Over 3.8 billion people use social media worldwide – over 50% of the world’s population. Moreover, this number will only continue to grow as customers use social media to do everything from connecting with others to shopping and discovering news.
As a business, social media can be an incredibly useful tool to connect with your audience and ultimately advertise your product. But it can also be a minefield of knowing which ones to use, what to post, and when.
Although we’ve gone into tips and tricks for posting on social media before, sometimes it can be helpful to look through some examples of what other businesses are doing online, what they’re getting right, and what you can take away from them.
So… that’s what we’re here to do today. We’ve picked 5 SMEs who are killing it on social media right now (for various reasons), delving into why they’re doing so well and what you can learn from them. Let’s get started!
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Why social media is important for small businesses
For many modern companies, social media has grown from a ‘nice to have’ to an essential way to market your business and connect with your audiences. This is because, when used right, social media:
- Builds brand awareness as a way for customers to find and discover your business online;
- Generates more website traffic and leads to your business;
- Establishes connections with your customers and strengthens relationships, building trust and loyalty;
- Encourages repeat purchases by reconnecting with existing customers;
- And much more.
You can find out more about why social media is so important for your business and tips on how to use it to your advantage in our guide on how to market a small business on social media.
But one of the best things about social media is that it’s free. There are no joining fees or subscriptions (unless you really want that blue tick on Twitter). All it takes is a little time and effort – making the returns incredibly worth it if you hit the right chords.
If you want to up the antics, you can also go into paid advertising to promote your posts and make your reach extend further. If you’re just getting into the swing of things though, we’d recommend finding your feet organically first before putting any advertising spend behind your posts.
5 SMEs who are killing it on social media
Okay, now we’ve got the why it’s important out of the way, it’s time to delve into a few real examples of how some businesses use social media to their advantage. Hopefully, these will spark up some creative thinking and ideas of how you can build your own following and engage with your audience to grow your own business.
1. Sugar And Sloth
Sugar and Sloth provide cute, supportive, and humorous art and stationary– and creator Anita Perry has done a magnificent job creating a community around it on Instagram.
This includes hosting live events on the platform, called ‘Bestie Tea Parties’, where she talks with and interacts with the community. Going one step further, though, Sugar and Sloth also have created a ‘Happy Text’ system, where audiences can sign up for free SMS messages that will randomly text supportive statements such as ‘You deserve kindness today, Anita (Sugar and Sloth) x’.
These texts aren’t selling anything to the audience but making them feel supported and part of the community. It’s about building trust and strengthening relationships, fostering greater loyalty, and continued spending with the brand.
This is a great lesson in learning who your audience is and connecting with them on a personal level that works for them. Having an SMS list of nice statements works perfectly in the context of a supportive brand, but not for all businesses. So, leverage what you have and what works for your business to create relationships with your audience.
Popflex is an activewear brand that has managed to gain success on TikTok – without blindly following awkward dances.
What’s clever about POPFLEX is that they leveraged an already existing fanbase that the creator, Cassey Ho, has built under the name @blogilates. Fans of Cassey’s will be able to watch her videos, which feature the activewear, and cross-link over to POPFLEX. Once consumers are on the POPFLEX channel, they get to see the behind-the-scenes inspiration behind the outfits and the story of how they were made.
It’s a great example of storytelling – and one that’s gained them just over 140k followers on the platform.
In an interview with Hubspot, social media lead Lexi King said: “You have to find what brings your audience in, weeding through what works and what doesn’t. The only way to figure that out is by posting and by not being afraid to test new things — new creators, posting at different times, new angles, trends versus storytelling, etc.”
That’s advice we can get behind.
3. Irish Craft Cocktails
Irish Craft Cocktails is a small Irish business selling premium bottled cocktails, set up by a group of bartenders who found themselves out of work during the pandemic.
In a short space of time, they’ve managed to generate nearly 11k followers on Instagram, through the use of incredibly sharp visuals. Every post they do is stunning – with designed photos that not only look good individually but work with the photos next to them to create a clear visual effect when you go on the pages. During the Christmas season, there are shades of Red and Green to evoke a festive spirit.
This is a good example that you don’t need to be a huge brand to have that ‘premium’ look – and that some great visuals can go a really long way.
4. Bubbas Meltys
Bubbas Meltys creates ‘spooky’ wax melts and has gained nearly 50k followers on Instagram by posting short videos of the product in action nearly every day. What makes the brand stand out is that although the visuals display the product front and centre, the voiceover of the videos often reads amusing stories, responds to comments, or interacts with the audience.
This is a great way of providing fresh and new content that will keep the brand at the centre – without having to exhaust yourself with strong sales messages.
She even uses these videos to read out and respond to negative comments, such as ‘your videos are so pointless’. It’s a great way to turn bad comments into new content, as well as encourage those loyal to the brand to ‘stick up’ for them by commenting their support on the post.
As a nice bonus, they always start the video by reading comments with their name, as if reading a letter to themselves. So even if users are just watching for a few seconds, that name is going to stick with them. It’s a great recollection tactic that works naturally in this format.
We couldn’t look at social media strategy without including at least one B2B brand on here. When it comes to B2B, some people think that social media is limited to plain, informative, and, let’s face it, dull posts on LinkedIn.
But it doesn’t have to be – and Ceros are a great example of letting the more creative side show on social. Their Instagram is filled with interactive images and showcases of what’s possible using their interactive content platform – as well as tips and ideas behind what other leading brands are doing. For example, they took the colour pallet used during a Savage x Fenty show on one of their posts, and then used it to create a piece of art.
It’s a great example of showcasing both what the platform can do and making sure that your brand stays relevant to current events.
Bonus: Nathan W. Pyle
Nathan W. Pyle isn’t an SME, but a webcomic artist who has managed to harness social media to turn into a #1 NYT bestseller, so he’s definitely worth learning from as a little bonus list.
Using Twitter as his main platform, Nathan doesn’t just post the webcomics he created – but also is excellent at engaging his audience through polls and ‘emoji games’. This is where he hides various emojis in a picture, and the audience will have to find them, like in this example.
When using polls, Nathan ensures that each one is in his unique voice and uses the same type of humour in his webcomics. The polls themselves are also often hypothetical based, getting users to imagine ridiculous or nonsensical scenarios, like this example during the World Cup.
It’s a great example of finding a voice for your business and being able to creatively apply it to your social media, as well as finding out-of-the-box solutions on using existing tools to engage your audience. In addition, Nathan also uses successful tweets on Instagram by screenshotting and uploading them as pictures, allowing him to reach audiences that aren’t on that platform – permitting for relatively easy cross-platform success.
Find the strategy that works for you
Looking at how others are positioning themselves and using the tools available is great for inspiration – but just take what they do with a pinch of salt. Just because a strategy works for them doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to succeed on social.
The key is to find something that works for your brand and your product. And most importantly, connects with your audience. This can take time to figure out – so don’t be afraid of testing new ideas and plans to see if they work.
In the meantime, you can find all the other tips, news, and advice you need to grow your business here at Business4Beginners.