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How to craft compelling social media content for SMEs?

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape, mastering the art of social media utilization is no longer just an option but a necessity for those striving to thrive in the modern market.

This introduction sets the stage to unlock the secrets of effective social media usage, delving into strategies that captivate your audience and cultivate enduring connections that propel growth and accomplishment.

Whether you’re a seasoned social media marketer or a newcomer to the digital realm, our experts will help you harness social media’s full potential to drive unparalleled customer engagement and elevate your brand’s influence in this week’s edition of Let’s Talk.

Let’s Talk.

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Shaun Broughton, Managing Director APAC at Shopify

Shaun Broughton, Managing Director, APAC and Japan, Shopify
Shaun Broughton, Managing Director APAC at Shopify

“Consumer behaviours are changing and small businesses need to understand how to stay connected with their target audience. Shopify’s recent Australian Retail Report 2023 revealed that 1 in 10 of surveyed Aussie consumers say they have bought from a different brand due to an impulse buy after seeing it on social media, with younger generations the most likely to, compared to Baby Boomers.

“It’s clear that there’s an opportunity for brands to engage with younger generations on social media. In fact, 31% of surveyed small business decision-makers say their organisations are investing in social commerce. But how can brands ensure they meet their audiences in the most impactful channels?

“In Australia, social media usage is playing an increasingly important role in driving purchasing decisions, so businesses should work to understand where their particular customers are. For example, close to half of all consumers said they discovered new products on Facebook, but when segmenting the results into consumer personas some ranked YouTube as the top source of brand discovery, while others ranked Instagram or TikTok. Understanding each consumer type and what drives each persona’s purchasing decisions is crucial to give brands the edge when it comes to investing in social media strategies that appeal to their respective core target audiences.”

Emma Lo Russo, Co-founder and CEO of Digivizer

Emma Lo Russo
Emma Lo Russo, Co-founder and CEO of Digivizer

“Social media is so powerful because, by pulling the right digital marketing levers in the right sequence, you can engage with your audience, accelerate that connection, and expand your reach by working with your audience – much better than talking at your audience.

“The levers include the Audience Lever, the Platform Lever, the Creative Lever, the Call to Action Lever (CTA), and the Nurture Lever.

“As with all levers, when plugged into a dashboard, you can control the journey. You can understand where your target audience is, what they’re talking about, what they think of your company or brand, and where they are on the path to purchase.

“Deploy content on different platforms to test and learn which deliver the best. Use data to guide your decisions about where to focus effort. That in turn brings focus to making your creative assets work better, and how your CTAs perform.

“Ultimately, expanding reach is about nurturing relationships to build a connection with your audience. Whatever the objectives, using these levers will allow social media to deliver real value to any audience engagement.”

Sharon Melamed, Managing Director at Matchboard

Sharon Melamed
Sharon Melamed, Managing Director at Matchboard

“For most B2B companies, LinkedIn continues to perform as the channel of choice to engage customers and expand reach. You can take an organic (“free”) and/or paid advertising approach. And of course you need a personal profile and a page for your business. Either way, the key is to amass a large number of RELEVANT followers who will engage with your posts – buying followers is not an option!

“When I launched my business (Matchboard) in 2012, I had 2,000 followers and asked my network for a favour – to share my startup with their networks. Within hours, I had my first 3 clients. This just shows the power of LinkedIn if you leverage it. Now I have 22,000 followers and recently did a study of revenue generated through LinkedIn (we closely track where our business comes from): it equated to more than $500/hour based on spending 30 minutes a day posting and engaging with others’ posts!

“LinkedIn Ads is also great, as you can specify in a very granular way your target audience – although it’s not cheap. I recommend experimenting with numerous ad types before drawing conclusions.”

Natalie Mendes, Head of Marketing APAC at IDVerse

Natalie Mendes
Natalie Mendes, Head of Marketing APAC at IDVerse

“It’s worth spending a little time creating something new that you think will resonate with your social media audience, such as entertaining and informative videos using AI animation. At IDVerse, we are using cutting edge AI technology in our digital ID verification solution, and have recently introduced generative AI on our LinkedIn page to promote a panel at an industry conference. It featured an animation of each panelist talking about their specialist topics and was well received by our followers.

“The video features an avatar or virtual presenter, otherwise known as a “digital twin” of the real person based on their digital photo. This innovative feature of the technology really makes the video stand out from the crowd. Perhaps the most impressive part of this generative AI technology is that businesses of all sizes can harness it to create content without needing knowledge of video production and expensive equipment. Why not give it a go?”

Paul Hadida, General Manager APAC at SevenRooms

Paul Hadida, General Manager APAC at SevenRooms

“Australia is home to 21.3 million social media users. Four in five (81%) of us use it to communicate with friends and family, run businesses or interact with our favourite brands. Social media, therefore, can be a powerful tool, particularly in Australia’s hospitality industry. SevenRooms Direct Discovery and Booking Behaviour report sought to understand how Australians interact with restaurants, finding that 21% use Facebook, 18% use Instagram and 8% use TikTok to discover venues. There are clearly big gains to be had, especially with one in 10 Aussies categorising themselves as ‘Influencer Diners’; those who dine out frequently using social media to source venues and post about their experience.

“Clearly, by leveraging social media marketing, hospitality operators can appeal to consumers today. To be successful, venues must post high-quality content showcasing the menu and what diners can expect, promote exclusive events or promotions and re-post user-generated content to show their popularity. Venues should also link back to their direct booking or ordering page, where they can automatically facilitate reservations and collect the approved guest data that helps them offer personalised experiences that drive revenue and loyalty. Ultimately, businesses that aren’t leveraging social media today will miss out to those who are.”

Annette Densham, Creative Director at The Audacious Agency

Annette Densham
Annette Densham, Creative Director at The Audacious Agency

“The key to making social media work for reaching more people is to be of service. Groups are a brilliant way to connect, share information and build your profile by actively engaging in these spaces. While many use groups to ask people to pick the best logo for their business, post your latest sale, or post cute memes, they can be a powerful tool to showcase your expertise and knowledge by sharing information that helps others. This approach is firmly based in tell, don’t sell. People are tired of being pitched at, so if you can show up in these communities sharing insights and useful tips for others in business, you are adding value. Think of social media as dropping breadcrumbs – every time you add value to someone else’s business, you are making an impression in their subconscious, building know, like and trust, so when they are ready to buy, they already feel connected to you.

“All those blogs you have written can be repurposed into social media content…adding to your breadcrumb count.  It’s important to keep showing up, sharing stories, insights and ideas across all your channels. Every time you post or share something with your audience, you are building a relationship with them, even if you have no idea of the impact you are making. It all comes down to consistency and persistence. No one build a brand overnight; it takes time and effort.”

Jamie Hoey, Country Manager AU at Wunderkind

Jamie Hoey
Jamie Hoey, Country Manager AU at Wunderkind

“The most successful brands aren’t the ones that just use social media to push products, they’re the ones that utilise social platforms as just that, platforms for social engagement. Social media presents an opportunity to share your brand values, personality, and what makes it unique.

“First things first, understand your brand personality and how this can be communicated through your social media presence. This will guide how you look, feel and act, wherever you show up. For example, Wunderkind is all about unleashing the extraordinary power of human individuality. This idea sits at the heart of everything we do.

“Social media is also able to help brands collect ‘zero-party data’, which is information that is proactively shared with a brand by the customer. This could be comments or direct messages and then utilising this information to align yourself more with your customers and their values. When trying to engage authentically with customers it’s not just about brand values but customer values as well.

“Regardless of the size of your organisation, finding and building on your brand voice and connecting this to stories, values and experiences is where the value of social media is truly unlocked. In turn, you can promote stronger awareness, engagement and advocacy from your audience.”

Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

Elise Balsillie
Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

“Social media is one of the most effective channels for a small business to consider driving engagement with customers and build brand awareness. But getting the formula right is the key to long-term customer loyalty and growth.

“Building engagement requires understanding your audience and the types of content they interact with, as well finding the right time of day to post.

“If they’re following your business, chances are they’re interested in something that you’re doing. Offering advice, tips and tricks, how-to guides and maintenance best practice will make your content engaging, while sticking with what you do best – talking about your business.

“Finding the right time to post can be trickier, however, technology can really help. Finding a platform that can help you see when your users are engaging with your posts – rather than just how many – will help you edge out your competitors as people find your content at the right place and at the right time.

“Lastly, if you can plan out your content schedule it’ll save you heaps of time and help you organise yourself better. You’ll be passively engaging customers on social media, elevating your brand presence all while you work on your business.”

Alex Frolov, CEO and Co-Founder of HypeAuditor

Alex Frolov
Alex Frolov, CEO and Co-Founder of HypeAuditor

“Businesses are increasingly recognising the potential of influencer marketing, especially as they seek to cut costs amidst the deepening current economic downturn. It’s becoming apparent that influencer marketing presents a unique opportunity for businesses to connect with, attract their ideal consumers as well as reach new audiences for a fraction of the usual advertising price tag.

“When brands and influencers collaborate, they create a more authentic connection with their target audience, which generates more engagement and a higher return on investment for marketing campaigns. In fact, according to a study by Influencer Marketing Hub, content from influencers earns more than 8 times the engagement rate of content shared directly from companies and influencer marketing generates a return on investment 11 times higher than traditional methods.

“Australia’s 20.5 million social media users coupled with the growing ecommerce market create the perfect opportunity for social media companies to roll out new products and tools, such as Instagram Shops to capitalise on this trend. As a result, brands are increasingly using social media as a sales engine and influencers will continue to play a key role in pushing products more aggressively.”

Daniel Stoten, Executive Chairman of Localsearch

Daniel Stoten
Daniel Stoten, Executive Chairman of Localsearch

“At Localsearch, we always encourage businesses to have a presence across multiple social media platforms in order to reach a diverse audience. By not putting all your eggs in one basket, you can interact with both existing and potential customers.

“Use your reach across Threads, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to your advantage, knowing each has an inherently different set of audiences. The content you create should be tailored per platform to ensure it resonates with each unique audience. For example, your TikTok content might be more playful and casual, whereas your Instagram posts might be a bit more polished and deliberate.

“You can also leverage the power of advertising with a relatively small budget and achieve substantial results. See what options your Meta ad suite offers for Facebook and Instagram, as they can even target people local to your business.”

Esther Lam, Content and Social Strategist, SBM Communications

Esther Lam
Esther Lam, Content and Social Strategist, SBM Communications

“With the expanding number of platforms, social media is an excellent way for businesses to engage with their customers. To do it effectively, you should create informative, fun and thought-provoking content. Whether it’s a photo, video or a GIF – make sure it’s relevant to your audience and inspires them to engage.

“You’ll need to post at least three times a week – with the volume of content being published, posting irregularly means your audience will miss your content among everyone else’s posts. But don’t stop there, you need to engage with your audience!

“Running contests, giveaways or live events on your chosen platforms is a great way to generate excitement, engagement and expand your reach audience. You can also use social media to run influencer campaigns with the right influencers who can reach multiple other audience streams.

“Finally, track everything! Regular analytics reporting on your campaigns will help you track progress and help improve your overall marketing and business strategy.”

Allegra Young, Account Manager at BBS Communications Group

Allegra Young
Allegra Young, Account Manager at BBS Communications Group

“In an attention economy with numerous online distractions, how do you attract, hold and increase views on your social platforms?

“Regularly re-evaluating who your target audiences are and why you want to reach them is essential. While responses may change over time, this will ensure your social strategy stays fresh, particularly as the landscape evolves. Be sure to address:

  • What makes your audiences tick – what do they want to see and hear?
  • Where will you talk to them – what is their preferred platform?
  • When do they want to engage – what is the optimum posting time?

“Once you’ve nailed the basics you should have an engaged customer base – we’re talking quality over quantity – so it’s time to expand your reach.

“Giving your audience more of what they love is key, since algorithms tend to prioritise high- engagement content. Ensure any trend-based content is delivered quickly and with relevance.

“Making content findable using hashtags and location features helps, as does using collaboration features (like Instagram Collab posts) as part of cross-promotional opportunities.

“Remember the key to a successful social media strategy is being agile, regularly analysing your engagement and tweaking content to meet your audience where they’re currently at.”

Shaun Motu, Director of Digital Advertising at CampaignLab

Shaun Motu
Shaun Motu, Director of Digital Advertising at CampaignLab

“Social media is a powerful tool to reach & engage customers online. Consider adopting these strategies for your brand to stand out from competitors, and turn your feed from dire to 🔥🔥:

  1. Set the tone – What you say and how you say it are important. Understand how you want show up on socials and stay true to that.
  2. Horses for courses – Depending on the platforms you use, test an array of text, imagery & video to see which works best for your brand and make your posts memorable.
  3. Build community – Respond to interactions from your followers. Building relationships & encouraging conversation. Ask questions & seek feedback to help build a loyal community & foster a sense of connection.
  4. Strength in numbers – whether it’s forging influencer collaborations or sourcing and sharing user generated content – teamwork makes the dreamwork.
  5. Join the conversation –  Content calendars are great but jumping on the latest trends with topical content is going to resonate more with audiences.
  6. Test & learn – Regularly assess social performances & identify what works best for your brand; optimising your strategy for a strong approach.

“Remember, consistency is key to ensure success across social media. Post fresh content, build community & adapt your strategy accordingly.”

Dhanush Ganglani, Managing Director at Eden Exchange

Dhanush Ganglani, Managing Director, Eden Exchange
Dhanush Ganglani, Managing Director at Eden Exchange

“Social media is a powerful tool for businesses when used effectively. Research shows that 78 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy from a company they had a positive experience with on social media. Additionally, more than half (55%) discover new brands through social media rather than traditional advertising.

“To engage customers and expand your reach, establish a consistent brand presence across social media platforms. Create and share targeted, engaging content to stand out in the crowded social media landscape. Consider partnering with influencers and industry experts to reach a larger audience and enhance your brand’s credibility.

“Our dynamic social media marketing campaigns have proven to be highly effective in generating traction and attracting significant interest in our clients’ businesses for sale. Through strategic planning and execution, we leverage the power of social media platforms to showcase the unique value propositions of our clients’ businesses, reaching a wide audience of potential buyers.”

Simran Kaur, Founder and CEO, Pounce Agency

Simran Kaur
Simran Kaur, Founder and CEO, Pounce Agency

“Social media channels offer infinite opportunities for businesses to connect with customers. But where to start? First, you need to clearly define what you want to achieve.

“Social media is a powerful tool when you have clear goals that align with social medias’ strengths. These include:

  • Building brand presence.
  • Engaging customers with interactive posts, contests, and giveaways.
  • Reach specific customer groups with targeted advertising based on demographics and other analytics.
  • Prompt and responsive customer support. Get your subject experts to help customers resolve issues quickly.
  • Drive impact with your content marketing. Social channels provide a direct line of sight to your customers.
  • Influencer partnerships provide an opportunity to increase brand visibility and credibility among their followers.
  • Encouraging user-generated content which can be shared by customers to expand reach and build your community.
  • Data-driven insights and analytics to help you refine marketing strategies to match customer behavior, preferences, and trends.

“Social media is a super-highway to customers, however, these roads are subject to change – for example the latest update to the Linkedin algorithm and Tweet views. We recommend leveraging social media’s strengths, but keep a mix of marketing channels that offer different strengths to meet business, growth and communication goals.”

Briony Kennedy, Founder and CEO of Adorn Cosmetics

Briony Kennedy
Briony Kennedy, Founder and CEO of Adorn Cosmetics

“In our experience, utilising Facebook as a business platform well before Facebook had established itself in this area was a key factor in our success. At first it mostly displayed images, but then quickly evolved into producing instructional and user-generated content to build both confidence and trust. We understood that our customer base felt confronted while trialling new beauty products, especially in public so we built an engaged private Facebook community off the back of this insight rather than gaining ‘followers’.

“Customers feel at ease with like-minded people who have similar questions or concerns about beauty and can communicate directly myself as founder, where I demonstrated makeup and skincare advice during Facebook ‘Lives’. Taking a similar approach to new platforms rather than waiting for every other brand to jump on board can give you the edge that we experienced, which propelled our success. I recommend brands look at new platforms, like Threads, and see what is possible when it comes to future engagement.”

Adam Moore, Social Media Specialist at The Big Smoke Media Group

Adam Moore
Adam Moore, Social Media Specialist at The Big Smoke Media Group

“Harnessing the power of social media is critical to command attention, engage your audience and boost your brand presence. Some of the key things I keep in mind when working on campaigns are:

  • Nail the goals. Are you increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, or generating new leads? Without a mission, you can’t have a strategy.
  • Pick the right platform. Where are your people? Find out where your audience is and channel your energy- and investment if you’re engaging paid ads – where it counts.
  • Talk the talk, it’s not a one-way street. Reply to comments, tackle questions, and spark conversations. Show your audience you value their voice, their opinions and their connection.
  • Watch your competitors. Get some inspiration, and uncover what works and what doesn’t. Then mix it up in a unique way that works for your audience and brand.
  • Adjust and strengthen your strategy. What worked yesterday may not work today – so shake it up, regularly. Try new tactics, boost what works, and ditch what misses the mark to innovate your strategy.

“Social media is a fickle beast, so keeping your finger on the pulse, and staying agile will keep you current and relevant.”

Madelene Ragno, Founder of MADE Marketing

Madelene Ragno
Madelene Ragno, Founder of MADE Marketing

“It’s not easy to cut through the noise, but social media is a powerful tool for businesses to foster meaningful connections and extend their influence.

“Engage your customers and new audiences by:

  • SEO: Optimise your social media profiles and content for search engines. You’ll make it easier for your target audience to discover you.
  • Influencer collaborations: Partner with influencers or industry experts who align with your brand values. This builds strong social proof and increases brand visibility.
  • User-Generated or Creator-Generated Content: Encourage your followers or creators to create and share content related to your brand. Run contests or challenges that prompt users to share their experiences.
  • Go Live: Provide valuable insights, tutorials, or behind-the-scenes access. This allows for real-time engagement, Q&A sessions, building a stronger connection.
  • Giveaways: Run contests that require participants to engage with your social media content. This increases engagement, widens your reach and helps build excitement.
  • Storytelling content: Utilise Instagram Stories or TikToks for immersive experiences. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses, product demonstrations, or provide valuable insights.
  • Brand Collaborations: Identify non-competing brands with a similar target audience and collaborate on joint social media campaigns. This cross-promotion can help you tap into each other’s follower bases and increase brand exposure.”

Thomas Fu, Executive Director at Motor Culture Australia

Thomas Fu
Thomas Fu, Executive Director at Motor Culture Australia

“Social media offers valuable opportunities for customer engagement and a way for businesses to expand their reach. By leveraging platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, business owners can effectively connect with their audience and build a genuine connection with customers. Our approach involves authentically portraying our brand, which enables us to showcase the incredible and unique cars we build, the community we bring together and the essence of our team through various content formats, like Instagram stories, TikTok videos and photos.

“Maintaining high-quality content not only reflects our brand but also demonstrates the dedication we commit to everything we do. Social media serves as a powerful platform for showcasing events and the experiences a business offers. We also utilize social media to highlight our partnerships with local businesses, thereby enhancing our brand’s credibility.

“One of the major benefits of social media is its ability to facilitate real-time feedback from your audience, enabling them to feel involved and valued. Moreover, it provides a convenient way of personally interacting with your customers through messages, comments, and live sessions. By effectively utilizing social media, a business can better engage with its customers, expand its reach, and foster a sense of community.”

Sarah Russo, Owner and Founder, The Australian Content Coach

Sarah Russo
Sarah Russo, Owner and Founder, The Australian Content Coach

“Where I find businesses fall short on social media is being proactive in networking, otherwise known as an engagement strategy. Don’t wait for people to find you. Go to them.

“Facebook Groups are a goldmine of opportunity. Find groups for your niche or target audience, and provide helpful solutions to people asking questions. Seek out posts by your industry colleagues and target audience, and provide value in a comment or by reshaping the post. Adding value is the key. Don’t just throw on an emoji or a ‘great post’ response.

“This is something all businesses can do too. If you own a trades, hospitality or location-based services business, search for people posting in the suburbs you service and get engaged. You’d be surprised how much it sticks in their mind. For our product-lead businesses, look for mums, people over the age of 50, whoever it is in your target audience.

“And it doesn’t take that much time. Pencil in 10 minutes to have a coffee and get searching on your phone. It’s super easy and can increase your leads or sales really quickly.”

Ben Lucas, Director and Co-Founder of Flow Athletic

Ben Lucas
Ben Lucas, Director and Co-Founder of Flow Athletic

“I am in the fitness industry, and social media is commonly used to attract people to various products and weight loss programs. However aside from the ab shots, there are other ways that you can use social media to engage your customers and expand your reach.

“For starters, Facebook and Instagram marketing/ advertising is a brilliant tool for reaching your target audience. If we set out an ad for an offer or special event, we can target our ad so precisely, that it will go to the exact people that we want to target.

“We also love creating groups and chats for our various groups to get in touch with the right people for the right activity, and to keep people engaged. For example, we have a running group who meet twice a week, and we all regularly sign up to events together, so a group chat makes sense.

“We also post our trainers, community and members (with permission) and often in groups so that people who are curious about what we do, can get an idea of the community before they walk in the door. I think it is a good way of sharing what you are about, which makes people feel more comfortable.”

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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