertising also helps start-ups monitor strategies used by its competitors in order to grow their own online presence and boost its sales performance. This could be by tracing their mentions or hashtags to reveal comments and weak points that they can reach out to tackle and win new customers in the process.

Social media adverts come in different forms, it can either be through using sponsored ads on the websites or through the use of influencer recommendations.  Sponsored ads are posts that have been paid for by business owners. They appear as regular post on the timeline but can always be identified by the “sponsored” tag. These ads always include a call to action that help promote and drive traffic to this business. Sponsored Ads can be in the form of photo ads, video ads, stories etc. Although original social post and content may generate traffic, Sponsored Ads play a bigger role in creating awareness for the brand even without having to give too much information.

Influencer Recommendation is the use of celebrities or persons who have established credibility on their social media profiles to create awareness of a brand. This people have access to a large audience and can convince others of their originality and influence. These social media influencers receive care packages from brands, businesses and in return advertise the products to their followers and help create awareness for the brand.  Influencer recommendations also comes into effect whenever brands or businesses decide to release a new product and will like to know how the brand will be perceived in the market.

Reports state that customers are most likely to patronise a brand when they come highly recommended from celebrities or social media figures they adore. Also because of the trust that these influencers have created with their followers, their followers feel very confident in also advertising the brands to other persons through reposting on their pages or stories for them to see.

Alexis Ene-ita, owner of a skincare brand explained to our Daily Trust on Sunday correspondent that since starting her business, the use of social media advertising has helped build her brand and also increase her revenue. “As a small business owner, we are constantly looking for new ways to get our brands on the radar of potential customers, using social media advertising has not just created awareness for my brand but also opened the door to engage effectively with our current customers as well as attract new ones,” she said.

Miss Ene-ita also explains that social media advertising gives her the opportunity to connect with her followers every time they come online through the use of entertaining and informative post; this helps to keep her brand at the top of their minds. She states that building a positive online reputation has helped establish her brand’s authenticity and trust between customers and the brand.

Miss Kourtney Okoyeze, another entrepreneur who runs a wig making and styling business, shared with Daily Trust on Sunday that 85 percent of her clientele came through social media advertising.  She also stated that for a small-scale business like hers, social media advertising played a big role in creating awareness of her brand.  “Whenever I use social media advertising, I’ll say it is quite effective in boosting my engagement and reach. I received a lot of comments, likes and enquiries which have in turn increased the amount of sales I make.”

Miss Okoyeze explains that to make the best out of social media advertising, entrepreneurs must study the audience they are targeting, knowing what interests them, knowing what their needs are, what location they are in and how accessible they are. “In order for the advert to be more efficient, it’s important to target your audience down to the very last thing. Who is your audience? What are their needs? What is their interest? All this input will be added in the interest section when creating the advert and that will increase the chance of meeting the advert goals you have set”.

She also noted that the use of social media advertising plays a big role for small scale businesses who are yet to increase their revenues as it is cost effective.  These websites offer different payment plans depending on the amount of people that will be reached. This also creates the opportunity for the brands to watch their growth and style of advert to see how effective it is and what needs to be improved on.