Why Small, Local Businesses Are the Best at Social Media
The other day, for obvious reasons, I ended up on the Facebook page of a local donut shop. I didn’t know much about the place, and I wanted to see what they were all about. 20 minutes later, I’m still there, analyzing their hours of business and looking at pictures of salted dulce de leche donuts. Yes I clicked “like.”
Since I used to be a local arts and entertainment editor, I have followed a lot of local businesses on social media, and I’ve often been inspired by their simple efforts to connect with customers when working with our own clients. I’ve noticed some key differences in the way businesses of different scale approach social media.
Here are common practices I’ve noticed with small businesses on social media:
-Announcing what is happening in the store today (i.e. “Today we’ve got vegan rosemary croissants and fresh red velvet cake.”)
-Announcing their hours or, for food trucks, location.
-Profiling their employees or customers in interesting ways.
It’s a combination of generally useful information and a peek into the culture of their company. The result is a transparent, human feel that’s often creative and fun.
Compare this with the common social media efforts of many large brands:
-Housing and expanding on their current TV campaign.
-Constant efforts to create shareable “memes.”
-Big Brother-style monitoring for any mention of the brand and direct addressing of complaints from a voiceless individual.
Many of these efforts add another channel for their larger campaign messaging, which often ends up feeling expensive and elaborate. Instead of working with Facebook, they work against it to turn it into a micro website to talk at customers, rather than with them.
It makes sense when you think about it. Small local businesses are good at social media because they need to be. They can’t afford large, expensive campaigns, or even fully functional websites – so Facebook and Twitter play an integral part in communicating with their customers. When you start from a place of necessity, it’s easier to create something functional.