Are your customers sampling your small business from the comfort of their smartphone?

If not, then they’re positively salivating over your competitors’ Instagram, Twitter and Yelp pictures and posts. Much of this content is published by patrons!

So, let’s use a restaurant as an example for how small businesses can approach their content marketing strategy.

Picture this. Your customers are posting their smartphone snapshots and comments on their Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Yelp accounts while sitting at your restaurant’s table. What a yummy idea!

Are you helping your customers feed your small business’s bottom line with the right social media and content marketing strategy?

Small businesses, like restaurants, can set the table to make it easy to follow, engage and convert for the return visit; make it easy for customers work for them.

Research Indicates Customers Talk ‘Social Media’ Better Than Small Businesses

  • Only 10% of small businesses use Instagram to drive awareness and conversation around their brand. Customer usage is much higher, so fish where the fish are! (Source: Marketing Experiments)
  • When you or your customers, add a photo to social media posts, social media sharing and clicks increase by up to 35%, however, most small businesses are not posting visuals! (Source: Twitter)
  • Social media posts with hashtags have double the amount of clicking, commenting and sharing than those without, but small businesses have difficulty pulling off a solid hashtag strategy (Source: Buddy Media)

This research tells us that customers are talking the social media talk, while many small businesses are letting their child or college student handle the most important communication channel for their business! And this child or college student is challenges mapping strategy with best-practice social media and content use.

3 Ways To Serve Up Great Results On Your Social Channels

1. Make It Easy For Customers To Connect With You. I recently visited my new favorite Italian bistro in Media, PA, Patrone, where they do an excellent job collecting my email address for important updates. There is nothing more valuable than an opt-in email list (as well as the excellent food and service they provided!) But that’s only one-way communication. Focusing on social media channels will help build the groundswell of awareness. However, they promote that their business is on Instagram and Facebook, but do not make it clear on where to follow them. Many small businesses say “follow us” when they are really asking “search for us.’ So, make it easier for the customers to find you!

IMG 0391 Are Your Customers Dishing Out Your Content Marketing?

TIP: Spell out the exact name of your social media channels. Don’t make customers search for you!

2. Regularly Feed Your Channels With Great Content. Content is the food for your social media channels. So, feed your channels with significant content. For example, if you owned a restaurant you can post your daily menu on Instagram. If you own a craft beer bar, post your newest brew or daily tap list on Twitter, if you own a hardware store, post a how-to video of the day on Facebook! Or, just take a photo to display the evening’s ambiance!

IMG 0393 Are Your Customers Dishing Out Your Content Marketing?

TIP: Post daily photos on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

3. Encourage Customer-created Content. The ‘piece de resistance’ of a successful content marketing strategy is having your customer promote your place with their user-generated content (UGC). To encourage reviews on Yelp, Instagram moments and enjoying dinner with the one you love, make sure to ask your customers to share. And, make it easy for them to make their sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram as hard as possible. Display the proper hashtags on your menu and in other smart, discrete and creative places!

Screen Shot 2014 12 31 at 12.46.12 PM Are Your Customers Dishing Out Your Content Marketing?

TIP: Encourage your customers to take pictures of anything in your business … remembering to tag your business in their post!

But What About Facebook?

Your small business needs to be on Facebook, but if you aren’t paying to get your message out, then don’t count on Facebook helping your business. However, when your customers share on their pages, your reputation and cred will have a greater chance of spreading and going viral.

The Big Lesson With Small Business Social Media and Content Marketing

As clear as you are with the descriptions on your menu, be that explicit in how to find, engage and share your business content. Your customers are your biggest fans and want to share their experiences with their friends. So, make it easy for them!