How small businesses can use social media to pivot in 2021

With the Jamaican economy contracting by 9.4 per cent in the December quarter of last year, small businesses need to stay afloat.

While most small businesses are attempting to limit their interaction with the customer, because COVID-19 is known to be spread by direct contact, social media has become critical to marketing in the pandemic.

Kesi Gardner, the chief storyteller of The Storyteller Agency. Co, which consults medium to small businesses operating as a collective of creatives that focus on food, travel, and lifestyle, specialising in creating robust, integrated campaigns to help brands stand out above the noise.

“Our ethos is rooted in brand storytelling. Storytelling when used correctly, is a powerful business tool and skill that every business building a powerful and long-lasting brand should aim to master,” she says.

Gardner who has over 20 years experience working in marketing and advertising, has a blog,  www.kesigardner.com, that has been hailed as one of the top 200 marketing blogs on the web by FeedSpot.

Here are some tips, she suggests medium to small businesses can use to boost their visibility online with a limited budget:

Use the art of storytelling

Use storytelling to bridge the gap between brand and consumer. According to NPR, “When you listen to a story, your brain waves actually start to synchronise with those of the storyteller. And reading a narrative activates brain regions involved in deciphering or imagining a person’s motives and perspective, research has found.”

“Telling stories about what inspired you to start your company really resonates with people and personal branding is becoming more and more important as people need to feel connected,” she says.

Use the original content

Using original content is key to building customer loyalty. According to Google, the world’s biggest search engine, takes notice of original content and takes it in as a factor for contributing to a website’s credibility, which increases its likelihood of ranking higher in search engine results for the keyword involved in the text. 

“If you want to be seen, you need original, relevant content. Jamaican photographers are making some interesting content these days, but if you can’t afford one, don’t hesitate to use your smartphone,” she says.

Use free photo-editing apps

Once you’ve taken the photos in the most natural light possible, you can edit with free photo-editing apps downloaded from the Apple or Google Play store. Some suggestions include Snapseed, Lightroom, VSCO, Adobe Photoshop Express, and Lightroom.

You can use royalty-free stock images

If you can’t afford original content, Kesi recommends using some royalty-free stock image sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay. Check the site’s privacy policy, which will cite if permission is given to use without credit.

Invest in influencer marketing

 According to Harvard Business Review: “The allocation of marketing budgets towards influencers is on the rise, up to 7.5 per cent from 6.5 per cent a year ago and expected to rise to 12.7 per cent in the next three years.

“As online traffic continues to increase, it will be critical for brands to identify the right influencers to attract target customers and identify growth segments.

“It will also be important for social media managers to invest in influencer training and relationship building. Influencers are a great way to build trust and authentic relationships with followers, who may end up being paying customers. Scheduling individual and group touchpoints with influencers to discuss product updates and gain feedback on trends they are observing will go a long way toward fostering a mutually beneficial partnership.” 

Says Gardner: “Influencer marketing is still very new to Jamaica but we are seeing more culturally diverse creators talking about  topics such as travel, fashion and food. I’m interested to see other kinds of influencers come to the fore in other industries like technology, the environment, business and even medicine.”

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