The last couple of years has taken all businesses on one heck of a ride. From being plunged into lockdown with a global pandemic, to the current economic uncertainty, with prices rising and competition fierce.
Every small business out there deserves a huge round of applause for persevering and, in my experience from what I’ve seen on various social media groups, remaining optimistic with a ‘never give up’ attitude.
Over the past couple of years, we have all seen a shift in working from home and lots of new small businesses have sprung up. Some of them from just having more time to work on their hobby…with the realisation it could become more than that.
So, as we start to make our way through 2022, what are the marketing trends going to be this year, that as a small business, you should be aware of?
Online business service
First, the obvious one! Online search traffic has soared since lockdown, with more people than ever shopping online. More people are supporting small businesses, and like the fact they can order gifts for themselves and their loved ones at a very reasonable price, from someone who gives a bespoke, personal service. Reviews I’ve seen from the small businesses I follow all speak of excellent customer service; how the business owner has gone above and beyond to help their customers. This is the kind of service that you don’t get from some of the bigger stores when you order online…it’s more, ‘get your order in and get on with it.’ But a small business will take the time to wrap your order personally, will include a personal note, and will take the time to message you. This all adds to that all important, customer experience; the kind of experience that makes them trust you and come back for more.
Social Media and Instagram
This might seem like another obvious one, but social media is still the best way for you to get your products or services out to your target market.
Facebook is still the leader and continues to be the best platform for small business marketing.
According to https://www.oberlo.ca/blog/facebook-statistics, Facebook has 2.8 billion monthly active users (from 2021 figures). It also has 1.84 billion users that are visiting Facebook daily, using one of Facebook’s core products – Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. This is quite mind-blowing!
But Instagram is also part of those figures, and whilst Facebook remains the most popular, Instagram is starting to creep up in terms of popularity. According to figures published by theverge.com, fewer young people use Facebook. From 2019-2021, the percentage of teenagers on Facebook fell by 13% and Facebook itself, is projecting that will drop to 45% by 2023. So, Facebook’s average user is getting older.
This is where Instagram comes in. Instagram is experiencing a steady growth and over 70% of their users are under the age of 35. So, what does that mean for you as a small business?
You are missing a trick if your business is not on Instagram as this trend is set to continue into 2022.
OK, I hear you say, ‘but how can I market my business on Instagram?’ I know from experience how daunting it can be to start a new social media channel and know how to make it successful. Overall, the same principles apply, but there are some things you can do to help your business more.
Reputation Marketing is a strategy to use your customer reviews to promote the reputation of your business in creative ways.
Storytelling is a big part of this, sharing stories of the work you’ve done alongside the reviews you get for a particular item. You can share screenshots of reviews or put images of your products with the review as a caption. Reviews are also good for your brand awareness and social proof.
Social proof is becoming a must – it is estimated that 80% of users go to Instagram for help in making decisions on what they buy from local businesses.
Instagram SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Is there even such a thing? Previously Instagram only allowed users to search for content by hashtags, location tags, usernames, and profile names. In late 2020, Instagram put in place Instagram keyword searching. You can take advantage of this in three ways:
- You can search for your target audience or customers. It’s great for finding new people to interact with, start conversations, and build relationships with. This does mean you need to know your audience and know what kind of interests they have outside of your brand, so you know what keywords and phrases to search for.
- It also helps your ideal customer find you. If you use specific keywords in your captions, keywords that you know your customers will search for, it makes it easier for them to find you.
- It’s also great for conducting market research or looking at your competitors. With this search tool, you can look up your competitor’s keywords. You’ll also be able to see if your customers speak about any pain points, which you can help solve with your products or services.
For example, say you are an artist – Sarah Art. Before this came into play, your post would only appear in an Instagram search if you and your customer searched #sarahart, which to be honest, people didn’t really do. Now you and your customers can just search whatever you want, without using a hashtag, and a list of matches will come up.
Google My Business
2022 is the year to get onto Google My Business…. or Google Business Profile as it’s now called. If you are not taking advantage of this free service, you are really missing a trick.
It is owned by Google’s platform and promotes businesses across Google Search and Google Maps. When you search for a local business, you’ll always be pointed to local Google Business Profiles.
The benefits of this are obvious as your business will be more easily found locally. And if you ask your customers to put their reviews on your Google Business Profile, your Google reviews will be online – they won’t be without a Google Business Profile.
According to safaridigital.com ‘near me’ mobile searches increased by 136% in 2021, where people are trying to find local products or businesses. And over 50% of all ‘near me’ searches will result in an offline store visit.
Previously, users had to type in a postcode or town to search for a local business. But today, local SEO Statistics 2022 reveal that the addition of two words can help users find their desired local service.
If you’re not yet on this platform, I wrote a blog post about it in 2021… The Benefits of using Google My Business
Local Service Ads by Google
Local Service Ads allow you to interact with users who search for the services you offer on Google. Your ads will be shown to customers in your location. Your ad will highlight the most important information for customers to choose your business, such as services offered, service area, hours and reviews.
You only pay if potential customers contact you directly from your ad.
I must admit I haven’t used this service yet, but you can get more information here.
- Don’t forget to continue using Facebook, but also get yourself on Instagram if you haven’t already done so
- Use reputation marketing and Instagram reviews to engage with your current followers and reach new customers
- Strategically caption your Instagram posts, as Instagram SEO is set to become huge in 2022
- Claim and verify your Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business), so you can be found locally more easily
- Look into Local Services Ads by Google and see if your business qualifies. They are inexpensive and enable small businesses to capture more leads.
If you find anything in this article a big daunting, please feel free to contact me. I offer Marketing Coaching, along with a free discovery call, so will be very happy to speak to you.