July 27, 2016

Cross Promoting On Social Media To Build Your Customer Base

content marketing for small businessThe idea of cross promotion is not a new one in the marketing sphere – the idea of two or more companies working together to promote both their businesses with the hope that both experience an increase in sales as a result.  In fact, this may be a tactic that you’ve even used from time to time if you’ve, for example, highlighted the local farmers’ market vendor you purchase your blueberries for your blueberry scones from or if you’ve worked with several other small businesses at a trade show to create (and jointly pay for) an ad in the trade show brochure.  

But what about applying this same idea to social media?  For whatever reason, businesses big and small seem to want to keep their social media channels to themselves but, done properly, cross promotion on these channels could really have a big impact.

The idea is that by working with other small businesses you can promote one another on your respective social media channels and in return each of you gets an already curated group of followers to learn about your business.  The key to making this successful is to look for businesses that serve similar audience groups to yours which is why understanding your customers is so important.

Before you start shaking your head and say that no other food business would want to showcase your company on their Facebook page I would remind you that

1) If you use their products as ingredients in your items then they may be open to cross promoting,

2) If they produce a complimentary product to what you make (i.e. – let’s say they make a mango chutney that goes great with the dal lentils you dish up at festivals) they may be open to the idea,

and – perhaps most importantly

3) You don’t just need to focus on food businesses!  Think about other local businesses that may be complimentary to yours and whose audience would benefit from knowing about your business and vice versa.  For example, if you’re a vegan ice cream shop then maybe you want to reach out to the local ‘parent + tot’ yoga studio (based on the somewhat stereotypical notion that those who practice yoga may have a higher percentage of vegan customers than other types of business).

Some ideas for cross promotion could include:

  1. Create a social media post in which you mention (and tag) your partner company in regards to something the two of you are working on together.  Example: “Fresh blueberries from @blueberryfarms being delivered – next stop, our blue ribbon blueberry scones!” (with an accompanying picture).  Or, create a Instagram video that shows you baking the scones.
  2. Create a social media post in which you mention (and tag) your partner company for something that may be of interest to your audience even if it doesn’t relate to your company.  Example: “@Parent+TotYoga is holding a free yoga in the park session on 8/12.  Check out their Facebook page for more info and to sign up.”
  3. Share content that your partners have posted on their social media sites that is relevant to your audience.
  4. Create content together with your partner businesses that you each post on your social media channels.  For example: create a Snapchat story that shows pictures of the blueberries from the bush to the scone.

Have you partnered with other small businesses to cross promote on social media?  I’d love to hear your ideas and hear how it worked (or didn’t work) for you.

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