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The Best Content Marketing Practices for Small Businesses

Arrianne del Rosario
Written By
Arrianne del Rosario
Published On
Mar 04, 2021
Two small business owners building their brand with content marketing

Content marketing can assist in building a strong online brand for startups or small enterprises working without a budget. Every year, content marketing leaders experience a unique website traffic growth that’s 7.8 times higher than their followers. Combining creative content ideas with careful planning and smart execution is a long-term strategy that can be beneficial in promoting a business without resorting to hard-sell tactics. This strategy can also level the playing field by allowing smaller businesses to tackle bigger competitors.

Whether you are new to the digital landscape or merely looking for a few newer tactics to implement, we got you covered!

Check out these top content marketing tips for small businesses.

Be Active on Social Media

Social media has become a part of people’s everyday lives. The latest statistics show over 3.5 billion active social media users worldwide, which is almost 45% of the world’s total population, and the numbers continue to rise. Whatever your target demographic may be, you bet you can reach them on social media, from Millennials, to Gen-X, to Baby Boomers. Hence, it’s not surprising why over 50 million small businesses use social media networks like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to connect with customers online

The Perks of a Powerful Social Media Presence

Optimizing your social media presence through strategic engagement with your followers can work wonders for your brand by:

  • Creating brand awareness
    According to the Sprout Social Index, 89% of consumers say they will buy from a brand they follow on social media, and 84% will choose that brand over a competitor without. In addition, a whopping 90% of digital marketers say that their social media marketing efforts have improved the exposure of their business, and 75% say they’ve increased traffic.
  • It promotes conversation about your brand
    71% of customers who have a positive experience with a brand online will most likely recommend it to friends and family.
  • It generates sales and revenue
    More than 50% of consumers use social media to research a product or service, basing their buying decisions on reviews and recommendations online.
  • It teaches you more about your consumers and how to connect with them
    Through social listening (the act of tracking what’s being said about your brand online), you can stay on top of potential PR disasters, become proactive in addressing certain problem areas about your product or service or jump on trends that your target audience will most likely respond to.
  • Provide exceptional customer service
    90% of customers use social media to communicate with brands, while 63% expect to get faster customer service. According to Hootesuite, over 150 million people message businesses through Instagram Direct every month.

Screenshot of an Instagram post from Spirit of York

Determining the Best Time and Frequency to Post

Despite its promising potential to make your brand go viral in a blink of an eye, making it big on social media takes considerable time, energy, and wit. You have to do your research and discover more about the social media habits of your target audience. What day and time do they usually scroll through Instagram or Facebook? How many times should you be posting to capture their attention? How do you keep up with the ever-changing algorithm of popular social media platforms?

SproutSocial reveals that there was a significant shift in people’s social media peak times in 2020 as work and most aspects in life moved online due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. were previously identified as the best times to post on Instagram. But in April 2020, the window of peak posting time on Instagram expanded to Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Here are some key things to keep in mind when posting on social media: 

  1. Keep your eyes peeled about the latest trends and algorithm updates.
  2. Schedule several posts at different times of the week to gauge the best frequency and posting times for each platform.
  3. Mix up the type of content you are posting to see which one is getting the most engagement from your followers depending on the platform.
  4. Geek out on your analytics by studying data based on engagement each posting time gets.
  5. Keep it local. Research the best posting times according to your target location.
  6. Check out what competitors or influencers in your area are doing.

For a more in-depth guide, check out our blog on the best times to post on Instagram.

Create Video Content

2020 has seen the rise of the viral video sharing app TikTok, which boasts over 800 million active users worldwide. The phenomenal platform allows users to create various types of bite-sized video content up to 60 seconds long, ranging from montages, to comedic shorts, to duets. The overnight success of TikTok and the undeniable popularity of similar short-form video features like Instagram Reels and Stories is proof that videos deserve a spot in the list of content marketing best practices small business owners should be paying attention to.

Unlike typical marketing trends that tend to come and go, it seems that video content marketing is here to stay. The current forecast reveals that the average person will spend 100 minutes watching online videos every day in 2021. China and Sweden top the list of having the most avid online video viewers that exceeds 100 minutes per day. Still, Zenith’s Online Video Forecasts expects to see the same behaviour in Canada, Mexico, India, the U.K., and the United States in 2021. 

ROI From Creating Videos

The growth of using video as a marketing tool from 2016-2021

The majority of digital marketers (92%) say that video is an essential part of their content marketing strategy because it offers an excellent return on investment (ROI), including:

  • 80% conversion rate boost when videos are embedded on website landing pages 
  • 19% open rate increase when the word “video” is added in the email subject line of newsletters
  • 90% of consumers are influenced in their buying decisions by videos
  • 64% of consumers make an online purchase after watching a video about it

The best thing about videos is that they are super versatile and are effective as a visual storytelling tool. Whatever your brand identity or niche may be, you can create different types of videos to fit your content marketing strategy. For example, you can create video tutorials using your products, promote brand awareness and customer engagement with branded hashtags, or tap famous TikTok influencers to spread the word about your campaigns.

Starter Kit for Killer Video Content

  1. Optimize for SEO and conversion. Use a catchy title that also packs in relevant keywords. Don’t forget to create a video description to tell potential viewers what the video is about. Add keywords and a link to your website or landing page and have a clear call to action.
  2. Keep it engaging and visually appealing. Create eye-catching and high-quality display thumbnails that are still on brand. Be creative with the type of video content you’re going to produce. From how-to’s or tutorials, video animations, slides, webinars, product demos, IG or FB live – the possibilities are endless.
  3. Brevity is queen. Keep your online videos short and sweet. Short-form videos do better than long-form ones in terms of engagement, however, if you are discussing a complex topic, you can repurpose the video into bite-sized pieces and create a two- or four-part series.
  4. Choose the best distribution channels for different online videos. Bite-sized online videos are a perfect fit for social media platforms like Tiktok, Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram. On the other hand, longer-form video content will gain maximum exposure on your website and other video-sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo.
  5. Make it mobile-friendly. Many online videos are frequently viewed on smartphones and other electronic devices, so make sure yours is optimized for this as well.

Don’t Underestimate Effective Email Marketing

Newsletters get a bad rap as junk mail that clutters our inbox. Still, email marketing remains one of the simplest yet most effective content marketing tips for small businesses when executed correctly. Contrary to what others may say about it being obsolete, current studies show that email marketing is still thriving and is a time-tested way to connect with real customers. Here’s why:

If you think you don’t need email marketing as part of your content strategy because you cater to a younger audience, think again. Data shows that 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email. 

A man browses a brand’s website online

Steps to Get Started with Email Marketing for Small Businesses

Email marketing has so much potential. It delivers your branded content to your consumers consistently and is not influenced by third-party gatekeepers with confusing algorithms that can mess up your visibility and engagement. Incorporating emails into your content marketing best practices is simple. Here’s how:

  1. Select an email service provider.
    There are many promising email marketing companies to choose from that will fit your goals and working budget. Most of them, such as Klaviyo, Mailchimp, and Omnisend can be easily integrated with Shopify and other eCommerce platforms.
  2. Build your email contact list.
    There are several ways to collect emails from potential customers, such as setting up opt-in forms on your website, requesting them in sales and customer accounts, offering lead magnets in the form of free content, discounts, or deals to encourage sign-ups.
  3. Create an email design and content that speaks to your brand’s identity and target audience (demographics, past purchase behavior, etc.)
    Always keep your customers in mind when brainstorming about the types of emails to send out.
  4. Adapt and improve based on data.
    Excellent email marketing services like Klaviyo can help you step up your content customization by allowing you to create triggers for flows or automated emails (i.e. welcome new customers, abandoned cart, or post-purchase follow-up) and accurately target customers with segmented campaigns that can result in a 760% increase in revenue.

To learn more about content marketing tips for small businesses, or to connect with the top influencers in Canada that resonate with your brand, get in touch with The Influence Agency today!

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