3 Ways Small Businesses Can Grow Their Digital Marketing Strategy

Moderator: Jeanette Mulvey, Managing Editor at CO—, United States Chamber of Commerce,
Barbara Thau, Senior Features Editor, CO– by the United States Chamber of Commerce

Featured guests: Gaby Bedford, Founder, Packs Light,
Kevin Hubbard, Co-Founder, Rhoback Activewear,
Evan Horowitz, Co-founder and CEO, Movers+Shakers,
Thall Griffin, CEO and Co-Founder, Pura Vida Bracelets

Digital marketing is an essential tool for any small business looking to build brand awareness, find new customers, and grow a loyal following. However, the thought of mastering social media, online video, email, and other platforms can be daunting for small business owners who are also focused on running a business.

In this episode of CO– by Start from the United States Chamber of Commerce. To run. Growing up. series, successful business leaders shared how small businesses can reach their customers with the right digital marketing strategies.

Partner with influencers to grow your audience

Influencer marketing is a great way to partner with popular internet personalities on social media while exposing your brand to their audience. Influencers have a range of loyal and niche followers ranging from thousands to millions who trust them and their recommendations. Small businesses may think working with an influencer is out of reach, as many may be celebrities with endless followings. However, the most successful partnerships are about working with the right influencer for your brand.

“You don’t have to be famous to be an influencer and you don’t have to work with someone who has hundreds of thousands of followers to see very tangible results from this partnership,” Gabby said. Beckford, travel influencer and founder of Packs Light.

Beckford said that when she started with just a few thousand followers, she had a close relationship with many of them and was able to make successful personal recommendations about her brand partnerships.

“You’ll first want to understand the KPIs you’re looking to achieve from the partnership to decide what’s best for you, but…don’t cut the little guys, they’re also a lot of value,” added Beckford.

Use both organic and paid social media posts

There are different schools of thought on using social media to market a business. Some entrepreneurs believe the best results are achieved through organic social media posts, while others believe the way to gain exposure is to buy paid ads on the platform. Evan Horowitz, co-founder and CEO of Movers+Shakers, said a publishing strategy is more nuanced and entrepreneurs should use both to grow their audience.

“Organic is always on the beat, and then you lean in with well-performing paid advertising posts that have continued paid support,” Horowitz said. “I don’t see it as an ‘either, either’ [situation] – it’s probably both.

When companies implement an organic social media campaign, Horowitz said they don’t need to post all the time, which could ultimately backfire.

“For most platforms, three times a week is a great goal to achieve,” he explained.

Don’t be afraid to pivot your digital marketing strategy

When Griffin Thall, CEO and co-founder of Pura Vida Bracelets, launched his company in 2010, the digital marketing landscape was different. As a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand, his business relied heavily on Facebook and later Instagram ads for its marketing efforts. When asked what small businesses can do to succeed in the digital marketing space, Thall brought up her own experience of having many eggs in one basket.

“Now we’re really trying to learn from other channels and understand podcasts, TikTok, and go deeper into email and texting,” Thall said.

By investing in more than one space, small businesses have the ability to pivot when a digital marketing strategy is no longer yielding desired results.

“Having an acquisition channel is the most important thing,” Thall said. “And when it’s easy, it’s easy, but when it gets harder, you don’t really have the solution for the same strategy. [Our] strategy has changed over the past 10 years, and we have always been able to pivot well.

William L. Hart