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15 Businesses With a Great Social Media Presence
In a technology-driven world, it’s hard to stand out on social media sites. Check out which brands are taking over the media with the ultimate social media strategy.
General Electric stays relevant with gorgeous Instagram photos and science tips on Twitter. It launched an ad campaign that increased company recruitment by 800 percent, as reported by Libris.
The rental hosting company Airbnb uses visual media to inspire. By featuring real travelers and hosts, its social media presence communicates the brand’s values.
The multinational campaigns that Coke presents foster creativity and sharing. Its social media strategy consists of engaging content like the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign and a video series with famous YouTubers.
Nike’s ‘Just Do It.’ marketing campaign is one of the most recognized in the world. The company is not afraid to use inspirational public figures to lead campaigns. Nike is known for taking huge risks.
The pizza chain Domino’s has come a long way in the art of social media strategy. Since taking on some negativity, it has upped its game on social media. Creating fun and unique social engagements like ‘tweet-to-order’ and the ability to create an ultimate pizza design has helped it grow.
The soap company Dove is a brand that knows its demographic and centers its strategy around it. Its goal is to help all women realize their beauty potential. The brand does this with inspiring social media that creates a positive atmosphere.
LEGO gives ownership to its fans by letting them be a part of the design process. LEGO lets fans submit their own creations for a chance to become an official set. Social media campaigns like this one create loyal customers.
Streaming music service Pandora is known for its visually stunning social media content. Its biggest focus is creating a cohesive look that is relatable and personal to consumers.
Oreo makes it a mission to continually produce relevant content. The brand has popular tweets and is even on sites like Snapchat and other video sharing sites.
Shoe company Adidas continues to have a large following and influence through Instagram. By sharing visual content like videos and pictures to drive sales, Adidas focuses its social media strategy directly on its products.
GoPro produces exciting videos that feature its versatile products. Its fun videos demonstrate exactly what their customers love: adventure and new experiences.
Wendy’s is known for its engaging Twitter content. The brand has gone viral several times with “roast Tweets” and usually keeps it casual and fun during social interactions. It also manages to be informative, alerting readers to its newest deals and limited-edition sandwiches.
Eggo paired with popular Netflix series “Stranger Things,” creating iconic spoofs and videos. The company encouraged fans to engage by sharing recipes and videos. Integrating its platform with customers’ real-life experiences took its branding to the next level.
Charmin’s bears are possibly the most recognizable brand standard out there. With Twitter marketing campaigns like #TweetFromTheSeat, the brand is able to make the most out of its not-so-glamorous product line.
Starbucks is one of the most popular places to get coffee. Its use of clean, bright visuals will catch your eye. By using methods like stop-motion videos and shareable video clips, the company keeps it simple while making a big impact.
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What Is Nextdoor? A Look at Hyper-Localized Social Media
What is Nextdoor? Well, over a decade after it launched, the social platform is many things. Since its launch in the United States in 2011, Nextdoor has taken off, and now serves more than 10 million users and 285,000 active neighborhoods across 11 countries.
Much like Facebook, the platform is a community board for events, news, photos and more as well as a virtual marketplace for goods and services. Instead of tapping into your social network, however, Nextdoor focuses on connecting you with your neighbors.
So, is Nextdoor safe? How do you use Nextdoor? And is it the right platform for you and your community? Here, we’re taking a look at all of that and more.
What Is Nextdoor?
At its core, Nextdoor connects you with others in your community. Neighbors can use the platform to share community updates, greet newcomers who’ve just moved in, and exchange recommendations, requests, safety alerts and goods. Seriously, people post a huge variety of things, from ads about missing pets to noise complaints.
Additionally, Nextdoor allows public agencies to share important information on its feed, too. When it comes to public safety, health and weather updates, it’s a great way to connect pretty immediately with communities impacted most.
What Is Nextdoor Business?
While it got its start as a means of connecting neighbors, Nextdoor also offers a way for businesses and brands to network with their communities, too. With Nextdoor Business, companies can tap into new markets, attract new customers, increase website traffic and promote sales, discounts and events.
What Is the Nextdoor App?
Though Nextdoor is accessible via any device that has access to an internet browser, you can forgo the Nextdoor website and download the app instead. With apps for both iOS and Android , Nextdoor lets you stay up-to-date and access your community board from anywhere.
Is Nextdoor Owned By Facebook?
No, Facebook doesn’t own Nextdoor. Although it would seem like Meta owns everything these days, from Instagram to WhatsApp , Nextdoor is a publicly traded company that’s raised capital through investors. Currently, Nextdoor’s valuation sits at $4.3 billion.
Is Nextdoor Free?
Yes, Nextdoor is completely free to use, and signing up is easy. Go to the platform’s website to set up an account.
So, How Does Nextdoor Make Money?
Up until 2016, the platform was funded by capital investors . As of 2021, Nextdoor cites three primary sources of earnings: Sponsored Advertisements, Neighborhood Sponsorships and Local Deals. In essence, these are just three different types of paid posts — much like the paid posts you’d encounter on any other social media platform.
The caveat here, though, is that the ads tend to be hyper-localized, much like the platform itself. While some sponsored ads are from businesses with a national reach, others are more locally based. Moreover, real estate agents and service-providing professionals can post listings through the Neighborhood Sponsorships program. All other local businesses can promote their goods and services via Local Deals.
Together, the revenue generated by these ads keep the platform free, and, for now, there are no plans to make Nextdoor a paid platform.
How to Join Nextdoor for Free
For safety reasons, and to verify that you are a resident of the neighborhood you claim to live in, you must use your legal name and physical address when creating an account. Unfortunately, P.O. boxes are not permissible. From there, enter your email and create a password for your Nextdoor account.
To further verify your identity and address, Nextdoor may send a postcard to your address — like an old-school version of an authentication email. However, some users join a Nextdoor neighborhood by receiving an invite from another verified user. If you’re in that boat, simply click the link in the email and enter the code on the invitation to join.
Once you’re all set up with an account, you can add a profile picture and brief bio if you so choose. The platform also lets you note how long you’ve been part of the community or lived in the neighborhood. As is the case with other social media platforms, you can add family members and neighbors as connections.
How to Change Your Neighborhood on Nextdoor
If you’re moving but staying within the same neighborhood, you may just need to confirm your new address with Nextdoor. However, things are a bit different if you’re moving to a different neighborhood. While you can adjust your neighborhood on the platform, that also means you’ll only have access to that new neighborhood.
You will no longer be able to access your old neighborhood or contact your former neighbors via the platform. However, your posts will remain visible in your old neighborhood’s forum, folks in your former location won’t be able to message you or even see your profile. Still, changing your address is pretty simple in terms of process, and you can do so on either Nextdoor’s site or app.
If a neighborhood group does not exist near you, you can request a “ neighborhood boundary ” to create a new neighborhood in the system. Nextdoor will use your address to create a map of your neighborhood. While the platform does take input from users on the boundary line, the support team will review all requests to make sure new neighborhood boundaries don’t impact existing ones. Once approved, you will become the neighborhood leader and can invite others to join.
How to Sell on Nextdoor
Much like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, Nextdoor allows users to access a virtual marketplace of sorts. Listings range from free moving boxes to discounted, well-worn furniture to estate sales to antique items and collectibles to plants to hand-me-downs.
Selling and buying items is pretty easy, too. To do either, click on the “For Sale & Free” tab either on the browser-based site or the Nextdoor app. From there, you can browse listings from other users and sort by category — furniture, pet supplies, clothing and more — or distance. There are other metrics to filter goods with too, but those are generally the most useful.
To sell an item, click “Post a Listing”. You’ll need to add a name to your post, a picture of the item and a short description. Additionally, you can either add a price or mark the item as “free”. In 2020, Nextdoor also launched their Sell for Good product, allowing users to donate to local nonprofits; you can donate the full price to a nonprofit, or a percentage of your total sale. Funds are sent via your personal PayPal after you mark an item with the Sell for Good tag as “sold”.
Generally speaking, Nextdoor just facilitates sales. Users can see your posts and message you about the items on offer. From there, you can negotiate a price, the pick-up/drop-off details and answer any questions.
If an item isn’t selling, Nextdoor will prompt you to discount it (or make it free) after about a week or so. Discounting an item will also give it a boost, allowing more potential buyers to see your listing. Additionally, all listings expire after 30 days, though they can be renewed.
Remember: While Nextdoor buyers and sellers are more vetted than, say, Craigslist posters, it’s still important to be safe and cautious when making any online transactions.
How to Post on Nextdoor
Much like Facebook, Nextdoor lets you make posts, share photos and videos and create polls. First, you’ll select the category your post falls under — Recommendation, Item for Sale, Safety Concern, Lost and Found or General Update.
Then, simply add any text, images or videos you want to the post and publish it to the Nextdoor newsfeed. From there, your neighbors will be able to see the post, comment on it and even leave “tapback” emojis to express how they feel about your post. In your newsfeed, of course, you can interact with others’ posts, too.
Be sure to check out the Groups and Neighbors tabs , too. The Neighbors page helps you find and connect with people in your community or others nearby. You can also search public groups in the Groups section to find people with mutual interests or hobbies. There’s even a Pets tab, which allows you to help find lost pets, find other pups for play dates and more.
How to Unsubscribe From Nextdoor
It’s no secret that Nextdoor sends a lot of emails. If you’ve turned off notifications, you might want to unsubscribe from the deluge, too.
To unsubscribe from within an email you’ve received, click “Unsubscribe” in the email’s footer and then confirm the email type you want to unsubscribe from and hit “Done”. It’s important to note that Nextdoor has a variety of email lists, so this method will only work for the specific type of email you’ve selected.
If you rather unsubscribe a bit more en masse, click on your profile, select “Settings” and then “Notifications”. From there, select the notification type from the menu and toggle your settings as you’d like.
How to Delete Nextdoor Account
If you’d like to leave Nextdoor, you have two options: deactivate your account or delete it.
If you deactivate your account, your profile will be removed from the site, you won’t receive emails and you’ll be able to sign back in and easily reactivate your account in the future. However, deactivating your account means your past posts will remain in the Nextdoor newsfeed, meaning your presence won’t be completely wiped.
To proceed with a deactivation, click your profile, then “Settings”. At the very bottom, you’ll see “Deactivate Your Account” — click it, and then select the reason you’re deactivating your account. Once your request to deactivate has gone through, you’ll receive a confirmation email within the next 24 hours. Try logging back in to see if your request has gone through; if not, reach out to the support team.
If you’d like to delete your account altogether, you’ll need to contact Nextdoor. Deleting your account removes your profile and all of your content from Nextdoor neighborhoods; this action can’t be undone.
Is Nextdoor Safe?
On the surface, Nextdoor has some pros. You can easily connect with your neighbors and local businesses, for starters. It’s a great way to stay informed about happenings in your area and meet new people who share your hobbies and interests — something that’s particularly useful if you’re new to a neighborhood or city.
Since 2018, Nextdoor has helped users find their polling places by providing an interactive Vote Map in partnership with Vote.org. And, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform helped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dispense public health information.
However, there are downsides to the platform, too. For many, these might outweigh the benefits. As is the case with Craigslist, it’s possible that you’ll encounter a scammer who’s offering a fake service or product. For your safety and security, never give out your bank or credit card information to anyone on the app. Always report any scams or negative experiences to Nextdoor Support.
Since it’s a public platform, you’ll likely see posts from people whose opinions differ from yours. That said, you’re likely to see (or engage in) some pretty frustrating, dramatic conversation threads. Although Nextdoor Support deletes spam and posts that go against the platform’s Community Guidelines , it’s easy for bullies and trolls to spew negativity — both in their own posts and in the comments of yours. Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to any social media user, sadly.
A “Fear-Based” Social Media Site
But the issues don’t end there: Nextdoor has been accused of being a fear-based social media site that serves the interests of police, private security and even predatory real estate firms. After all, the hyper-local quality of the site can lead to some very real implications if the information about users is used inappropriately.
Not to mention, conspiracy theories, such as the stolen presidential election of 2020 theory, spread like wildfire on these message boards, leading to more misinformation. And, in some ways, this information might be even more dangerous; people aren’t just hearing these conspiracies from friends and echo chambers on Facebook, but from strangers in their communities.
The Platform Has Enabled Racial Profiling
Aside from cybercrime and the spreading of misinformation, the other huge concern with Nextdoor has been the way the platform has enabled racial profiling. That is, people — generally white people — use the platform to profile people of color — often Black people — and racistly accuse them of crimes or so-called “suspicious activity”.
“Within many neighborhoods, there is a lot of neighborhood watch behavior that escalates into non-POC (people of color) people applauding one another for taking photos of people’s kids stealing candy, [and] writing about a Black person robbing a store in the daytime,” Black, Oakland-based writer Serah Blackstone-Fredericks wrote in an open letter, as reported by Makena Kelly for The Verge . “One thing for certain is that we need change.”
As Kelly notes in the above article, “Nextdoor has a ‘Karen problem’”. This digital, highly localized form of systemic racism is incredibly dangerous. But, disturbingly, it extends even beyond terrible moderation and appointing random, unvetted users as neighborhood “leads”. Nextdoor has spent years forming partnerships with police departments all over the country.
“Across America, it has never been easier to tag the cops on your ‘suspicious activity’ post, with what we should all now know to be potentially lethal consequences,” Chris Taylor writes for Mashable .
In addition to enabling racism, Nextdoor has also become a place filled with rampant classism . Neighborhoods are more often than not segregated by income level — and, often, race and ethnicity. In addition to fostering toxicity based on class, the platform provides a forum for people to attack their unhoused neighbors, especially those who are living with mental illness.
One thing is clear: Nextdoor is not safe for all users — or even all non-users.
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How to Do Social Media Marketing for Small Business
Your time is valuable, but so is social media. Here's what small business owners need to know to make the most of each platform.
Social media marketing for small business is all about being strategic. While enterprise companies have the luxury of dedicated resources and time, small businesses need to be more agile, nimble, and creative.
You can’t just throw money at a problem and hope for the best. You need to be smart about how you’re using social media to reach your target audience.
Here are all the social media marketing tips you need to market your small business in 2023.
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
Why use social media for your small business
If you own a business, you’ve likely spent time researching social media marketing for small business. And for good reason.
There are now 4.2 billion active social media users . That’s almost twice as many as there were just five years ago, in 2017. Those users spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes on social channels every single day.
What’s more, social media isn’t just for big businesses anymore. In fact, 71% of small-to-mid-sized businesses use social media to market themselves, and 52% post once a day.
If you want to compete, you need to get online. Here are five essential reasons for using social media for business.
Reach more potential customers
Every business owner knows how difficult it can be to attract new customers . You can spend hours crafting the perfect product and designing an eye-catching website, but if no one knows you exist, it’s all for nothing.
Social media has leveled the playing field , giving small businesses a way to compete with larger companies for attention. By using social media platforms to create content that is interesting and engaging, you can reach a wider audience and encourage them to purchase from your brand.
Increase your brand awareness
A well-executed social media marketing strategy will lead to increased visibility for your business. When you create interesting, relevant content, people will share it with their followers, which will increase your reach and exposure. The more your brand is shown online, the more chances you have of people becoming familiar with it and eventually making a purchase.
Understand your customers better
How much do you really know about your customers? While you may have some information about their demographics, social media can help you to learn more granular information about their interests, needs, behaviours, and desires. This valuable customer data can be used to improve your social media marketing strategy and ensure that you’re creating content that appeals to your target market.
We’ve compiled demographic information for all of the major social networks. Use it to help gauge where your audience spends their time online. But remember that these demographics are just an overview.
Understand your competitors better
Your competitors are online. Period. And chances are, they’ve already put some thought into their social media presence. By taking a look at what they’re doing, you can not only get some ideas for your own strategy , but you can learn what’s working well for them and what isn’t . This competitor data is an essential part of creating a successful social media marketing strategy.
Conducting a competitive analysis can help you learn what’s working and what’s not for other businesses like yours. Don’t be afraid to look outside of your main competitors , and draw inspiration from the success of businesses in all industries.
Build long-term relationships with your customers
Social media isn’t just about posting pretty pictures and witty captions. It’s also about building relationships with your customers . These are the people who will buy your products and services and tell their friends about you, so it’s important to nurture these connections.
Showing that you care about your customers and their experience with your business will go a long way in securing these relationships long-term . And, as fans share and like your content, you rise in the social algorithms and gain new, free, exposure.
Keep in mind, the average internet user has 8.4 social media accounts , so you can connect with them on different platforms for different purposes. For example, you could use Facebook to build your audience and generate leads , and Twitter for customer service .
Let’s explore the benefits of each platform for small businesses below.
Which social media platforms are best for small businesses?
Now that you know how to use social media for small business, it’s time to get online.
As you begin researching the best platforms and tools to build your social media strategy, don’t make assumptions about where your audience spends their time.
Your instinct might tell you that if you’re targeting Gen Z, you should skip Facebook and focus on Instagram and TikTok. But the data shows that nearly a quarter of Facebook users are aged 18 to 24.
If you’re selling to baby boomers, social might not seem like a top priority. But it should be. Facebook and Pinterest are the top social networks for boomers. Adults over age 65 are Facebook’s fastest-growing audience segment.
Choosing your platforms doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. You can use different social channels to reach different audiences or to meet various business goals.
Here are the best social media platforms for small businesses.
No matter how you feel about this social media giant, Facebook continues to be the most used social media platform globally. It boasts over 2.9 billion monthly active users and more than 200 million businesses.
Facebook is a great platform for small businesses because:
- There’s a wide demographic range. Facebook users span all age groups, genders, and interests.
- It’s multi-use. You can use create a Facebook page, run advertising campaigns across Meta products, track audience data, and create an e-commerce shop, all within one platform.
- It can be a one-stop shop. Facebook can provide a full customer service journey, from first touch to final sale.
If you’re thinking about using Facebook for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Who is your target audience? Facebook’s most engaged audience ranges from 18-44 years old. If your target audience falls outside of this age range, you may want to consider another platform.
- What are your business goals? Goals on Facebook can range from creating brand visibility with a Facebook Page, to selling products in Shop or through Facebook ad campaigns. Knowing your goals will help you determine whether Facebook is the right platform for your business.
- How much time can you commit? Research shows that the best way to get results on Facebook is to post 1-2 times per day . If you don’t have time to commit to this, you may want to revisit your resourcing strategy.
While Facebook acts as a generalist platform, Instagram is where you can get specific about your niche. If you’re in the fashion, food, or film industries, for example, odds are most of your target audience is on Instagram.
It’s also worth noting that the platform skews younger—the vast majority of users are between 18 and 34. So, if your target audience is baby boomers, you may want to focus your energy elsewhere.
Instagram is a great platform for small businesses because:
- It offers in-app shopping. Instagram makes it easy for users to buy products they see in your posts, Reels, and Stories.
- The platform is visual , which makes it ideal for businesses in the fashion, beauty, travel, and food industries.
- Instagram users are engaged —the average user spends 11 hours per month on the app.
If you’re thinking about using Instagram for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Does my brand present well visually? Instagram is a very visual platform, so your posts need to be appealing.
- Can I commit to posting regularly ? Like any social media platform, Instagram requires a consistent presence. Posting to Instagram 3-7 times per week is recommended.
- Do I have the time to create engaging content? If you don’t have the time or resources to create high-quality content, Instagram may not be the best platform for your business.
Another platform with generalist appeal is Twitter. Twitter is the 9th most visited website globally and has over 200 million daily active users. Twitter users are also highly engaged shoppers, with 16% of internet users aged 16-64 report using Twitter for brand research and 54% reporting they are likely to purchase new products. For advertisers, Twitter’s CPM is the lowest out of all the major platforms.
Twitter is a great platform for small businesses because it’s:
- Conversational: Twitter is all about engaging in conversation. This can be between you and your customers or you and other businesses.
- Real-time: Twitter is where people go to find out what’s happening right now. This is why news organizations and journalists love Twitter.
- Hashtag friendly: Hashtags are a great way to get your content in front of people who are interested in that topic.
If you’re thinking about using Twitter for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Are your customers on Twitter? Twitter is great for building relationships, but if your customers aren’t active on the platform, it might not be worth your time.
- What kind of content will you share? Twitter is a great platform for sharing quick news and updates, but if you’re mostly posting images or longer-form content, you might be better off on a different platform.
- Do you have the resources to commit to Twitter? We recommend Tweeting at least 1 to 5 times per day. If you don’t think you can commit to that, Twitter might not be the best platform for your small business.
Maybe you think TikTok marketing is not the right fit for your brand. But even well-established brands with an audience well outside Gen Z are experimenting with this platform .
@washingtonpost The Lower 48 states are seeing the coldest temps of the season so far due to a blast of Arctic air ❄️ #winteriscoming #winter #snow #coldoutside ♬ original sound – Colin Riggy Rigg
TikTok is a great platform for small businesses because:
- It’s a level playing field. You don’t need a huge budget to produce high-quality content.
- It’s all about creativity. If you can be creative and think outside the box, you’ll do well on TikTok.
- There’s a lot of opportunity for virality. If your content is good, it has a chance of being seen by millions of people.
If you’re thinking about using TikTok for your small business , ask these questions first:
- Do you have time to create TikTok videos? While you don’t need an entire production team at your side, creating TikTok videos, and posting consistently, does take time.
- Does your target audience use TikTok? Keep in mind, TikTok’s audience tends to skew towards the 18-24 range. So, if you’re marketing to Gen Z or young millennials, TikTok is definitely worth considering.
- Do you have creative ideas for videos? If you’re not sure what kind of content would do well on TikTok, take some time to browse the app and get inspired.
In recent years, Pinterest has grown from a creative catalogue platform to one of the most powerful visual search engines on the internet today. Not only do Pinterest users love to find and save new ideas, but they’re also increasingly using the platform to make purchasing decisions.
Pinterest is a great platform for small businesses because:
- It’s a positive space. 8 out of 10 Pinterest users say the platform makes them feel good. Being present on a positive platform can help your brand’s image and reputation.
- It’s highly visual. People love images because 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Pinterest is the perfect place to share beautiful visuals of your products or services.
- You can reach new audiences. Because Pinterest is a visual search engine, you have the opportunity to be found by people who are actively searching for products and services like yours.
If you’re thinking about using Pinterest for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Do you have enough visual content to use Pinterest? As we said above, Pinterest is a highly visual platform. You’ll need high-quality images to make your pins stand out.
- Is your target audience active on Pinterest? Women aged 25-34 represent 29.1% of Pinterest’s ad audience while men make up only 15.3%.
- Do you have products to sell on Pinterest ? 75% of weekly Pinterest users say they’re always shopping, so make sure you have something to offer them.
YouTube is the world’s most popular video-sharing social network that boasts a potential ad reach of 2.56 billion. Not only does YouTube offer a huge audience, but it’s also an effective platform for promoting products and services.
YouTube is a great platform for small businesses because:
- You can drive traffic to your website. By including a link to your website in your YouTube videos, you can drive traffic to your site.
- You can improve your SEO. YouTube videos often appear in Google search results, which can help improve your website’s SEO.
- You can build brand awareness. YouTube is a massive platform with a highly engaged user base. Use it to post engaging video content that will help build awareness for your brand.
If you’re thinking about using YouTube for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Do you have resources to commit to content creation? Unlike TikTok, creating YouTube videos requires more than just shooting a quick clip on your phone. You should have a decent camera and some editing skills (or access to someone who does).
- Do you have something unique to say? There’s a lot of content on YouTube already, so you need to make sure you have something unique and interesting to say before starting a channel. Ask yourself: what can I offer that other businesses in my industry don’t?
- Can you commit to a regular upload schedule? Once you start a YouTube channel, you need to be able to commit to uploading new videos on a regular basis. This could be once a week, once a month, or even once a day – but consistency is key.
Create. Schedule. Publish. Engage. Measure. Win.
Social media tips for small business
Once you’ve found the right platforms for your social media marketing, it’s time to start posting. Here are a few social media tips for business to get you started.
1. Plan your content in advance
The number one mistake small businesses make on social media is posting content on the fly. While it may seem easier to spend a little bit of time every day coming up with something to post, this can actually be more time-consuming (and stressful) in the long run.
Creating a social media content calendar can help you plan your content in advance and avoid last-minute scrambling. Plus, it’s easier to come up with a mix of content (e.g., blog posts, images, infographics, etc.) when you have some time to think about it.
When building out your content calendar, make sure to include:
- The type of content you’ll be posting (e.g. blog post, image, infographic, etc.)
- The date you’ll be posting it
- The social network you’ll be posting to
- A link to the content (if applicable)
- A brief description of the content
- Copy to include in the post body
- Any campaigns, special holidays, or important dates to be aware of
- All links, tags, or hashtags you want to include in the post
If you’re not sure where to start, check out our free content calendar templates to get started. Or, check out this handy video for a visual walkthrough.
2. Schedule your posts
Once you have that calendar in place, you can create your social posts in advance and use scheduling tools like Hootsuite to post them automatically at the right time.
Scheduling your posts in advance allows you to dedicate one block of time per day or even per week to creating your social content. It’s much more effective than letting social posting take you away from other business tasks throughout the day.
Automation tools like chatbots and AI content creation tools can also help you cut down on the number of hours you spend working on social media marketing.
3. Commit to community management
Sure, posting creative content is important. But if you want to really see results from social media marketing for small business, you need to commit to community management.
Community management is the process of building a community with your customers through the interactions you have online. This can include responding to comments, answering questions, and interacting with customers on social media.
Think of it as an extension of your customer service. You should be interacting with your audience as much as they are interacting with you. This way, you can create a network of customers who feel connected to your brand and are more likely to become loyal, repeat customers.
Community management is also an important part of ranking in social media algorithms . Platforms reward users who are active and engaged , so the more you interact with your audience, the more likely you are to show up in their feeds.
Use Hootsuite Streams to like, comment, reply, and engage with your target audience. You can also use Hootsuite Inbox to keep track of all the conversations you need to be a part of, without missing anything important.
4. Pay attention to trends
We’re not saying you should leap on every meme that goes viral. (In fact, please don’t leap on every meme that goes viral.)
But, it is a good idea to pay attention to trends in social media , so you understand what people are looking for when they sign into their social channels. This helps you create appropriate content that resonates over time.
If you have time to dedicate to it, social listening is a highly valuable information-gathering tool that can help you understand what your audience (and potential audience) might want to hear from your business. It’s extremely easy to do with a tool like Hootsuite.
You can simply set up a stream for mentions of your brand on different social channels, so you can respond to concerns or positive reviews immediately and keep tabs on sentiment regarding your business.
5. Sell products on social
Social media marketing has evolved in recent years to include social commerce : the ability to sell your products directly from social channels. And business is booming, with a projected global market value of $492 billion in 2022 .
Almost every social platform now boasts some form of social selling . There are Facebook and Instagram Shops , Pinterest Buyable Pins , the TikTok Shop , and more.
Social commerce is a particularly useful tactic for small businesses in the ecommerce or retail space. The beauty of it is that you can cut down many of the friction points that come with selling online. Your potential customers are already on social media, so they don’t need to go through the process of visiting your website and navigating to your product pages. And since you’re meeting them where they already are , you have a much better chance of making a sale.
6. Use analytics to guide future posts
Even for small businesses, it’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t on social . Social media analytics tools can help you track your progress over time and identify which posts are generating the most engagement—likes, comments, shares, clicks, etc.
This data can be extremely valuable as you plan future content . If you see that a particular type of post is doing well, try to replicate that success in future posts. And if you notice that a certain type of post isn’t performing well, experiment with new content to see if you can find a better way to engage your audience.
Analytics can also help you understand which social media platform is working best for your business. If you see that you’re getting more engagement on one platform than another, you may want to consider making a switch. You don’t have to be everywhere, so stick to the platforms that are giving you the best results.
Social media management tools for small business
If you’re like most small business owners, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the CEO, the CFO, and the superstar sales team. It’s no wonder marketing often falls by the wayside!
But even if you’re not a marketing pro, that doesn’t mean you can’t effectively market your business on social media. In fact, with a little help from the right tools , you can actually save time and energy by using social media to reach your target audience.
Obviously we’re a bit biased, but we think Hootsuite is especially helpful for small business owners. Hootsuite is a social media management platform that gives you the ability to track and post to all your social media channels in one place , which will save you a lot of time in the long run.
It also offers recommendations on when to post, what kind of content to post, and how to interpret your performance . So it’s a beginner-friendly platform for people who don’t have a lot of time to waste on creating the perfect strategy.
Don’t believe us? Check out this 5-star review from Todd W., who doesn’t have a ton of people to help him do his social media marketing.
“Hootsuite has proven invaluable as we work to plan our social media calendar for the month – especially with limited staff . We’re able to create and schedule posts and see where our planning leaves “gaps” in our social media coverage” – Todd W.
Hootsuite’s integration with Grammarly can also help you avoid any embarrassing typos or mistakes in your social media posts.
One last Hootsuite feature we think is super useful for time-strapped small business owners?
If you’re ever stuck for content ideas, just go to the Inspiration tab and use a template to get started.
What about the native tools?
Hey, we understand that splurging on yet another monthly subscription might not be in the cards for your small business —especially when the networks offer free tools. But here’s the thing: those native tools come with limitations.
For example, let’s say you want to post the same message on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. With most social media management tools, you’d have to type that message three times—once for each network. But with Hootsuite, you can compose one message and post it to all three networks at once . That means less time spent on social media, and more time spent growing your business.
Plus, the free tools offered by the networks only give you limited insights into your social media performance. With Hootsuite Analytics, you can track your posts and tweets to see which ones are getting the most engagement, so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
So if you’re serious about using social media to grow your small business, investing in a tool like Hootsuite might actually save you money in the long run.
Save time and grow your small business using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can publish and schedule messages to all your social media channels, engage your followers, and monitor what people are saying about your brand online. Try it free today.
Do it better with Hootsuite , the all-in-one social media tool. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.
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How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Small Businesses
By Martha Kendall
Updated on February 16, 2021
10 minute read
For a small business, having a social media strategy is essential for increasing brand awareness, reaching your target audience, and driving sales.
Published February 16, 2021
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Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!
With a strong social media strategy, you’ll never run out of ideas on what to post — and you’ll soon have an engaged community at your fingertips.
What is a Social Media Strategy for Small Business?
A social media strategy encapsulates everything you want to do and achieve on social media. It details what you’ll post, the platforms you’ll use, and defines measurable goals that will support your specific business needs.
Smart social media strategies for small businesses can increase brand awareness, build your audience, and increase revenue.
However, this growth won’t happen overnight. It requires a consistent and strategic approach.
Take a look at chai cafe Kolkata Chai Co. — they regularly post across multiple platforms and have built a thriving community as a result.
Their social media typically features 3 types of content: recipes, product photography, and videos.
Their recipe posts are informative and inspirational, while their product images are directly promotional. Their video content showcases artists from the Indian community — providing insight into Kolkata Chai Co.’s brand values.
All of this content works together to build brand awareness and drive sales, creating a cohesive social media strategy across platforms.
Ready to create your social media strategy for 2022? Social Media expert Steph Gilbert shares her top tips in this step-by-step video :
How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Small Businesses:
Define Your Social Media Strategy
Identify the Right Social Media Platforms
Define Your Brand Voice
Create and Manage Your Posts
Track and Measure Your Goals
Part #1: Define Your Social Media Strategy — and Set Your Goals
Creating a social media strategy from scratch may seem intimidating, but setting SMART goals keeps the process realistic and achievable.
A SMART goal is:
Apply this method to your social media marketing plan by basing the goals on metrics that are specific to your business.
For example, you might want to track how many people follow your social media account month over month.
If this is your first time creating a social media strategy , it’s a good idea to start with a handful of important goals — so you can really hone in on them.
This way, you’ll be able to track progress over time and use them as a baseline to build upon in the future.
Want to learn how to set goals (and actually achieve them?) Watch Later’s free goal setting workshop which will help you make those social goals a reality!
Part #2: Identify the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business
Every social media platform has a unique set of pros and cons — which means you can be selective with your approach.
Starting off with platforms that make the most sense for your business will help you save time and avoid becoming overwhelmed by your content calendar.
Not sure which platform is best for your business? Here’s a basic rundown:
As a visual platform, Instagram is the perfect platform for showcasing your products or services in action. It’s also a great place to grow a community who loves your brand.
Plus, Instagram now has a ton of e-commerce features — making it easier than ever to convert your followers into customers.
Instagram is also known for its huge community of social media influencers . Partnering with creators or influencers to create sponsored posts can be a great way to reach relevant audiences and potential new customers.
In addition to sponsored posts, Instagram can also be an awesome platform for finding organic user-generated content (UGC) about your products or services.
Sharing UGC is a great way to show your products in action, and can act as a valuable third-party recommendation for your brand.
Improve your content workflow with Later ’s user-generated content tools — source, schedule and repost UGC to your feed in minutes!
Facebook, the most widely-used social media site, is an all-purpose platform where you can share photos, company updates and information, videos, and other informative content to build brand awareness and trust.
Much like Instagram, Facebook is jam-packed with e-commerce features — and has some of the most sophisticated targeted advertizing tools in the business.
Facebook also sets itself apart with its advanced suite of community forum features — such as Facebook Groups , Messenger Rooms , and Live Events .
Plus, Facebook’s powerful analytic tools are great for helping you learn more about your followers and keeping you on track with your SMART goals.
Looking to level-up your Facebook strategy? Plan, schedule, and post to Facebook with Later — for free!
Twitter is a platform for short messages and shareable media, making it ideal for company announcements, articles or blog posts, and customer support.
Twitter is great for connecting quickly in real time, which also makes it the top choice for companies with plenty of news updates and resources to share.
For example, beverage brand innocent drinks frequently uses Twitter to communicate with their customers and answer questions:
If you think TikTok is just for teenagers, think again.
TikTok is a video-driven platform full of informative, entertaining, and creative content — and businesses are using the platform to show how their products work, share behind-the-scenes, give tips, and join trending challenges.
Here, Lucume uses the platform to promote a collection of their clay earrings:
TikTok’s younger audience is great for businesses marketing to Gen Z , but the TikTok demographic is shifting — with more millennials joining the mix than ever before.
Plan and schedule your TikTok videos in advance — right from your desktop or phone! Upgrade to one of Later’s paid plans to get started.
Unlike most social platforms, YouTube allows you to share longer form videos, with a huge maximum upload file size of 128GB (or 12 hours!).
This makes it the perfect platform for more in-depth, educational content — such as styling tips, interviews, tutorials, and transformations.
For example, Later uses YouTube to share social media tips, strategies, how-to videos, courses, and conference sessions:
YouTube typically requires more time and energy than other platforms, but it can yield huge results. YouTube is primarily a search engine, which means users who search for and discover your content are more likely to have a strong interest in the topic and a genuine intent to engage.
Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about creating a YouTube channel here .
As a visual discovery platform, Pinterest is perfect for reaching new, relevant audiences. Plus, the whole experience is fully clickable, making it easy to turn browsers into customers .
On Pinterest, users “pin” photos that link to resources, product pages, and content across the web. Pins are typically visually appealing, and the links generally direct to blog posts or product pages.
Pinterest is a great platform for driving traffic to your site, and brands can create “boards” full of curated pins — making it easy for your audience to find related pins all at once.
As a Pinterest Partner, Later offers exclusive features to help you grow your business on Pinterest. Start planning and scheduling your Pins with Later now!
LinkedIn is a great platform for building your network, raising brand awareness, and attracting new talent to join your business.
Similar to Twitter, many brands use LinkedIn to share company updates, news releases, media coverage, articles, or blog posts.
Plus, with more than 722 million users worldwide and a ton of new engagement-driving features , it’s a platform to consider creating a strategy for.
Now that you know what each platform offers, choose the ones most relevant to your business. Don’t be afraid to start with only 1 or 2 — it’s better to focus your energy where it will be most effective.
DID YOU KNOW: You can now plan and schedule your content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok with Later — all from one easy-to-use dashboard!
Part #3: Define Your Brand Voice
Your brand voice is like your company’s personality — it’s how you speak to your audience. And it might slightly differ from platform to platform.
Take The Washington Post for example. On TikTok they use comedy to create funny and informative videos. On Twitter , they share the highlights of an article without any fluff:
If you’re struggling to pinpoint your tone, consider your brand’s values and mission. Are you formal and serious, or more relatable and friendly?
One brand doing this well is Pur Home , a line of natural cleaning products with an eco-friendly mission.
They channel their values into their brand’s tone with a friendly voice and sustainability-focused content:
TIP: Consider how would you talk about your business, products, or services to a friend as you refine your brand’s tone of voice!
Part #4: Create and Manage Your Social Media Posts
After you define your goals, choose the platforms you’ll use, and develop your brand voice, it’s time to start creating and posting content.
As a busy small business owner, a helpful way to avoid becoming overwhelmed when creating content is to practice content batching .
It’s a helpful productivity technique where you create multiple captions, photos, and videos during a set period of time.
And when you want to schedule content, using Later’s social media scheduling tool will help you save time and always share content at your best time to post .
With Later, you can upload photos in batches, find amazing UGC, schedule content weeks in advance, and more.
And with features like Best Time to Post and a free Unsplash integration — your content calendar will be strategic, consistent, and cohesive.
#5: Track and Measure Your Social Media Goals
Now that you’ve nailed your content strategy, well done! You’ve done the hardest part.
But don’t forget, the key to a successful social media strategy for small business is consistency.
Monitoring your analytics to see how many people you’re reaching and how they’re interacting with your posts is vital to your strategy as they show you what’s working — and what isn’t.
Luckily, Later Analytics makes it easy to track insights you can use to inform your content strategy — whether it’s increasing engagement or growing your audience.
There you have it — a quick how-to guide for creating a social media strategy for small business.
Take the time to develop SMART goals, define your brand voice, and choose platforms that align with what you’re trying to achieve.
And if you create consistent content and analyze your metrics, you’ll be one step closer to creating a successful long-term strategy.
Ready to simplify your social media strategy for small business? With Later , you can plan, schedule, and monitor your posts all in one place!
About the Author
Martha Kendall is a freelance B2B SaaS writer who loves creating strategic blog posts that drive traffic and convert. When she’s not writing, you can find her snuggling with her fluffy cats and reading books. Find her on Instagram – @marthakendallwrites .
Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.
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The complete guide to social media for small business
Welcome, small business marketers!
We’ve been hard at work figuring out the strategies and tools that help small businesses succeed on social media, and we want to share that information with you!
Social for Small Business Information Sources
- Sprout Social’s SMB Sales reps to uncover the most valuable tools, solutions, and workflows for SMB marketers.
- Sprout’s Success team to find out what trips up small businesses when getting started with social marketing.
- Sprout’s customers to find out what their main goals are on social media and the workflows that drive the most success.
Whether you’re new to social media marketing or a social veteran, you’ll find what you need here. Just use the table of contents to navigate to your preferred content.
While this guide focuses on small business social media, see our new guide if you’d like to take a step back and learn all things small business marketing !
The value of social media for small businesses
Working at a smaller organization you’re probably wearing more hats than a Doctor Seuss character (or maybe that was just Cat in the Hat …).
I was astounded to hear just how much most small business marketers have on their plates, like Stephanie from the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship.
I’m the jack of all trades for the entrepreneurship center. Whether it’s basic graphic design, social media or press releases, anything that has to do with communications marketing and social media falls under me. Stephanie Burns Communications Coordinator, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
Whether you’re at a scaling startup and handle all of the marketing or a local business trying to manage social while also managing the books, there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to prioritize social media.
But if we look back to the amazing Stephanie, that doesn’t discourage her from fully leveraging social media.
I really love social media. I know a lot of people have issues with it, but I think it’s really fascinating. It’s definitely a passion, but it can be easy to forget about when you’re busy doing other things. Stephanie Burns Communications Coordinator, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
While social media may be one of the first things to fall off your to-do list when you’re low on time, remember:
Social media is valuable for businesses of any size or industry, and finding customers on social media has a direct impact on sales and your bottom line.
Take a look at how much more likely individuals are to buy from the companies that they follow on social media channels.
While finding and keeping customers is a challenging endeavor, it’s equally if not more important to maintain and build relationships with the customers that you already have.
Any missed opportunities or poor customer experiences can spread through your client-base like wildfire, leading to churn that can cost you the business you’ve worked tirelessly to build. These missed opportunities and poor customer experiences are especially dangerous if you’re not active and engaging on social as a business, because they’re invisible to you until it’s too late.
Not only that, but the number of social users willing to buy from you skyrockets if you use social media not just for publishing, but for actually engaging with your social media audience.
But how exactly can you get social media users to purchase from you and increase the value of social for your small business? Try these proven tactics.
The proof is in the pudding; social media is a key channel for growing revenue for your small business and should be prioritized.
But while social media is great for sales, there is so much more you can do. Let’s dive into the next section: Setting social goals for your small business .
Setting social goals for your small business
I’ve spoken with many marketers doing amazing work on social media who don’t know how to prove that what they’re doing is having an impact on the business.
Almost every time this stemmed from simply not knowing how to choose goals.
Setting the right goals will not only help you prove your success, but also help you figure out which tactics are working. This makes it much easier to scale your social media presence.
But choosing goals can be tough. So here are three different ways to hone in on the goals based on where you want users in the funnel, what your peers are doing, and by the industry that you’re in.
Choosing goals based on your funnel
I can’t say this enough: the goal of your social media marketing should never be to simply bulk schedule and blast out posts. The social networks don’t reward you for a publishing-only strategy and neither do your customers.
In fact, being too promotional is the number one reasons consumers will unfollow you on social.
Instead, you can look at your social media presence from the funnel perspective. Yes, you need to publish content to drive awareness, reach and overall brand awareness. But it doesn’t stop there.
The further down you get in the funnel, the more important it is to actually respond to your customers and create great relationships.
This idea of engaging with your social media followers across every step of the funnel is paramount at Sprout Social, where we believe that Open Communication Creates Progress.
It seemed like Sprout was more interested in audience engagement and how to optimize engaging with your audience rather than just posting. Stephanie Burns Communications Coordinator, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
No matter which steps of the funnel you optimize for, make sure that you’re listening and responding to your customers at every stage of their journey.
Choosing goals by studying your peers
While the funnel is an amazing place to start choosing your goals, you can also look to your peers in the social marketing space.
It’s important to know that whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with social media marketing, there are people out there facing the same challenges you are.
The most recent Sprout Social index asked marketers what their biggest goals are on social media.
The top goals social media marketers are looking to are to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase community engagement
- Increasing website clicks
If these goals seem to align with your own, then make sure to keep track of them, as well!
Choosing goals by industry
At Sprout, we’re lucky enough to work with thousands of small businesses in any industry you can name. We’ve helped these customers set their social goals based off of the ways they can succeed, and you can leverage those insights for choosing your own goals.
Higher education goals
Whether you’re managing the social media marketing for your entire institution, or a single department within a college, these are some of the goals that will ensure you’re making a valuable impact.
While it may seem wild to think that you can do so much with social, our client Seneca College created a strategy that helped them actually recruit new students to attend their university.
- Audience engagement (likes, replies, shares, etc…)
- Increasing enrollment and retention
- Positive school reputation
- Attracting prospective student recruitment
- Drive alumni donations
- Increased event attendance
- A consistent voice across departments
Internet and software goals (B2B)
Internet and Software organizations make up a good deal of Sprout Social’s small business clients, like Trello . Though their business has tremendous brand recognition in the space they still have a smaller team relative to their peers in the SaaS space.
- Brand awareness (growth, engagements) and consideration (link clicks, web traffic)
- Lead generation (marketing qualified leads)
- Competitor analysis (share of voice)/Market share
- Drive customer loyalty (+ CX) and reduce churn
- Customer service efficiencies (engagement speed and rates)
Given the high volume of sales in the retail industry, social media can be a goldmine for finding new customers.
- Find new sales opportunities (conversations to join)
- Uncover brand expansion opportunities
- Reputation management (engaging with inbound messages)
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Inspire customer loyalty
- Product launch analysis
- Competitive analysis
Healthcare can be a difficult industry to market on social media. There are rules and regulations that must be followed so your organization doesn’t land in hot water. While you establish your goals make sure that you remain HIPAA compliant.
- Follow industry regulations & brand voice consistency
- Drive brand awareness (follower growth) to increase # of patients helped
- Build trust and patient confidence (engagements, impressions)
- Drive positive hospital, doctor, & nurse reviews/ sentiment
- Build relationships in the local community to improve patient experience
- Increase physician credibility/ trust via thought-leadership
- Social recruiting to hire high-quality staff
For non-profit organizations, audience engagement can be about much more than marketing metrics. We spoke to one organization using Sprout that provided diapers and baby food to families in need, and if they missed any single message on social media it meant that a child could be going hungry.
S0 while you look to these goals as a guiding light, remember to take into account your specific organization and the most important things you should be accomplishing on social.
- Donor recruitment (increase membership) and retention
- Recruit more volunteers
- Build cause and brand awareness (impressions and reach)
- Audience engagement (likes, replies, shares, etc…)
- Demonstrating transparency
- Reducing cost
- Drive event attendance
- Inspire audience support
- Increase board member buy-in with compelling data
While some franchisees may have goals set on at a franchisor level, if you have some leeway when it comes to creating your social goals keep these in mind.
- Franchisee recruitment
- Customer satisfaction
- Driving Scalability
- Employee engagement
Travel and hospitality goals
Poor customer service or negative reviews can make or break your organization in the travel and hospitality interest. While setting goals to increase your customer base is important, it’s just as important to engage your customers on social channels to ensure the best possible experience.
- Attracting guests
- Decrease vacancy
- Positive reviews
- Reputation management
Food and beverage goals
The food and beverage industry has amazing potential to find and delight new customers on social media through social listening .
Braxton Brewing is good example. They set up Sprout Social Brand Keywords in their Smart Inbox, found a local celebrity mentioning beer in their area, and sent them a care package, increasing their celebrity influence.
- Customer service
- Physical brand expansion
Many people may not think of government agencies as being the most technologically savvy industries, but one of our customers, The City of Lenexa , has found amazing results in growing their social audience and engagement on social. Some additional goals to consider on social are:
- Citizen engagement (likes, replies, shares, etc…)
- Data analysis
Sports and events goals
Whether your team is rocking an undefeated season or is in a bit of a slump, social media is critical for attracting new fans, deepening connection with diehard fans, and increasing tickets sales. Here are more goals to ensure you’re making the most of social:
- Sales opportunities
- Event/ Game Attendance
Real estate goals
Real estate can be an incredibly competitive market, and to successfully outsell your competition, it’s important to leverage social media. Stay on top of industry trends and emerging tech with social media. Goals to consider are:
- Lead generation
- Strong nationwide community presence
- Engagement with current and prospective residents and buyers
- Customer care/ support for retention and loyalty
- Brand awareness and consideration at community and corporate levels
- Boost agent/ broker credibility via thought-leadership social selling
Lifestyle and fitness goals
Lifestyle and fitness are incredibly important on social media. Not just the lifestyle and fitness models sharing their content, but the brands that supply those celebrities as well. Keeping your products adjacent to those influencers will help keep you top of mind. Here are some additional goals to consider.
- Customer sentiment online
- Brand mentions by location
Finance and credit union goals
Finance and credit unions are also susceptible to social media trouble. While you should consider the below goals, also consider what the rules and regulations are for marketing your institution on social media.
- Mitigate risk of social (strict regulations/ compliance; terms, audits, etc.)
- Member loyalty (humanize brand in region; engagement
- Professionals as industry experts (reputation)
- Digital transformation
- Event and community sponsorship attendance
- Social selling
Entertainment is a big part of social media, and if you can bring some of your entertainment to social media you reap the rewards of increased reach, engagement and sales. Beyond that, here are some of the most popular goals we see on social.
Media and publishing goals
Technology has transformed industries big and small around the world, but few have been impacted as much as journalism.
While some people may prefer the feel of paper in their hands, the numbers don’t lie: Modern consumers turn to screens for their news. So make sure you’re staying ahead by setting some of these social goals.
- Competitor analysis
Attractions, museums, zoos and theme parks goals
Social media can have an incredible impact on attracting customers to your attractions. Just set and track some of these social media goals to take your social presence to the next level.
- Strengthen community relationships
- Fundraising/audience growth/increase memberships
- Brand awareness for exhibits and events
- Seasonal campaign tracking & performance
- Find new business/showcase multi-purpose functionality
- Increase web traffic
Do you need help connecting your goals to your social media strategy? Fill out your information below and one of our specialists will help you figure out how.
Now that you have an idea of the goals you’d like to achieve, let’s move on to the next section, Social analytics and reporting for small business , to help you prove you’re hitting those goals.
Social analytics and reporting for small business
Goal setting is one thing, but tracking your progress to ensure success is something else completely.
That’s why it’s important to use social media analytics to figure out what’s moving the needle for your business.
According to the most recent Sprout Social Index , social analytics is the most used social marketing feature and strategy.
Native social media networks offer analytics on your social presence, but if you want to get deeper analysis, cross-network analysis, cross-profile analysis and more, you will need to invest in a social media management platform.
Below are some of the most important metrics that you can track provided by the social networks.
The number of times an individual saw your message.
The number of times an individual has interacted with your message, including:
The number of engagements divided by the number of impressions.
The number of times someone visited your profile page.
The number of times your handle or brand was mentioned on social.
The number of individuals who follow you on social, usually shown as an increase or decrease over time.
Social Analytics and Reporting Tools
If you’re using a social media management and analytics tool you can dig into additional reports and analytics. Here are some of the reports our small business audiences like to run in Sprout.
*Caveat:* This section includes reports from Sprout Social because I do work here. While there may be other solutions out there, Sprout Social is my favorite and the one I know most about. This is mostly just to show you what you can do with social tools. You can also run all these reports for totally free with no commitment if you start a Sprout Social trial .
The Sent Messages Reports aggregates all of your social messages from all of your social networks and profiles into a single location, helping you see which messages are the most effective for your audiences,
We do the heavy lifting to help you understand how responsive you are to messages that appear to warrant a response. You will see how effectively you’re responding to these messages (Response Rate) and how quickly you’re engaging (Response Time).
Percentile ranking Get a sense of how you rank among the pack. We calculate your percentile ranking by comparing your Response Rate and Response Time metrics for the selected period against the latest data that we have on profiles similar to yours.
Engagement rates by time and day
If you’re managing social media as a team, it’s important to dig into your team’s data to see who your top performers are and who could use a little coaching, especially across multiple locations.
Get an at-a-glance look at how your paid social media efforts are performing from a single dashboard.
While most small businesses I talk to spend a lot of their reporting time exporting data from each social media network and profile, the Sprout Social Group Report aggregates that all into a single report so you can see how you’re performing on social as a whole.
Figure out what topics and hashtags your brand is most frequently mentioned with, then you can use that information to create content you know your audience will like.
Keep an eye on your competitors by running Competitive Comparisons. Unfortunately for our made-up coffee store below, Starbucks seems to be doing a better job on social.
Those are just a few of the reports that you can run with Sprout Social. If you’d like to hear more about all of our reporting features and how they can help you achieve social success, just get in touch with our team!
Social media tips for small business
Alright, up to now we’ve figured out why social media is valuable for your small business, how to set goals that will have an impact on your bottom line, and how to track those goals with social media analytics.
Now let’s get into some of the more tactical stuff. Here are tips for smaller organizations ramping up their social media marketing.
1. Identify your social audience
Most marketers will tell you the first step in creating a successful campaign is getting to know your audience, and the same rings true for social media.
Though you may have an understanding of who your audience is there is social data you can pull to verify your understanding.
Get a better understanding of who your social audience is by using data from social networks or a third-party social media tool . Below is a look at my personal audience demographics from Twitter.
Twitter’s analytics report
To access this data go to your Twitter page, click on your icon in the top right corner, click “Analytics” and go to the tab “Audiences”.
This is a plethora of data that can help you identify who and where your audience is so you can create content you know they’ll enjoy.
2. Build relationships with engagement
Remember the graph we shared above which showed customers are 71% more likely to purchase from a brand after a positive experience on social?
That’s because engaging with your audience on social is critical.
Customers reach out to you on social for a number of reasons, and our Sprout Social Index surveyed customers to ask why they’re reaching out to brands social.
Reaching out to your customers to answer their questions in a timely fashion is essential to building a deeper relationship and selling more.
Think about it this way: you wouldn’t ignore a customer calling your office phone, would you?
3. Search social for new opportunities
This is probably my favorite tip and our customers light up when they first see the value.
It’s possible to use a social media listening tool to find conversations happening on social media that are perfect for you to join.
Let’s say that you run a pizza restaurant in Chicago that sells gluten-free pizza.
Within Sprout you can set a Brand Keyword that will constantly search social media for people who mention “gluten-free pizza” within a certain radius of your restaurant. Those messages will then be streamed to your Smart Inbox to interact with.
There are a few things you can do to those who are mentioning gluten-free pizza.
- Give them a simple Like or Favorite. Chances are they will check out your page and see that you similarly offer gluten-free pizza and may put you on their list of places to try.
- Actively reach out to them. Acknowledge their original message in a way that shows you care about their opinion and even offer them a coupon code for the next time they’re in the market for your gluten-free deliciousness.
It helps me be part of timely conversations that before I may have missed, especially on Twitter. It’s also really easy to say thank you to new followers and donors on social media, where before I may have missed it. Garrett Hondronastas Communications Manager, Infant Crisis Services
4. Create a social content calendar
If you’re not taking the time to plan your social media calendar in advance, you could end up scrambling to find content to share.
This is a big problem because sharing quality content across your social channels is key to engage your audience and attract new followers.
Below is a view of a healthy social content calendar with a month’s worth of content across several platforms.
We’ve written a more detailed post on how to create a social content calendar, but it boils down to four key steps:
- Figure out what content resonates with your audience
- Decide on how often to post to each social network and profile
- Create or source great content to share
- Fill up your content calendar with a social publishing tool
5. Post your content at optimal times
One questions we hear frequently is “what is the best time to post on social”, so we built an entire post with the times that work .
But while that’s helpful it does create a problem: if everyone starts posting at that time, is it really then the best time to post?
The answer is no.
These types of studies come up very frequently and while they are fresh they’re an amazing resource to drive more engagement. But as they become more popular and more users post at those times, streams become flooded and messages get lost.
That’s why it’s a good idea to publish at your optimal send times. You can do this by studying your social media sent messages and finding trends in when posts get top engagement, or you can use a tool like Sprout’s Optimal Send Times to do that for you automatically.
I started using Optimal Send Times in June  right after it was rolled out and saw a huge increase in engagement and reach. Kristen Waggener Communications Specialist, City of Lenexa
6. Find the best hashtags to use
While hashtags may seem a bit played out, and they’re frequently on the receiving end of jokes in media, they’re still critical for social media.
Hashtags can increase your reach tremendously and even incentivize customers to Tweet when they normally wouldn’t have.
Not sure which hashtags to use? One of my favorite tools is our Hashtag Holidays Calendar . It’s a free resource that shows you all of the upcoming Hashtag Holidays, like Small Business Saturday (*cough November 24th*).
Assuming the Hashtag Holiday makes sense to your brand, it’s a great way to inspire content while taking advantage of a trending topic.
We’ve also created an article about finding hashtags if you need additional help.
7. Audit your social presence
Whether you’ve been running your social media accounts for a while or have just been dabbling in social marketing it’s important to conduct an audit of your social presence.
A social media audit will tell you what has worked, what hasn’t worked, what profiles need a bit of an update and so much more. To make it easier our team created a free social media audit template .
8. Create great visuals
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, and the average length of an English word is 5 letters, it would take you 35.71 Tweets to tell the same story you could with one shared image on social media. So why wouldn’t you just include an image?
We’ve put together a separate resource with 39 Free Tools to Create Social Media Images if you need something to help get your creativity flowing!
And now it’s time for a braggy story. We all know how each social network requires differently sized imagery for posting, and if you don’t use the correct size your image may come out a bit distorted.
That’s why I submitted an idea for a free tool called Landscape for our Sprout Social “Hack Week”, and we actually created and shipped the final product! Give it a whirl when you need to resize images .
9. Create social media videos
Video content is an amazing way to increase your engagement on social channels, but creating videos can be intimidating.
Whether you don’t have the necessary supplies to shoot something quality, don’t have the proper location to film or have just a bit of stage-fright, it doesn’t have to be hard.
Here are some ideas from our in-depth list of video content creation tips :
- Create video content that is meaningful to people who are already your fans
- Use previous content’s success to inspire new videos
- Think about the social assets you’ll want before you film
- You don’t have to hire outside talent – you’re the talent!
- Be intentional with your CTAs
- Make your videos accessible
- Don’t neglect video SEO
- Analyze video performance
- Turn your video into additional social assets
10. Combine organic with paid
With so many tips already on this list you can run with organically, why should you consider paid ads?
Well if your messages aren’t getting the impressions or views that you’d like then it is always possible to put a few paid dollars between them to give them a boost. Even just a few dollars can get you hundreds of new impressions for posts, and with Sprout Social’s Boost technology it has never been easier.
Not sure what kind of ads to start making? We have some data for that as well.
We even break down the most compelling content by the generation you may be selling to.
11. Get your team on social
There is no I in Tweet.
Thinking as a social business team is important because social touches all facets of your organization, not just branding and awareness.
From managing client relationships through your customer service and sales teams, to engaging audiences through your social and agency teams, to discovering new avenues for your product team, social plays a role in all ares of your organization.
With a small business, efficiency is key for your social media marketing team. Make sure you’re building a team that is able to respond to your incoming messages without getting overwhelmed. Social media collaboration is key!
Now that you have some stellar tips to improve your social media marketing let’s talk about some of the tools that can help you on the way!
Social media tools for small business
I work in marketing and the number of software tools I use every day to help me get things done is pretty immense.
While some marketers may scoff at my “techstack” (the term most people refer to as all of the software in their toolbelt), it genuinely helps me save time and be more effective in my role.
And if I wasn’t using software to keep up with my own work I would be drowning. Our customers certainly agree when it comes to using Sprout to help them manage their work.
It’s definitely a time thing. If we weren’t using any kind of social media tool my workday would be a disaster. Linda Codega Marketing and Communications Manager, The Garrison Institute
There are other social tools out there you can explore, but here are a few people who are glad they went with Sprout
But here are a few people who are glad they’ went with Sprout.
I just announced to the office that @SproutSocial is the best thing that’s ever happened to my career. I mean, seriously. Have you ever used this thing? Ugh, so in love. — Rebecca Kallsen (@rebeccakallsen) September 21, 2018
My relationship status is: ⚪ single ⚪ taken 🔘 in a fierce, committed and passionate love affair with @SproutSocial #ThatPRLife — Mandy Heiser (@mandyjomoo) July 26, 2018
Started our free trial of @SproutSocial yesterday and even though we had never used it before, it was so easy to navigate through and really enjoyed the interface! — MantraM Digital (@DigitalMantram) May 9, 2018
Social media management tools or native networks?
“Why would I use a social media management tool instead of the native social networks?”
This is one of the main questions I hear from small businesses who are looking into social media management software for the first time, and it’s very valid.
At Sprout, we have deep relationships with all of the social media networks out there and their tools are fantastic. However, there are certain advantages to using a third-party-platform for your social marketing.
A few of the king things are:
- Publishing to multiple social networks and profiles simultaneously
- Consolidating all of your social content calendars into one platform
- Aggregating analytics from multiple profiles and networks into one dashboard
- Streaming all of your messages from all of your platforms into one place for engagement
Sprout Social for small business: A social partner
Sprout Social helps nearly 10,000 small and medium-sized businesses build stronger relationships with customers and eliminate time-consuming tasks on social.
We do this not just by providing the software to take advantage of social media, but by working with you and helping you find success. From all the customer surveys that I ran one thing was abundantly clear:
Sprout Social isn’t just a provider, we’re a partner .
When SMBs subscribe to Sprout Social they’re getting more than just a leading social media scheduling, analytics and management platform; they’re getting a partner that truly cares about helping them set and achieve social goals.
Our entire company is focused on helping your business create real connections on social media, and we’re happy to do it ( check the 4.7 star Glassdoor review ). Don’t you want to work with a company who is happy to work with you?
Sprout Social support
To quote our CEO Justyn Howard:
Our brand isn’t our design, our products or our logo—our brand is how we make people feel. And customer support isn’t just a department or a job title, it’s our relationship with the people who allow us to do what we love. Justyn Howard CEO, Sprout Social
And I realize that it may seem a bit unfair to only quote our CEO, so here’s what one of our amazing customers had to say.
I just really liked that you guys took the time to call me. You’re still taking the time to call me and it feels like I’m not just a number. Michelle D’Antonio Senior Social Media & Community Manager, Super League Gaming
And as you know I love sharing our customers quotes, so here’s another.
Hugest thanks to team @SproutSocial for so swiftly sorting out a payment issue I totally made the error with. No arguments, just loads of support from Tara, Dora and Ian … You guys totally rock #CustomerService to the core! 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/tonzWIcE8n — Jodene Shaer (@Jodenecoza) July 19, 2018
Sprout has the highest ratings in satisfaction, support, usability and retention (per industry analysts and real user reviews).
Sprout Social onboarding
If you’ve never used a social media management platform before, or if you have and didn’t enjoy the experience, you know just how important it is to get setup properly and quickly. Especially when you have goals to hit and stakeholders to share value with.
We just completed our onboarding with @SproutSocial . Adia has been awesome. Aaaaaaaand they added the mention feature for @facebook back into their platform. So 🙌🙌🙌. https://t.co/pqPDpPbheA — Brandon Barelmann (@barelmann) June 12, 2018
At Sprout Social, we’re here to help you with completely free onboarding to make sure you’re finding value fast.
I really liked how the onboarding process was. I had 3 different phone calls with people to teach me how to use the tool. Michelle D’Antonio Senior Social Media & Community Manager, Super League Gaming
Sprout Social’s small business marketing lead
Oh yeah, there’s also me! I’m the Small to Medium Business Marketing Lead, and my job is to consistently create content that will not only help you find value with Sprout Social, but also give you the leading strategies and insights into the world of small business marketing.
Here’s a look at the face behind the keyboard and my Twitter handle (DMs are open).
Sprout Social for small business: The actual platform
Alright, yes we have a world class team, but that world-class team is also building and maintaining world-class social media management software.
Streamline and effectively scale social monitoring and engagement efforts with a unified social inbox.
We all know how good it feels to hit “inbox zero”, right?
Well with an all in one inbox like Sprout’s Smart Inbox, you can stream every single message from all of your social media profiles into a single location, making it easy to respond to the social posts that need your attention.
Then as you go through the Smart Inbox you can choose to Mark Messages Complete, removing it from your Smart Inbox entirely. It gives you the comfort of knowing every social message from your customers has been properly responded to.
I can leave at the end of the day, or start the day knowing that I really haven’t overlooked anyone that has reached out for help or has said something really great about us that didn’t get a response. Garrett Hondronastas Communications Manager, Infant Crisis Services
Managing social as a team
If you’re lucky enough to have a few accomplices helping you manage your social media messages then Sprout is a must.
- Apply custom tags to your Smart Inbox to help divvy up the workload
- See live activity updates of who is responding to what to ensure no crossed wires
- Turn a message into a Task and assign that to a team member more suitable to answer
- Follow an audit trail to see who responded to what in the scary case that something goes awry
Sprout allows for publishing for all social profiles from a single location. Easily schedule content and use advanced posting capabilities to ensure it reaches the right people at optimal times.
I no longer know what life was like before the optimal post times feature. This is truly game changing, @SproutSocial . Bravo — Pumpkin Spiced Geoffré 🎃 (@mynameisGEOFF) June 8, 2018
Post messages to all of your social media networks and profiles at a single time with Sprout’s scheduler. You can also tag individual messages to later report on the success of specific campaigns.
Visual and collaborative content calendar
A visual social content calendar makes it easy to see what your upcoming social schedule looks like. If you see a few days with too many or too few posts scheduled then simply shift those messages around to ensure you always have great content to share.
Optimal Send Times and ViralPost
Not sure when the best time is to send messages to your audience? Sprout’s ViralPost and Optimal Send Times will use data to figure out the times your audience is most engaged and automatically publish those posts even if you’re not at your computer.
Image editing and asset library
Create a repository of pre-approved images to make it easy to find visuals to share with your messages. You can also edit images right from the Sprout Image Editor to make it even more personal to your messages.
Sprout’s reporting functionality simplifies the measurement of performance metrics, including audience growth and interactions, team performance, competitive analysis and much more.
I really do like Sprout’s Reporting features. They’re very user-friendly, comprehensive and easy-to-read. I can give them to my boss and they understand our engagement points as well. Stephanie Burns Communications Coordinator, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
Customize and share reports
Create custom social reports based on the data most important to your team, then easily export those presentation-ready reports to share. Would you rather dig into the numbers yourself? No problem–download your numbers as a CSV and work your excel magic to make the data your own.
Social shouldn’t be diffcult
For the 52% of SMBs that depend on in-house staff to manage social, time is money. Sprout streamlines social through:
- Optimized workflows and user-friendly interfaces, including a content calendar and post-scheduling features.
- Centralized views of all social media channels and profiles, featuring real-time keyword and hashtag monitoring.
- Instant analysis of social performance through customizable reporting, at both a profile and post level.
My productivity was significantly lower before Sprout Social. Before I could maybe post once to each profile natively per day, but now we post 2-3 times a day from each profile on all platforms. Michelle D’Antonio Senior Social Media & Community Manager, Super League Gaming
Get in touch with sprout's small business team
We have an entire team of professional Account Executives, Solutions Engineers, Marketers and Strategists all here to help you find value on social media. Just fill out the information below and we’ll be in touch!
We did a demo with SproutSocial today and HOLY SHIT IT IS SO NICE I WANT IT I WANT IT SO BAD — 💀 𝔠𝔥𝔢𝔩𝔞 👻🎃🍂 (@akachela) May 31, 2018
Social media strategy for small business [infographic]
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- Social Media Marketing
Social Media for Small Business Owners – 9 Top Strategies
- May 16, 2021
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Creating a solid social media strategy for small businesses takes a lot of guesswork out of your marketing plan. A little planning goes a long way when it comes to social media success.
Social media usage in the US has grown by from 7% to 65% in the last 10 years.
The rapid consumer adoption of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram makes it nearly impossible for businesses to ignore social media. There’s so much opportunity for you to get in front of potential customers.
People spend, on average 145 minutes a day on social media! That’s a large window of opportunity for you to capture the attention of potential customers.
You don’t have a marketing team prepared to tackle every platform, so you need to be strategic about spending your time and ad budget.
Fear not! Social media for small business owners doesn’t need to be complicated; you just need to follow the tips in this article.
Instead of shying away from social, let’s take a look at how to create social media strategies for small businesses that will help you to achieve your growth goals.
1. Set SMART Goals
Lots of small business owners know they “should” be using social media to grow their business, but have you stopped to ask yourself why?
What outcome are you working towards with your social media strategy? If you’re clear on your goals, it’s a lot easier to make a plan to achieve them.
SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
This helps in goal setting because you know exactly what you’re trying to do and how soon you’re going to make it happen.
An example of a great SMART goal for your social media might be to: Increase my email signups by 10% in the next six months.
This checks all the boxes because you can quickly tell if you’ve reached your goal. After six months, you can look back on your subscriber rate and determine if you hit the goal.
Plus, it’s relevant to your business if you mainly use email marketing to nurture leads and get new clients.
Try to make sure your goals are realistic. It might not be feasible to expect your social media strategy to increase your sales by 10% directly, but increasing email sign-ups is much more achievable.
Social media is primarily a tool to grow brand awareness, trust, and familiarity with your services and your brand.
2. Do Few Things But Do Them Well
Some small business owners get overwhelmed by thinking they need to turn into a media company producing videos, blogs, and podcasts to keep up with all the platforms. They try to implement all possible social media marketing strategies for small businesses and end up spreading themselves too thin.
The result? They can dilute their marketing efforts . This is why we recommend starting with a few key platforms, learning those well, then growing from there.
If you just focus on growing your brand using Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram…that’s much more manageable than using all the social platforms at once.
Remember, it’s about quality first and quantity second. It’s true that active accounts typically have a higher engagement rate , but when it comes to social media, it’s all about what works for your clients.
As long as you’re reaching interested customers, turning them into fans of your brand, and getting them involved in what you do, that’s an effective social media strategy.
Remember, you can repurpose content for different platforms. You don’t need to think of different ideas for every platform you use. An image you use on an Instagram story can also be used for a Tweet. Try to think about what your audiences on different platforms want to know about your brand.
3. Understand Your Audience
Using social media for small business is all about knowing your clients and posting about what matters to them.
The best way to grow your social media influence is to post valuable content that helps your customers somehow. Do a little research and see which accounts they follow, what posts they like, and share. This will give you more idea about what matters to them.
How can you join the conversation they’re already having? One mistake businesses make on social media is only talking about their business. They post about their products, services, and employees but forget to post as a service to their customers.
Think about why you follow certain brands. There’s a reason beyond their product, right? So apply that same thinking to your business and figure out exactly what your ideal client wants to see from you.
For example, if you’re a business consultant, your ideal client might follow you because you post inspiring quotes. You can talk about how you helped a client overcome a problem and how they can do the same thing. Maybe they love hearing your own story of struggling in business then learning your path to success.
Instead of just posting a picture of something generic, break down why you are posting it. Maybe you want to share a recipe or details of how to visit a place of interest. If you post helpful content, people will be more likely to engage with it.
4. Work With Others In Your Industry
Connecting with other people in your niche is a great way to get in front of a new audience. Work with micro-influencers and other people you respect in your space. Share their content to help you become part of the wider community in your industry.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to share posts of direct competitors. Connect with other thought leaders in your industry.
Social media isn’t only about sharing information with customers; you can be part of a broader conversation. For example, say your product is healthy snacks, why not collaborate with a food blogger to share some healthy recipes?
5. Start Conversations
Once you know what your audience likes to talk about, join the conversation.
Your posts should vary between informative, inspirational, and promotional, but in every post, try to include a call to action. Train your followers to interact with your brand.
Ask them questions, get their opinion, talk about things that stir up emotion. No matter which industry you’re in, there’s an aspect of your product or service that’s tied to a feeling or experience your ideal client wants to have.
If you’re a business coach, what you’re selling is confidence, peace of mind, and success. Those are all topics that stir emotion. Posting about your definition of success and inviting them to share theirs is a great way to bond with your audience.
Once someone responds to a question you asked, you must keep that conversation going; they took the time to say “yes” to your brand, after all.
Did you know that only 10% of messages and comments left on business social media accounts are answered. Every small business social media strategy should include time set aside to respond to customer comments and direct messages.
This interaction is what makes social media a sales funnel for your business. Posting great content is how you get people interested, but having conversations is how you get people to buy from you.
Use Instagram polls, Twitter threads, and Facebook live stream to interact with your customers and create a two-way conversation. You don’t just want to preach to them why your brand is amazing. You want their opinion on the direction you should take your brand, the products they want to see.
Social media provides an opportunity like no other for brands to get honest and valuable feedback from customers. Making your customers feel involved will also help you create brand loyalty.
6. Schedule Your Posts
You’re running a business, so every minute counts! Posting consistently shows your potential clients you take your business seriously, and they should, too.
But how do you stay consistent when you have a to-do list longer than an octopus arm? (yes, arm, octopuses don’t have tentacles!)
Make technology your best friend by scheduling posts in advance. This keeps you consistent, plus it saves time . If everything is scheduled, you’re not getting distracted scrolling through your feed instead of posting and getting back to work.
Your social media marketing plan for small business should include a day every month or a few hours each week to sit down and schedule your social media posts. Then, you can rest easy knowing you didn’t forget to post anything!
7. How Often Should You Post?
When creating a social media strategy for small businesses, many business owners question how often they should be posting.
The answer is, it depends. It depends on the social media platforms you use and the message you want to share with your audience.
Here are some rough guidelines about how often you should post on social media:
- Instagram: daily stories and regular posts will boost engagement and interaction
- Facbook: once a day is enough, if you over post, your customers will disengage!
- Twitter: schedule multiple Tweets per day, at times you know your audience is online
- LinkedIn: share helpful content several times a week, video content is effective on LinkedIn
8. Social Media for Small Business: Paid Posts
Whenever the algorithm changes, business owners get nervous about their organic reach. But why do we care so much about that number?
Gary Vaynerchuk, social media expert, and early Twitter and Snapchat investor, says in his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook , that boosting a post to your existing followers has a more significant ROI than trying to reach a cold audience.
When you think about it, paying a little to reach a warm audience is probably going to get better results than paying to reach people who’ve never heard of you.
So while everyone is talking about trying to increase their organic reach, you can take comfort in knowing you can easily reach most of your existing audience for a fraction of the ad spend.
9. Experiment and Pivot
No one gets it right the first time. There are so many ways to make social media work for you; it comes down to figuring out what’s suitable for your clients.
The only way to know for sure is to get started. Try lots of different things! Every social media strategy for small businesses should include a healthy amount of A/B testing.
Try different approaches, different types of content for other platforms. Show two different ads to the same audience. Then look back to see which strategy performed the best and what got the most engagement.
Make use of the free analytics tools integrated into each of the social media platforms. This is an easy way to see your engagement and conversion rates.
Once you know the type of content that performs best for your brand, create more like it. Try to stay creative and keep it fresh, though.
Don’t let perfectionism keep you from getting out there and trying. We like to say perfectionism is procrastination in high heels. It’s okay to learn a little as you go, as long as you get started.
Social Media Strategies for Small Business
The core of effective social media marketing for small businesses evolves around providing high-quality content in a consistent way. Consistent doesn’t necessarily mean “a lot”. It’s essential that you find a rhythm that works both for your audience and for you to keep providing value in an interesting, entertaining way. Engage in conversation with them. Use trial and error; it’s ok to make mistakes!
A solid social media marketing strategy for small business owners is an essential part of your long-term success. It doesn’t matter if you have a bootstrapped SaaS company, B2B, or any other company type. If you have a strong plan in place, you won’t waste hours of your precious time trying to figure out what to do about your social channels.
How are you going to start your small business social media strategy? Which platforms do you think your audience is active on the most? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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10 Steps To Build A Social Media Strategy For Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner in 2022, your dilemma likely comes from having too many options. With creator-focused tools being introduced every day across platforms, the task is to eliminate what you don’t need.
Running a small business means choosing which domains you can handle, considering time and resource boundaries. Creating a working social media strategy involves setting clear goals for measuring performance and focusing on goals, no matter how small.
“I’m a big fan of less is more. I would rather have a small business crush it with their email marketing and one social media channel rather than trying to be super-human and do it all (and constantly feel like you’re failing).” - Marie Forlo, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist.
Entrepreneur Marie Forleo, famously named "thought leader for the next generation" by Oprah, says that there are real upsides to social media. In the same breath, she highlights the importance of not succumbing to "comparison cycles”. What works for one business may not always work for another.
Here's an overview of the contents of this article:
- Quick Stats For Stressed Sapiens
10 Steps To Build A Social Media Strategy
- Choose Your Platforms Of Choice
- Create A Social Media Workflow
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
You can directly jump to a section of your choice or keep scrolling.
Quick Stats for Stressed Sapiens
- More than two-thirds of small businesses, i.e., 67% , use social media tools.
- Users spend over 1/3 of their internet time on social media usage.
- 50% of Gen Z, 44% of Millennials, and 37% of Gen X use social media daily. If you’re curious, it’s 26% of Baby Boomers.
- The top 3 social media platforms used by Gen Z, according to a study by National Research Group are Snapchat (96%), TikTok (91%), Youtube (87%), and Instagram (83%).
- Visual content has 40x more shareability on social media.
There’s a lot more to where that came from. Don’t let the statistics spook you. Having a definite vision for your brand can help build a strategy that can translate to actionables.
We’ve listed 10 steps you need to build a social media strategy for your brand.
- Narrow Down Your Demographic
- Define Your Brand Voice
- Figure Out The Algorithm
- Repurpose Content
- Create A Focused Campaign
- Develop Engagement Strategies
- Evaluate And Review The Strategy
1. Narrow Down Your Demographic
Once you know the age group, income level, location, and other pertinent details of your target consumer base, analyze their purchasing behavior and to what extent social media influences it. You need to understand your demographic to figure out if you want to adopt niche marketing or need a broader marketing strategy.
That being said, remember that strategies are oftentimes like throwing a dart. You may not always hit your target, but you get better at it the more you practice. It is entirely possible for you to start with a hyperspecific market and add verticals further down the line.
At this stage, it’s good to know your competition and how consumer behavior pans out in your segment. This also involves monitoring conversations that happen and analyzing consumer sentiment.
Easylunchboxes, inspired by the Japanese Bento boxes, integrated traditional marketing strategy with their social media strategy. First off, they identified parents as the target audience of their compartmentalized lunchboxes.
Parents particularly benefit from the design because they can pack different food groups in their children’s school lunches. The brand sent free samples for people to use and post about on social media. Needless to say, Facebook did the rest of the work in generating leads for the company.
Image source: Jose Angelo Studios
Image source: EasyLunchBoxes
EasyLunchBoxes also posts light-hearted humor based on themes of parent-child interactions to maintain follower engagement and increase shareability.
The concept is not exactly revolutionary, and giving free samples is a strategy as old as time. But what matters is, integrating traditional and digital practices in approaching hyperspecific segments.
For instance, is your prospective customer’s motivation for purchase dependent on influencer marketing, cross-app promotion, promo codes, or offline integration marketing? It could very well be a combination of these.
2. Define Your Brand Voice
Brand voice is essentially your company's personality, intended to be perceived by your audience. Two brands in the same segment can have different personalities. Nike might come across as optimistic and inspiring, whereas Puma could be described as confident and brave.
Developing a unique brand voice helps customers form a degree of emotional attachment and association with your brand. This is especially true of online spaces where users interact with and tag brands to let their friends and followers know what they’re up to.
Every brand needs a narrative to be recognized and spoken about. It’s not enough if you offer users a better discount than your competitor. Consumers see lifestyle products and services as an extension of their own personalities. The key here is to build value that customers are happy to associate with.
There is a difference between voice and tone. Your brand's voice is usually consistent, but the tone of your message depends on the context of communication. Stephanie Shwab’s brand chart is a step in building a holistic social media brand voice.
Image source: Social Media Exp
3. Choose Your Platforms Of Choice
It is easy to make the mistake of entering platforms you can’t handle if you’re focused on being everywhere all at once. The primary step to get out of the way is to analyze what your competitors are doing and where your customers are hanging out.
Statusbrew’s infographic can give you an idea of the sequence of activities you need to carry out to choose the best social media platform for your business.
Operating in the existing marketplace of your target segment can help announce your presence in the domain. It also helps to understand what kind of content is high performing. From hereon, you can change gears and customize your content plan.
There are chances that you might find a lacuna in the value of the existing market that your brand can fulfill. The best platform for your business is one where you’ll get maximum engagement and lead generation. TikTok and Instagram , for instance, are popular with Gen Z and the Millenial audience.
LinkedIn is ideal if your B2B product/ service is dependent on creating a buzz amongst working professionals. If you’re a small business owner trying to make inroads into hyper-specific customer segments, Facebook groups are effective.
E-mail marketing helps spread brand awareness, alerts customers about unpurchased items in the cart, customer retention, and more. Event emails, new product announcements, and Welcome emails do well with users.
Here’s a fun fact from Mail Chimp:
Image source: Mail Chimp
Many small business owners don’t realize that setting up an account on a specific social media platform means making that account a center for customer interaction. This is important because running a business as an individual or a small team can be overwhelming if you have too many fingers in too many pies.
You don’t want a disgruntled customer leaving a bad review because you failed to address their concern on a platform you don’t have time to engage with.
If you want to explore this, read our in-depth article on ways to choose the best social media platform for your business.
4. Create A Social Media Workflow
If you’re a small biz owner or creator, make a structure for social media usage. Otherwise, it is very easy to get sucked into more than the healthy dose of online engagement. You don’t want your business to take a backseat. Figure out if it’s just you handling social media or if you’d rather set up a team.
Customer service is typically the first department that self-employed business owners delegate to an employee. You could hire specialists or build an in-house design and content team from scratch.
Statusbrew is equipped to handle team collaborations, comment moderation, audience engagement, and more.
For starters, a content calendar is the simplest scheduling activity to undertake whether you’re an individual or you have a team managing the brand’s social media.
5. Figure Out The Algorithm
73% of marketers believe that their marketing efforts on social media platforms are “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business.
One of the critical factors in ensuring that you achieve engagement is understanding how the algorithms rank content on platforms. The algorithm of the application determines the placement of your content on the audience’s feed.
Many apps like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok favor short-form content. Whereas YouTube and Spotify see a lot of takers for vlogs and long-form instructional content. Analyzing user behavior to schedule posts at the optimum time can ensure your content reaches the intended audience.
But here’s the thing. Platforms keep tweaking their algorithms. So you have to revisit your strategy, and monitor engagement.
6. Repurpose Content
Planning your social media content while keeping different platforms in mind can help you recycle the original content. For example, a podcast on Spotify can be transcribed into a blog. This way, the user gets to choose their preferred way of consuming information.
The original content can be made into infographics or posts to be shared on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. With a good enough video production budget, you could create a YouTube video for the content, and promote it as reels on Instagram to gain traction across platforms.
Shoot the video, keeping in mind the difference in aspect ratio across apps. This way, the output still retains usability. This strategy also effectively ensures you’re getting the most from your investment in content.
As discussed before, different algorithms favor different content. So, posting a story on Instagram can serve as a sneak peek at a longer YouTube video. Even user-generated content such as reviews can be recycled to post as content.
7. Create A Focused Campaign
It is of paramount importance to know what your short-term and long-term goals are for the brand. Maybe you want to announce your presence in the market, drive traffic to your site, generate leads, or increase social media engagement.
Now is the stage where you define the content you want to share with your demographic on specific platforms. For example, Millenials and Gen Z could be your brand's target audience in the days running up to Halloween. Alternatively, you may choose a broader demographic around New Year’s.
Make sure you schedule posts in advance and moderate engagement, so the campaign goes to plan.No matter how small the campaign, set Key Performance Indicators across platforms to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.
Identifying metrics will help you focus on specifics and not be swayed by every number on your analytics report.
8. Develop Engagement Strategies
Now that you’ve created your campaign draft deciding how the brand will engage with customers is essential. For example, what communication channel do you want to establish if you’re hosting a product sale on your page? This has to be made clear to the user.
Some brands may not disclose the price on the post, which means that the customer has to DM (direct message) the brand’s page. This usually works on the bespoke, collectibles, or rare commodities market. Alternatively, a customer may comment on a post or message the brand with queries.
The social media manager needs to decide if there will be an automated reply, followed by the brand’s answer to the user’s question. The format and tone of the message have to reflect the brand voice.
If this task is delegated to an employee, they must be aware of the approval workflow and protocol to create content for the message.
It would be best if you also decided on what reciprocity tactics you can use to increase and retain customer engagement. Audience polls, for example, are great ways to achieve engagement and get real data about your audience. You also need to develop a crisis-handling protocol, should things go south. Preparedness is key.
Bonus Content: Social Media Automation: What It Is & Why Do You Need It
Identifying sister brands and complementary industry brands can help you network and possibly, scale up. Before you do that, it is essential to understand what value you can provide them. LinkedIn is a key market for professionals in the B2B segment who want to generate leads by tapping into known networks.
Here's where ‘social listening’ really opens up a lot of doors. Platforms like Quora, Reddit, and LinkedIn have people from varied backgrounds looking for information, recommendations, and the like. Identifying conversations to participate in, and crafting responses can put you or your brand in the spotlight.
Image Source: Brand24
For instance, brands in the food and gourmet industry can profit from networking, and coming together to create content that has mutual value.
10. Evaluate And Review Strategy
After you’ve set key metrics to monitor and analyze, see how they compare with the goals you’d set for the campaign. Depending on the analysis, you might have to rework your strategy and conduct A/B testing to see what works for your brand.
Your performance is a culmination of your campaign strategy and a lot of externalities, as well. It is crucial to evaluate the metrics, all things considered. If doing all that on your own seems daunting, using a social media management platform can help.
You can customize your reports to review metrics that matter to you. You can also understand your audience engagement across your entire social media portfolio. We are, first and foremost, in the business of making data work for you.
Here’s the takeaway
Whether you’re self-employed or a small business owner with a team, streamlining your workflow is key to making sure your social media strategy is effective. You can look into automating part of the workflow, so you can focus on other key areas of marketing and business.
Everything from curating ideas, scheduling and monitoring posts to moderating comments, engaging with an audience, and reviewing strategy is better when you have an all-in-one platform to operate from. Statusbrew is designed for this and more. It just might be the right fit.
Book a free demo
Statusbrew is an all-in-one social media management tool that supports Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and even Google My Business.
Can I find customers on social media?
Yes. This is one of the key objectives of creating an online brand presence. Social media offers a more effective user engagement opportunity compared to website landing pages and e-mail marketing. The leads generated from social media can be converted into sales with good customer relations practices.
What social media platforms should I be on?
Instagram and TikTok are places where you’ll find millennial and Gen Z audiences. Facebook marketing is ideal if you want to target an older demographic; LinkedIn is a great platform to target working professionals. Twitter is, overall, a great platform to get people to talk about your brand and drive traffic to your website. YouTube and Spotify are great for long-form/ in-depth content.
What should small businesses post on social media?
It helps to study your competitor’s online presence and target audience. Researching the kind of conversations relevant to your business and identifying user pain points and sentiments can help craft a strategy. You can look at content and visual references of similar brands to decide your brand language.
Should I create a separate social media page for my small business?
Creating a separate page (not a profile) for your business on Facebook, for example, ensures that you comply with the app guidelines and avoid getting your business removed. Going beyond individual apps’ terms and conditions for businesses, creating a business page on social media platforms is ideal. It helps streamline communication and provides clarity to prospective customers. Most of all, it helps curate brand identity.
How often should I post on my business page?
The numbers differ depending on who you ask, but posting 2-3x a week is considered ideal. The key is consistency and quality. Not to scare anybody, but posting too often may drive away your audience.
Can I post the same content on all my social media platforms?
For the most part, yes. Repurpose and redesign content, so it's suitable for the social media platforms that your brand is on. Redesigning content according to the app improves user experience and engagement. Let’s say you shoot a horizontal YouTube video. You would need to create another video output to make it suitable for reels as they are vertical.
Should I hire a social media manager for my business?
If your brand’s social media page also serves as a customer point of contact, it is important to respond within 24 hours (within one hour is peak customer care). Strategising and executing online content may be time consuming. You can look into hiring a social media manager if managing it yourself decreases work productivity.
Working with social media managers is advantageous owing to their expertise in online platforms. Social media management tools like Statusbrew can help you with automation and collaborate with your team to manage your brand's social media accounts.
- Social Media Strategy
- Small Business
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Explore the statusbrew range of social media tools.
Roshni K is Writer and Social Media Content Creator, who studies brands across industries. When she's not writing, she can be found hanging out on social media pages of brands she's curious about.
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How to Craft an Authentic Social Media Presence That Benefits Your Brand
- by Alexa Collins
- Apr 19, 2022
- 25 minute read
“Videos don’t have to go viral for you to do well,” says Ramona Gohil, founder of jewelry brand Rani & Co .
To perform well on social media, many use virality as the bar for success. But truthfully, the pieces of content that go viral for a brand don’t necessarily equal big sales.
As a small business, prioritizing authenticity over virality by posting content that you genuinely find interesting has a better chance of engaging existing and potential customers.
We went directly to entrepreneurs and social media experts and asked how smaller brands can make a dent in a social media landscape that’s always teeming with content.
- Choose the platforms that fit your audience
- Decide what kind of social media presence fits your brand
- Be authentic to who or what your brand stands for
- Poll your audience to see what they want to see more of
- Share customer stories and what your products mean to them
- Cross-post between platforms
- Batch posts to save time
- Use social platforms as sales channels
Meet the experts
1. Choose the platforms that fit your audience
While TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are all social media channels you can be active on as a business, Rachel Karten says that Instagram and TikTok are the priority platforms she’d recommend that businesses invest in right now.
“If you have a younger audience, TikTok is a great place to be. Instagram is still a really important place that almost acts as a website for your brand. A lot of people will go to an Instagram account before they even go to a website. Think about what your goals are, who your audience is, and where you want to be,” Rachel says, noting that older demographics are best reached on Facebook, and Pinterest is still extremely relevant.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Rachel Karten (@milkkarten)
2. Decide what kind of social media presence fits your brand
Aside from selecting the actual platforms where you’ll be active as a brand, what kind of content will you create? For example:
- If you sell food products, will you cook with them on reels to show how to use them in the kitchen?
- If you sell jewelry, will you create reels where you demonstrate how pieces move or sparkle in different types of light?
- If you sell thrifted or vintage items, will you build hype with weekly drops?
If you’re having trouble getting inspired, Rachel recommends looking at accounts from other industries or even logging off to do creative research. “I get a lot of inspiration from looking at old advertisements or old campaigns or going on a hike and just getting out in the world and getting off of social media,” she says.
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Omsom , a shop that sells flavorful packs of seasoning sauces that help home cooks to create restaurant-quality Asian dishes in under 20 minutes, has found tremendous success on TikTok and Instagram .
The brand posts reels that demonstrate how to cook with its meal starters, and uses its own branding design as a through-line. Followers can enjoy the making of mouthwatering dishes like a lemongrass chicken bánh mì or spicy mushroom fried rice. Or they can chuckle at relatable Reels like “When you’re mad but they ask you if you want to eat” or “POV: The friend who can’t cook is talking about what’s ‘missing’ from a dish.”
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Omsom (@omsom)
You don’t have to set in stone the types of content you’ll put out on each channel, but identifying the different buckets can be helpful as you set up a cadence for yourself.
One way to do this is by assigning roles to the different social media platforms that you use. Maybe on TikTok you share recipe reels, Instagram is for photos of the finished meal, and Twitter marketing is for real-time business updates. That’s what clothing shop TrashQueen does: its creative content lives on channels like Instagram and TikTok , but its business-oriented news stays on Twitter .
After many years of scrolling through expertly curated posts on Instagram, TikTok unleashed a thirst for authenticity—from followers and creators alike.
As you develop what you’ll share, consider whether you’re putting out content that you’d like or share yourself. For Rachel, the posts where the answer to that question is “yes” always outperform everything else.
“Shareability, more than ever on social media, is so important,” she says. “Whether it’s leaning into humor or useful reels that are recipes or just something that has added value that makes somebody say, ‘I’m going to add this to my story, I’m going to send this to a friend.’ Those types of cues from an algorithm perspective are so important right now.”
3. Be authentic to who or what your brand stands for
“We’re currently in a very personality-driven social media era, where people like following creators, they like TikTok, and like seeing people’s faces,” says Rachel.
“On Instagram I always feel like I have to look good and have to wear makeup, but I can literally just look like this on TikTok, no makeup on, my hair just tied up, and people just don’t judge you because it’s such an authentic platform,” says Ramona.
Andre’s social media following grew rapidly on TikTok because he shared a collection of educational content for others starting brands, kept up with current trends, and wasn’t afraid to share his struggles along the way.
“I told my story of who I am, where I came from, and then also put in the brand story. Those three things combined made it into this big TikTok page that you see now,” he says.
Megan Mensink, founder of curated jewelry brand Folklor , consistently shows up as her authentic self on Instagram Stories. “I’m sharing behind the scenes. I’m sharing what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. I’m sharing what’s coming up. I was always very transparent with my community and it was always a really safe space, so people could feel like they’re not alone,” Megan says.
The best part of this trend is that you don’t need a social media team or fancy equipment to get in on it. You just have to show up and be yourself. “Lean into your brand and your storytelling and your personality. Find yourself on the platforms by just participating,” Rachel says.
In case you haven't noticed, I don't have a Twitter strategy nor do I try to grow my account. I just tweet whatever I want, and I don't try to bait engagement. I truly believe that authenticity makes a massive difference. — Keval Shah | Ecommerce SEO 🛒 (@SEOKeval) April 6, 2022
When it comes to authenticity, it’s hard to top the real-time vulnerability that comes with going live on social media. For example, on TikTok right now, people want to see you pack their order live because it makes them feel more connected to both you and your brand.
TikTok and Instagram are powerful tools for addressing doubts or concerns from customers. You can sit with your followers and answer any questions they have about your products.
“One of the biggest things I like to do is go on TikTok live. Everyone who follows you can come in and ask you questions. They can learn more about you,” Andre says.
Andre also recommends hosting a QVC-style live show on TikTok. He puts his current collection of loungewear behind him and sells sweatshirts and sweatpants to an engaged audience. “It’s a great way to have a whole bunch of people come in, tell people about the products, what they do, why they’re going to love it, and what they can do with it,” he says. “And then while you’re on live promoting the product, people order in the background, and then you can pack those orders on live as well.”
@loungefitbrand How to sell out your brand #smallbusiness #BetterTogetherChallenge #clothingbrand #entrepreneur #manifestation #fashion ♬ Still Into You Drill - ShoBeatz
5. Poll your audience to see what they want to see more of
Ask your audience questions about the kinds of content they’d like to see, new products they want, or what questions they have for you. Instagram and TikTok have polling features, and on Twitter and Facebook you can ask for comments in threads.
@loungefitbrand I need some YouTube help! ASAP ♬ original sound - loungefit - Premium Loungewear
Ramona asked her audience what she should do with a few jewelry pieces with defects, and followers commented back asking for a sample sale. “You can learn some good stuff from your followers,” Ramona said.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Jewellery | Rani & Co. (@raniandco)
6. Share customer stories and what your products mean to them
“On Shopify, there is an option where people can add a note to their order, and people were actually starting to write notes on why they bought their jewelry,” says Ramona.
“It was a sentimental thing for them, so they would write notes, such as ‘I’ve just gone through a breakup,’ or ‘I’m having IVF treatments,’ or ‘This is for my mom.’ And they were really, really nice, powerful stories so I started sharing them on TikTok, and that really grew my platform.”
While she doesn’t share names, wanting to keep customers’ information private, Ramona will pack orders with a voiceover of why the customer purchased the item. “It’s really helped tell my brand story, and since then we’ve had so many people sharing their story, which is absolutely amazing.”
If you have customers writing in telling you why they purchased your product, what it means to them, or how useful they find it, those stories go a long way toward building trust with your community.
@raniandco Do you need energies from these? #crystalhealing #crystals #gemstonejewellery #jewellery #jewellerytok #moonstone #labradorite #anxiety ♬ Just a Cloud Away - Pharrell Williams
7. Cross-post between platforms
Cross-posting content between platforms can help you save time, and it can also help you generate more sales. For example, Ramona posts high-performing TikTok videos to Instagram, which serves two purposes: to keep that channel active and engaging, and to make more sales.
Because each platform is different, a post that performs poorly on one might drive sales on another. For example, a video that Ramona posted about Bridgerton generated more sales on Instagram than it did on TikTok, because it’s just a different audience. “It's not always easy to tell, but you just have to keep putting content out there and see what works for you,” she says.
Sometimes, one social media platform can help you grow a following on another. That was the case for Ramona, who used Instagram to promote her jewelry brand in the days before TikTok launched. TikTok has been a major source of Rani & Co’s growth since the brand created an account at the end of 2020, and the account helped increase the brand’s Instagram followers by 15,000.
@raniandco How many times 🤯?! @raniandco #jewellery #jewellerylover #jewellerybusiness #jewellerytok #gloriasteinem #labradorite #gemstonejewellery #womenownedbusiness ♬ Just a Cloud Away - Pharrell Williams
8. Batch posts to save time
Especially if you run your business yourself, running all aspects of it plus showing up every day on various social media channels can be draining, overwhelming, and sometimes just not possible.
For entrepreneurs, Rachel recommends batching your content to take some of the stress and pressure away. Choose a day where you’re going to film all of your reels or shoot all of your photos, and then either publish them over the next week or two, or use a scheduling tool like Buffer or Sprout Social to do it for you.
9. Use social platforms as sales channels
There’s a big benefit to building an engaged community on social media, because ultimately you can use it to make sales. When he first started loungefit., Andre saw 80% of his sales come in through TikTok.
“TikTok is the main driving force when it comes to making sales for the brand,” he says. “And it’s just so easy to go viral on there. You might make 10 videos and they’ll all do badly, but on the 11th, it’ll just pop off. And next thing you know, a bunch of sales come in. But it doesn’t mean that every time you go viral, you get sales. My lower-ranking videos, the videos with 5,000 views or 10,000 views, get more sales than a video that has 400,000 views.”
Aside from using trial and error to figure out the types of content that generates the most sales for you, there are a couple of things that can help you turn social media into a sales channel.
- Chat with customers via direct messages. Tools like Shopify Inbox can help you engage with customers and answer their questions via live chat.
- Link products on Instagram posts. Shoppable Instagram posts make it easy for customers to check out a product they like and purchase it without ever leaving the app.
- Set up TikTok shopping. Make it easy for shoppers to toggle between your feed and shoppable items. This feature is currently exclusive to Shopify stores.
- Run post-purchase surveys. Ask customers how they found out about your shop so you can double down on the channels that perform best .
- Share social proof. Did you get a rave review from a customer? Share it on your social channels for prospective shoppers to see.
- Showcase user-generated content. Similarly, if you get tagged or sent photos of customers using your products, let your followers see that, too.
💵 Cha-ching! What is Social Commerce? Tips, Tools, and Trends for 2022
Keep experimenting with different types of content
The social media landscape is perpetually changing. Chances are, if you create a piece of content that you feel is interesting and engaging, your followers will like it too.
Social media poses a great opportunity to get to know your customers on a more personal level. If you have the time, getting to know them and understanding their needs can help you create better content—and products—overall.
Ready to create your business? Start your free trial of Shopify—no credit card required.
Social media presence faq, how do you get social media presence.
- Create a social media strategy: Develop a strategy for how you will use social media for your business. Decide which platforms you will use, how often you will post, what type of content you will share, and who will be in charge of managing your accounts.
- Establish a brand identity: Establish a consistent brand identity across all of your social media accounts. This includes using the same profile picture, cover photo, and profile description.
- Post regularly: Post regularly on your social media accounts to keep your followers engaged and interested in your business.
- Listen to your followers: Make sure to listen to what your followers are saying and respond to their comments and questions. This will help to build relationships with your followers and show them that you are attentive and responsive.
- Create and share content: Create and share content that is relevant to your business and your target audience. This could include blog posts, infographics, videos, and more.
- Use paid advertising: Invest in paid advertising to reach a wider audience and gain more followers.
- Analyze and optimize: Analyze your performance on social media and look for ways to optimize your approach. This could include testing different types of content or adjusting your posting frequency.
Why is it important to have a social media presence?
What is a positive social media presence, how do i manage my social media presence.
- Set up your accounts. Start by setting up social media accounts for your business or brand on the platforms that are the most relevant to your target audience.
- Establish a posting schedule. Decide how often you want to post, what type of content you’ll share, and when you’ll post.
- Develop engaging content. Create content that is interesting, informative, and relevant to your target audience.
- Monitor your accounts. Set up notifications to alert you when someone mentions or engages with your accounts.
- Interact with your audience. Respond to comments and messages in a timely manner and engage with your followers to build relationships.
- Measure your performance. Use analytics tools to track your performance and adjust your strategy as needed.
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How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Your Small Business in 8 Steps: A Complete Guide
When it comes to social media success, a little planning goes a long way. Developing a strong social media strategy for small business will eliminate a lot of the guesswork from your marketing efforts and ensure that the time and resources you invest deliver the best return.
The effectiveness of social media marketing is undeniable; the problem is determining how to focus on it when budgets and people are limited. The key levers for establishing a strong social media presence for your small business are to know who you’re talking to, establish goals, focus on the right platforms, analyse your competition, and carefully deploy your resources by determining where they will have the greatest impact.
As a small business owner, you don’t have a marketing team prepared to tackle every platform. That’s why we’ve gathered all the details you need to help you nail your social media strategy in 2022 and beyond.
Table of Contents
- The importance of social media for small businesses
1. Set SMART goals
2. identify social media goals metrics.
- Social media analytics and reporting for small business
1. Understand your audience
2. assess your competition.
- 3. Define your brand look and feel
4. Establish KPIs and benchmarks
5. do your research, 6. focus on the right social media platforms, 7. determine your social media posting frequency.
- 8. Create a social media content calendar
1. Consider user-generated content (UGC)
2. find content inspiration, 3. use social media scheduling and automation to free up more time for engagement, final thoughts, the importance of social media for small businesses.
If you work on a small marketing team, are the sole marketing person at your company, or manage all aspects of your business, you understand what it’s like to wear many hats. With a plethora of deliverables to push out to keep your small business running, social media marketing is an essential part of any type of promoting your brand on social platforms.
A recent analysis by Kepios shows that there were more than 4.62 billion social media users around the world in January 2022; that’s 58.4% of the total global population!
Social media user numbers have also seen strong growth over the past 12 months, with 424 million new users joining social media since last year.
This makes social media a powerful platform for connecting directly with an audience to build brand awareness and brand loyalty for small businesses focused on community and individual customers. Even better, social media is an effective lead generation platform. You can create content and resources that will add value to your prospects and customers while also cultivating their brand affinity.
Identifying social media goals for your small business
By defining goals, you can point to the specific steps and actions you’re taking to meet the needs of your business. To get the most out of your social media marketing activity, it’s important to align business objectives with social media goals. Here’s what to keep in mind when setting social media goals for small businesses:
The SMART goal-setting framework is insanely popular, and it’s one of the most recommended social media marketing strategies for small businesses. In case you aren’t familiar, SMART is an acronym that stands for the following:
- Specific : Your goals should be clear, simple and defined.
- Measurable : This is where analytics come in. You want a goal that has one or more metrics.
- Achievable : Is it achievable, or is it not possible within your resources?
- Realistic : With your current resources of time and money, is it possible to achieve your goals?
- Time-sensitive : Every goal needs a time frame, whether it’s one year or several months.
Now, it’s time to identify the metrics you’d like to assign to your goals. Business objectives defined through specific and measurable results serve as a compass for your team, directing you in the right direction to help you achieve larger goals.
Social media analytics and reporting for small business
Setting goals is one thing, but monitoring your performance to evaluate success is quite another. That’s why it’s critical to use social media analytics to determine what’s moving the needle for your small business
Several social media platforms deliver analytics on your social media presence, but you’ll have to invest in a social media management platform if you want more in-depth analysis, cross-network analysis, and cross-profile analysis, among others.
Some of the most important social media metrics that you can track are the following:
- Engagements: The number of times an individual has interacted with your message, including actions such as Likes, Favourite, Shares, Retweets, Replies and Follows.
- Impressions: These refer to the number of times an individual saw your message.
- Engagement rates: The number of engagements divided by the number of impressions.
- Visits: The number of times someone visited your profile page.
- Followers: Refers to how many users follow you on social media, usually shown as increasing or decreasing over time.
- Mentions: The number of times your handle or brand was mentioned on social.
Find the best time to post, track your follower growth, and understand what content works best with post and account analytics.
Related: Check our latest blog to find out the best time to post on TikTok
How to create a social media strategy for small businesses in 8 steps
Using social media for small businesses is all about knowing your audience and posting about what matters to them. Posting useful material that helps your customers or clients in some way is the best way to increase reach and engagement and grow your social media presence . Once you know who you’re talking to (demographic, interests, behaviours), do some research on the types of accounts they follow, as well as the types of posts that they typically enjoy and share. This will give you a better picture of what they value.
Instead of posting generic content, be clear on why you’re publishing what you are. In other words, if you post helpful content, people will be more likely to engage with it. Think about why you are loyal to particular brands and what the reasons are other than their product. Apply the same logic to your small business and determine exactly what your ideal audience expects from you – and what you could offer them that others can’t.
An essential part of a social media strategy for small businesses is checking out your competition’s social presence. There are two reasons why competitor reviews are important:
- The performance of your competitors on platform-specific channels can be an indicator as to whether it’s a platform worth using for your own small business.
- Reviewing their content (good and bad) can also help influence your ideas.
The idea here isn’t to just replicate a competitor’s content strategy. Instead, you should do a competitor review . The goal is to determine what forms of content work and which ones don’t. This can help you understand a competitor’s strengths and limitations, as well as what people anticipate from a brand in your same area.
You probably already have a good idea about who your competitors are. If not, an easy way to find competitors is to take your most popular keywords and type them into a search browser, like Google. For instance, if your small business is a barbershop, you might search for “barbershop [insert area name]” and see what is returned.
You may use the search results to visit competitor websites and check to see which social channels they’re using, how often they publish, and what kind of information they’re posting. Soon, you’ll be able to identify a pattern of which social media networks are most popular, and which types of content perform best.
3 . Define your brand look and feel
Your brand voice is similar to your company’s personality; it’s how you communicate with your customers. And it may differ slightly from one platform to the next. For example, consider how would you talk about your business, products, or services to a friend as you refine your brand’s tone of voice.
If you don’t know how to measure your social media marketing goals, you’ll never reach them. You must understand which metrics to examine, how to interpret them, and what to do with the information gleaned from them.
If your small business already has social media accounts, it’s critical to benchmark your current performance to understand the outcomes of your previous efforts. This also allows you to compare future strategies to prior results and evaluate if your performance is improving.
Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks will allow you to track your small business’ progress and measure the results of your social media efforts. The most important KPIs will depend on your goals and the social media platforms that you’re using. For example, if you’re looking to drive awareness for your brand you might track your reach and impressions, or if it’s about increasing interest in a particular product, you could measure website referrals.
If traffic is your objective, using keyword research tools is another way to optimize your content and attract highly targeted visitors to your website.
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A competitive analysis is an examination of your competition to determine their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they compare to your own.
It’s a method of comparing your own results to those of industry heavyweights so you can spot areas for improvement and strategies that aren’t performing as well as they should.
A social media competitive analysis of social media, in particular, will assist you in:
- First, determine who your social media competitors are.
- Learn which social media platforms they use and how they use them.
- Determine how effective their social media strategy is.
- Compare your social media results to those of your competitors.
- Recognize the social threats to your company.
- Finally, look for flaws in your own social media marketing plan.
Competitor analysis on social media isn’t just about learning about your competitors. It will also provide you with information about your small business and your target market.
Identify the right social media platforms for your business: Starting with platforms that make the most sense for your business will save you time and keep your content calendar from becoming overwhelming. Understanding how each social media platform works and what type of content to use on each is key to a successful social media strategy for small business. Here’s an overview of how to use each social media platform to your advantage:
- Instagram: As a visual platform, Instagram is the perfect platform for showcasing your products or services in action with engaging posts and video formats .
- Facebook: Facebook, is an all-purpose platform where you can share photos, company updates and information, videos, and other educational content to increase brand awareness and trust.
- Twitter: Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to send and receive short messages as well as shareable media, making it ideal for company announcements, articles or blog posts, and customer service.
- TikTok : Small businesses are using this social platform to show how their products work, share behind-the-scenes, give tips, and join trending challenges.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great platform for building your network, raising brand awareness, and attracting new talent to join your business.
- Pinterest: A visual-based platform, Pinterest is used for “scrapbooking” or, in other words, saving content by “pinning” photos or videos to a virtual bulletin board. Perfect for showcasing your brand´s look and feel.
- YouTube: The perfect social platform for more in-depth, educational content, such as styling tips, interviews, tutorials, and longer-form videos.
Your small business doesn’t need to be actively posting on every network. While it may seem ideal to have a strong presence on all of the major social media platforms, if you try to manage too many channels, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin.
To optimize your social media resources, choose a few platforms where your audience is most engaged, and commit to updating those platforms regularly. You can use social media management tools Like Hopper HQ to help you schedule posts, reply to comments, and engage with your audience frequently.
When building a social media plan for small businesses, many business owners worry about how often they should publish. Of course, it depends on the social media platforms through which you communicate with your audience.
According to a study performed by the Statista Research Department in 2021, here are the experts’ recommendations on how frequently you should post on social media:
- Instagram : Creating daily stories and sharing regularly will boost connection and engagement.
- Facebook : If you publish on this platform, aim to do so once a day.
- Twitter : When you know you have an online audience, plan a lot of tweets each day.
- LinkedIn : LinkedIn is a powerful business networking tool, which is the reason why it is so crucial to make meaningful content contributions at least once a week.
Establish a target for how often you’ll post and monitor how it goes. Check in frequently to see what kind of feedback and engagement your activity is getting from your audience.
8 . Create a social media content calendar
A social media calendar is a list of your upcoming posts on social media. If you’re using Hopper HQ or another social media management tool, you can use the calendar planner. Alternatively, you can organize your upcoming posts in the form of a spreadsheet, Google calendar, or interactive dashboard.
For each post, a social media calendar usually includes a combination of the following elements:
- It will go live on the specified date and time.
- The social media account and network where it will be shared
- The links and tags required for copy and creative assets (photos or videos).
A social media content calendar takes a lot of the guesswork out of social media posting and having one will provide many benefits for your small business, such as:
- Helps you focus on goals and spot gaps: Your social media posting should have a goal in mind. If you are posting just to post, then you will never know if your social media is working.
- Social media content calendars save time for small businesses: Content calendars may appear to be a good idea, but as a business owner, you may believe you don’t have time for them. But creating a content calendar takes less time than posting individual social posts on a daily basis. You’d get into a rhythm if you sat down and did this for a few hours.
- Create content with higher quality: If you are creating a content calendar, you are prioritizing your marketing and social media strategy. This will result in higher quality posts.
- Reduces mistakes: A content calendar will help you avoid major mistakes that can occur when you do social media at the last minute. You’ll be able to spot problems because you’ll have more time to review your content. It’s also a lot easier to tweak and adjust to changes in your small business.
> Video, gallery & image posts > Calendar, feed & grid preview > Instagram, Facebook & Twitter
Top social media tips for small businesses
Now that you have your social media strategy in place, you will want to invest some of your time and effort to stay on top of the latest social media marketing trends. Here are the social media tips you need to take your social media strategy to the next level:
As a small business owner , you understand the importance of positive customer reviews and social media posts about your brand. Shoppers want to do business with brands they can trust, and reviews are an important part of that process as they send the right signals.
User generated content , also known as UGC, is content made by customers of a brand and often used by companies in their marketing activity. Consider it as a form of free advertisement from satisfied consumers.
There are various types of user-generated content you might use in your social media strategy, for instance:
- Reviews : When your customers leave positive reviews on your site , social media, or elsewhere, they’re essentially marketing your business for free. You could reshare these reviews via your own social media accounts to spread the word.
- Contests : Contests and giveaways are excellent ways to raise brand awareness. Use terms and conditions that will draw attention to your account, such as requiring your participants to follow your page, tag a certain number of people, and share your post in their story.
- Gamification/Interaction : Gamification transforms the customer experience into a game, engaging your audience and encouraging them to stick with your small business. For instance, you can engage your audience in answering polls, quizzes and questions, and in return, they can receive rewards such as access to special benefits, discounts, and more.
- Videos : Video content is interesting, relatable, and easy to share. Ask for video reviews of your products or services from customers and your audience to post on social media so that others can see their genuine feedback.
You can also brainstorm a few ways you can leverage your audience to craft original content. This could include asking them questions or gathering opinions through polls.
The industry can be slow, the market can be slow, or the product or service you provide doesn’t change much. It may appear that there is nothing more to say, but this is never the case. Sometimes, you just need some fresh inspiration to get back on track.
- Take a look around
It’s all too easy to become engrossed in blogs, social media, and other digital platforms that we forget to look up every now and then. However, checking in with the real world every now and then can give your content a new perspective. Also, don’t give up on incorporating your own daily challenges into your content.
- Refresh your industry perspective
You’re not alone if you think you’ve said everything there is to say about your industry. However, you are incorrect as well. When you change your perspective a little, you can find new perspectives on topics that have already been covered extensively.
- Attempt a new method
There is no one-size-fits-all method for coming up with new content concepts. If your routine isn’t inspiring you, try a different approach, such as blocking out all distractions for a while or gathering your team and putting your heads together. You might discover that a method you’ve never tried before is the most effective.
Social media automation uses third-party tools and software to execute social media-related tasks on your behalf. For example, you can use social media management tools to schedule posts, analyse metrics, and feedback on any mentions of your brand on social media.
Every small business that uses social media automation can benefit, whether they’re automating to save time or increase product sales.
Here are great ways to make your social media strategy more automated:
- Schedule content for social media: Instead of setting reminders to post at certain times, automation tools can schedule those posts on your behalf. You can create a queue of evergreen content to publish throughout the week without needing someone on-hand to publish it.
- Study hashtags: It’s no secret that hashtags are one of the most effective ways for businesses to reach out to new customers. Hashtag search features are available on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and potential followers are likely to use (or follow) those hashtags to find new content.
- Collaborate with influencers: Influencer marketing has exploded in popularity in recent years. Instagram has fueled the growth, and accounts with more than 5,000 followers are typically invited to work with brands.
- Make use of social media listening tools: It takes time to manually check for brand mentions; however, there are several social listening tools available that can do it for you. When someone uses your brand name but doesn’t tag you, you’ll get a notification, allowing you to jump into the conversation in a matter of minutes.
- Automate social media reporting: One of the most time-consuming tasks is social media reporting, especially when you have several different metrics to pull together and analyze from various social media analytics tools, each with its own data organization systems in place.
Fortunately, social media automation tools like Hopper HQ can handle this for you. These automation tools combine metrics from each platform you use and package them in an easy-to-understand and, more importantly, actionable format. Learn how to choose the best social media management tool for your business here .
Visually plan your social content. Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn + Pinterest
Regardless of your industry, product, or service, there’s a social media audience for your small business. Following the steps outlined in this post will assist you in developing a social media marketing strategy that attracts them.
Remember to create attainable goals, post the right content to the right people at the right time, and track your progress along the way. Although social media is a long-term investment, getting it properly can have short and long-term rewards for your small business.
Understanding how each social media platform works and what type of content to use on each is key to a successful social media strategy for small businesses. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tiktok, and Pinterest can help you get started quickly.
The 10 steps to create a successful social media strategy:
- Understand your audience
- Assess your competition
- Define your brand look and feel
- Establish KPIs and benchmarks
- Do your research
- Focus on the right social media platforms
- Determine your social media posting frequency
- Create a social media content calendar
- Use social media management tools
- Use analytics to track and optimize performance
Social media is a powerful platform for small businesses to connect with their audience and build brand awareness. Even better, social media is an effective lead generation platform. You can create content and resources that will add value to your prospects and customers while also cultivating their brand affinity.
By day, Lily López is a Content Writer and Marketer at Envato, a world-leading online community for creative assets, tools and talent. By night, a Spatial Design student. She’s based in Tijuana, Mexico, and has worked with several global clients for the past 7 years developing projects involving Content Operations, Data Analytics, Copywriting, Outreach, and Voice-over productions. When not working, Lily can be found hanging out at the nearest flea market.
Visually plan your social content. Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn + Pinterest.
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13 Social Media Strategies To Boost Your Small Business Online
- Author: Wendy Dessler
- Date: November 12, 2020
Social media is a powerful tool for finding new customers and moving them through the sales funnel. While all businesses should have a social media presence, the value of social media for small business cannot be understated.
Here are some effective strategies to use social media for small business marketing to stand out in the local market.
1. Choose the Right Platforms
Success with social media starts with choosing the right platforms for your business. Experts used to advise that businesses reserve their name on every platform, using them all as much as possible. However, that advice has evolved over the years. It’s better to choose the platform your customers use rather than spreading your marketing resources too thin.
For example, if you work with corporate professionals or service B2B clients, it’s sensible to invest time in LinkedIn. However, if you own a local pizzeria, LinkedIn likely isn’t the right fit for your business.
Determining which platform is right for your business ultimately leads back to understanding your ideal customer. Consider their demographics and behaviors to determine the best way to reach them. Start with two platforms that are in alignment with your customer base, then scale as you become more comfortable in planning and executing social media campaigns.
2. Develop a Simple Content Calendar
A content calendar is a guideline that helps you map out a posting schedule for the months ahead with minimal effort. This document doesn’t have to be too fancy or over-the-top to be effective. You can create a content calendar in Excel or Google spreadsheets by listing the platforms and dates, then filling in whether you’ll have curated or custom content. Social media scheduling programs like HootSuite also have convenient planning options.
Start by outlining which days you’ll be sharing promotional content, links, or graphics. You can also use a list of day-specific hashtags to guide the planning process. For example, your small business could use #TipTuesday or #WednesdayWisdom to share a small piece of advice or a fact that’s relevant to your business. The Socially Sorted blog by Donna Moritz also features a ton of content ideas by month.
By creating consistency in your content calendar, you make it easier to get into a posting routine that doesn’t eat up your time and energy. According to a case study by Coschedule , Disney Parks has a rigid content calendar that includes up to five tweets and two Facebook posts per day. Their goal is to create content that initiates a sense of FOMO — fear of missing out.
3. Showcase Your People
The best social media for small business marketing is that which allows you to connect with your audience on a personal level. Fortunately, small businesses have the benefit when appealing to a local market as they can add a face to the name. This consideration is especially important in small towns, where personal connections are essential.
Rather than presenting an entirely polished content calendar that’s reminiscent of the more prominent brands, let your company culture shine through. Hootsuite is an industry leader in showcasing their employees on social media, dedicating the #hootsuitelife hashtag to their content.
Let your audience know that they aren’t talking to a robot; they’re talking to Darren from their local bakery.
Don’t just share posed photos of your goods and offerings; show those candid moments of employees working late to plan for the holiday rush.
In other words, show the humanity of your business.
This approach to local social media for small business owners ties into a growing appreciation for authenticity in marketing. In a recent survey, 90% of consumers indicated that authenticity is an important factor when deciding where they spend their money.
Small businesses have a unique opportunity to resonate with the audience and create a personal connection so that when a customer walks through the door for the first time, they already recognize the people inside. A little transparency and humanity go a long way in building brand trust.
4. Become a Storyteller
Another important consideration when creating a local social media strategy is your company story. Creating a connection that resonates with a local audience is why small businesses need social media. Storytelling creates an emotional response and a deeper connection than active selling. This consideration is especially important for businesses targeting Gen Z as they come into the consumer age, as traditional marketing is less effective with them.
Consider the intention behind your non-promotional posts and content. The best social media content creators use business goals and values as a guide to developing relevant content. Dive into the past and use nostalgia and memory to resonate with a local audience. Consider how your business came to be and what matters.
Becoming a storyteller on social media is effective for two core reasons. First, it creates an emotional connection with your audience and builds brand trust. Secondly, social media algorithms are fueled by engagement. The longer someone reads your post , the wider your reach will become.
IKEA Canada ’s designer series is a fantastic example of storytelling in social media. They leverage expert advice to solve problems for consumers, with sequential graphics that boost engagement and offer practical guidance.
5. Ask Engaging Questions
Another aspect of engagement in regards to the social media algorithm is the number of comments on a single post. One effective strategy for increasing the number of comments on a post is to ask engaging questions.
Start a caption with a question about someone’s preferences or experiences before diving into a story or description. Add a strong call-to-action (CTA) inviting people to share their answers in the comments. This strategy improves engagement triggers and also builds trust and loyalty by giving the platform to your followers. In other words, you’re facilitating a conversation rather than speaking at people.
You can also boost engagement by asking your audience to choose between various options and share their opinion. For example, sharing a picture of tacos beside a photo of pizza and asking the audience which is better is sure to spark a conversation.
Incorporating question-based posts is also a smart strategy leading into a promotional post. Schedule an organic promotional post to follow a high-engagement post and expand your reach organically . Social media consultant Sophia Parra uses this strategy both in her branded media and with clients. Adding a simple “do you agree?” to a quote post is a fantastic way to boost engagement by encouraging people to interact with your post.
6. Curate Complementary Content
Curating content is equally as important as creating original content. In some ways, it’s more important, as it requires fewer resources while still connecting with your audience.
The key thing to remember when curating content is not to share something from competitors. While this consideration seems intuitive, many businesses mistakenly do so.
When curating content, look for articles and videos that are relevant to your business. For example, a small grocer could share high-traffic recipe videos that feature the ingredients that are on sale this week at the store. This approach elicits more engagement than a text post outlining what’s on sale and also solves a common problem that many consumers face: lack of inspiration in the kitchen.
Another important consideration when curating content is to add context when sharing. Don’t share a post without telling people why or adding a compelling question to the caption. Every social media post should have intention and context when trying to connect with an audience.
Precision Nutrition will often curate content from other industry leaders with similar values. This helps fill their content calendar while reiterating its brand mission.
7. Partner with Other Local Businesses
Another effective way to approach social media for small business is to partner with other local businesses . Again, it’s important to partner with complementary businesses rather than competition. For example, a gym and spa could cross-promote one another’s posts as they operate in the same overarching industry without detracting from each others’ business.
Networking and forging connections with other small businesses is crucial when taking a local approach to social media.
World-famous brands Airbnb and Flipboard successfully campaigned together to generate 39 million impressions. Each business saw an opportunity to help each other out, and the partnership yielded incredible results.
8. Host Engagement-Based Contests
Social media contests are nothing new. However, many small businesses erroneously focus on likes and shares that extend beyond their target audience. While these contests temporarily increase reach and engagement, they rarely convert into conversions or loyalty.
Rather than focusing on likes and shares, post a contest that requires intentional engagement from your audience. For example, a restaurant can post a local heroes contest that asks followers to tag someone they believe deserves a gift card and explain why.
While your business could still require likes and shares to fulfill the contest requirements, promoting active engagement ensures that your audience has to intentionally interact with your brand.
It’s also integral to follow the contest guidelines for each social media platform, as they vary from one to the next.
Flipboard and Airbnb’s strategic partnership was also an engagement-based contest, in which participants were asked to “heart” posts that resonated with them. One lucky participant won a trip to the experience they had interacted with.
9. Develop an 80:20 Blend
If your followers feel like they’re constantly being sold to, they won’t be your followers for long. One of the secrets of social media for small business is the prioritization of giving rather than asking. In social media, giving refers to sharing engaging content that is relevant and keeps people around. Asking is promoting sales and prioritizing conversions.
When you develop your content calendar, aim for an 80:20 blend of engaging versus promotional content. The 80:20 rule is nothing new in marketing — it’s just evolved for new outreach methods.
The same theory applies to various marketing activities, from email marketing to in-person networking. The goal is to build engaged relationships and customer trust so that when a customer is ready to spend, your business is the first one they consider.
GRRRL Clothing is a brand that has mastered its blend of engaging to sales-oriented content, with one in every six Instagram posts being conversion-driven. The rest highlight user-generated content and information about their core mission: female empowerment.
10. Respond and Interact
Don’t let your customers speak into a vacuum. Every comment deserves a response. As mentioned before, the modern consumer wants to know that there’s a human behind the brand and that their time and interaction is valued.
Set aside time to respond to each comment on your social media posts, even if it’s just to share an emoji or gif. If possible, use this exercise as an opportunity to boost your engagement by starting a conversation. Ask someone a compelling question based on their comment to elicit more comments and build a rapport.
Celebrity coach Christie Miller takes time to respond to every comment on her business’s social media pages. Why? To continue building a trusting relationship that leads to sales while working the algorithms.
11. Ask for Reviews
Gathering business reviews has long been a passive activity for small businesses. Rather than asking for reviews and testimonials, many small businesses leave it up to the customer to take the initiative. There are various reasons why this is no longer enough.
While Google My Business isn’t a social media platform, it plays a vital role in Google rankings and business management at a local level. This platform ties into Google Maps, which is developing a social media interface . Claiming your GMB page and optimizing for Google Maps ensures that your local business shows up when someone searches a restaurant, grocery store, car repair shop, etc. in their area.
Reviews play an integral role in how a business is ranked on Google Maps. Furthermore, reviews on Facebook tie into the overall digital marketing ecosystem. Thus, asking for reviews on social media can help improve your small business visibility at a local level.
Additionally, reviews are an important part of social proof. They show qualified leads that other customers have taken the leap with your business and had no regrets.
Finally, you can use testimonials and reviews to fill your content calendar. Drop these into a simple graphic template or use a screenshot to create simple-yet-effective social media posts that drive traffic.
The key to asking for customer reviews is to make the process as simple as possible. Provide the link and simple instructions so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by the request. Create a follow-up process that ensures every satisfied customer gets asked to share their experience.
Fly Guys Construction is a small business that implemented a review follow-up process to enhance their visibility on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. By using a quick response, they validate the review and showcase their responsiveness to new leads.
12. Use Eye-Catching Visuals
Some platforms are more visually-driven than others. Instagram, in particular, is built around compelling visuals with links largely taken out of the equation.
However, using eye-catching visuals can make an impact on any social media platform. It’s these clear, stunning images that stop people from scrolling and pique their curiosity.
Use crisp, clear photos when posting about your business. Keep in mind that stock photos are readily available to showcase your intentions when an original photo isn’t feasible. For example, a local grocer can use a stock photo of pineapple when promoting a sale. A legal office can use stock photos of desks and people conversing when providing business updates.
Having clear, visually-appealing imagery tends to stand out more than text-heavy posts. Images also trigger a different cognitive response that leads to better information retention.
In one study, one group of consumers were presented with information via text, and another received the same information with a relevant image. Only 10% of the group with no image remembered the information three days later. Conversely, 65% of the image group retained the information.
Lush Cosmetics is the cream of the crop when it comes to using compelling visuals. Their bold colors and consistent themes make their social media pages a work of art.
13. Focus on Quality and Consistency
Many small businesses get overwhelmed when putting together a content calendar as they know more posts means more engagement. When it comes to crafting a small business social media strategy, quality, and consistency trump frequency every time. It’s more effective to have one post per day than to have a week of solid posting followed by a week of radio silence.
Start by committing to one well-crafted post per platform per day . Keep in mind that you can cross-post with minimal fanfare by adjusting the image settings and ensuring your word count is acceptable.
During the first few weeks of execution, focus solely on building that posting habit rather than concerning yourself with engagement levels. It’s all about building a strong foundation for growth.
The Fabulous App — a subscription-based wellness business— checks all the boxes when it comes to social media marketing to drive more customers. Rather than posting multiple times per day, they share a single post daily and focus on consistency in timing and branding.
The key to developing a strong social media strategy for small businesses that appeal to local customers is knowing what your customer wants and needs, then fulfilling those opportunities.
Set goals for your social media growth and consider what steps you must take to get there. When you picture your social media platforms a year from now, what do you want them to look like? Now, what will you do to make your vision a reality?
Interested in learning more about social media? Check out one of our social media strategy conferences .
Other resources you might enjoy:
- 7 Brands Achieving Killer Results on Facebook
- How to Create an Effective B2B Social Media Strategy
- The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram Stories in Marketing
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Social Media Marketing Is Essential For Local Businesses. Here’s Why.
Why should you invest time and money in social media marketing for your local business? You could be missing out on a sizable audience if you don't.
Statista reports that the number of Facebook users in the U.S. (as of July 2021) has reached a whopping 302 million , and this number will keep growing exponentially in the foreseeable future.
Combine this with the fact that the overall U.S. population is around 334 million , and you can derive that virtually two in three U.S. citizens are actively using Facebook.
This social media platform and others like it can help you substantially grow your local business… if you do it right.
So how exactly can your business and specifically its local search presence benefit from being present on social media channels?
Before you decide whether you’re ready to dive into the world of social media marketing , let’s dive a bit deeper into why you should.
Why Local Businesses Should Invest Time & Money In Social Media Marketing
We know that social media is not a search ranking factor. However, there are plenty of indirect ways that social media supports SEO .
You’re probably already crazy-busy promoting your business.
Adding even more marketing tasks might seem a bit like overkill.
However, neglecting to incorporate social media into your marketing plan can cost you – not just in terms of new potential customers who don’t know you but also in terms of retaining your existing customers.
And make no mistake, your competitors are out there sniffing around and happy to have them.
By building a relationship with your clients, your chances of retaining them increase, and so does their potential lifetime value.
Now let these other compelling arguments convince you even more.
“Hey, Does Anyone Know A Good…?”
Folks on social are constantly asking their friends for recommendations for almost everything, ranging from local restaurants to car repairing services.
Social media platforms (as the marketing machines that they are) can help you be a part of these conversations.
For example, Facebook allows users to tag their favorite brands when they want to promote them.
Besides, when uploading a photo of yourself in a shop, hotel, amusement park, car dealership, etc., you can tag the exact location where the photo has been taken.
Here’s a quick example of Facebook recommendations in action:
See the name of the brand in the photo caption?
This is exactly the reason why it is so important to have a Facebook Business page and update it with fresh company information regularly.
It also won’t hurt to switch on the customer testimonials feature and consistently keep in touch with followers.
Is there a single right way to fill in the company info on Facebook?
Not really, but following these recommendations could help you get started.
- Contact information (phone number, address, email address).
- Open hours.
- Price range (important if you own a brick-and-mortar store, a restaurant, a cafe, etc.).
Facebook also recommends adding a little story of your brand – it helps form a deeper connection with customers.
How much information should you add?
Not too much; it shouldn’t be an essay. In fact, take a look at Sugar Hill Creamery, an ice cream parlor in Harlem:
As you can see, there’s just enough information to introduce the brand and not overwhelm page visitors.
“Worst Service Ever!”
Even if you aren’t active on social media, people will talk about your business.
Customers share their feedback, good and bad, and you need to be aware of it.
- If it’s good, great! You can capitalize on that satisfied customer by leveraging their praise to get more clients or have your happy ones come back for more.
- If it’s bad, great! You can control the conversation by showing your excellent customer service skills. Turn the grumpy complainer into a blazing fan by really listening to their issue and solving it.
It usually isn’t about making a mistake – mistakes are inevitable for any business.
Really, it’s about how you correct it.
And a bonus? You learn more about what your customers really think and improve your business accordingly.
Know what happens when you aren’t there?
Complaints go viral, and your competitor offers to help out your customer – because they were listening.
Cut Your Ad Costs By Switching To Local Advertising
Social media platforms were not built for their users but for advertisers.
Location is one of the many specific demographic aspects you can target your ads on.
If you laser target your ads on the people who are based in your area, their interests, and some other demographic details, you will achieve the highest customer potential with the lowest costs.
Furthermore, by tweaking the targeting and the content of your ads, you learn more about ideal leads than any survey can tell you for a fraction of the cost!
And what if you don’t use these ads features? You keep firing aimlessly while your competition targets the golden nuggets.
Remarketing is another option to consider.
Let’s say a person visited your website but didn’t purchase anything.
Don’t fret just yet – by adding a Facebook Pixel (a feature in Facebook Ads) you can retarget such visitors with branded ads based on the product/service pages they’ve checked on your website.
Let The Fans Speak For You
Social media marketing lends itself perfectly to building a passionate community around your brand .
There’s no better way to encourage people to promote you than to help them to connect with like-minded people.
This is more than just owning the conversations around your products or services.
You’re also creating long-term relationships with and between customers.
Happy customers will take care of word-of-mouth marketing for you – and even part of your customer service.
Also, they will come back to you for more business. Again and again.
Some Ideas To Illustrate Community Building
Suppose you own a shop in craft supplies and want to become more visible to potential buyers.
You could showcase finished projects from your customers on Pinterest and Facebook and invite people to ask questions and tips from the makers.
This will get the ball rolling in people sharing their crafty accomplishments, struggles, and dreams all around your products!
Another great example is building a community around detoxing and weight loss for a local juice bar.
People can inspire and support each other in their health goals, while you can share the latest juice recipes and congratulate everyone on their progress.
You might organize meetups in your bar, before or after workouts. All done quite easily with the functionality social media provides you.
It’s also an awesome idea to unite people around an important cause.
Take a look at Coffee Project New York. It organized an exhibition encouraging donations which will then be sent to help build direct water pipelines in Ethiopia:
So, if you don’t have a community, you are definitely missing out on establishing yourself as a strong brand with fairly low-cost effort.
A community is an asset that will pay for your investment in it many times over.
Easy Promotion Of New Products & Services
While spreading the news about new products and services through traditional local channels still has its merits, getting the word out through social media can give your campaign a huge boost.
Through social advertising, your community, and your own page, you have several options to “show what you’ve got.” And you can do this with images, text, and video .
It’s amazing when you can actually show your product in action from all angles!
Moreover, you can let your fans spread the news for you. If you have shareable content, they will pass it on.
If you have followers that are raving about your new thing, let their positive reviews shine !
The more their love for you gets the spotlight, the more attractive you will be for others.
Not using social media marketing for your new products? Then you’re giving your customers a very limited experience in getting a taste of what’s to come.
Free Mass Publicity
Throughout this article, you might have been rolling your eyes, thinking: “Does this mean I have to spend all my time reacting to everyone on social?”
I hear you. And no, you don’t.
Though you should pay attention to what your customers tell you about their experience, you don’t have to bend over backward for every voice out there.
Some social influencers have become so accustomed to companies quivering in their boots for any negative tweet or post. They assume they are all-powerful.
However, if you remain authentic, open in your communication, and use a bit of clever banter, you will often find yourself on the winning side of things.
People are getting quite fed up with spoiled insta celebs and will gather behind you.
And if you get lucky (or is it luck if you play it smart?) – you can end up being featured in the mass media.
CVT Soft Serve vs. Influencers
A great example of this is a “beef” between CVT Soft Serve ice cream cafe and influencers trying to encourage the brand to give them free stuff in exchange for promotions.
Basically, Joe Nicchi, the owner of this business, got so tired of self-proclaimed celebs asking him for free ice cream that he had to introduce a so-called ‘special offer’:
Joe decided to charge influencers twice to punish them for their blatant behavior.
And you can’t say his followers did not support him:
It’s an awesome example of how people can rally to a brand’s defense, especially considering that CVT’s owner has the right to be mad in this situation.
That said, making such statements is not for the faint of heart; there is still a big chance some people will bash you for using negative situations to your benefit.
But it’s also proof that you can use bad publicity to your benefit.
Check out this guide on how to use influencers as part of your social strategy.
Which Social Media Platforms Are Best For Your Business?
Face it, you can’t do everything at once.
Well, some companies can (thanks to amazing tools and teams).
To start, however, you should focus on one or two channels first.
Need help selecting the right social media platforms for you?
Here are some tips to decide which networks to focus on.
Type Of Content
This can vary, from images and videos to written content.
Let’s imagine you’re providing plumber or dental services, in which case it’s hard to post a few photos per day (compared to restaurants and shops that prefer to focus on visual content).
This means that Instagram won’t work for each and every local business, as opposed to Facebook.
I believe that a local business should have a company page on Facebook (see image below) where a potential customer can find all necessary info (i.e., working hours, location, site, and services you provide).
Where & When Is Your Audience Most Active?
Having a page on a channel doesn’t mean that you need to produce posts on a daily basis.
For instance, if your audience isn’t really actively engaging on Facebook, then posting a few times per month should be enough.
However, if you’ve found out that your current and potential customers are actively engaging with your competitors and industry niche pages, then it’s a green light for you, too.
Another thing that’s worth checking is Facebook groups. With the help of Facebook closed groups, you can find:
- The most urgent and viral topics.
- What sort of content resonates best with your audience.
- What influences their buying decisions.
The same goes for other social media channels. So, research other local businesses on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and Pinterest.
Here you can find an overview of the most popular social media channels by the number of users.
What Is Your Budget?
Take into consideration the number of hours you can invest in this and/or the budget you have.
Nowadays, successful social media managers spend a good amount of time creating social media posts – and even more hours engaging with their audience.
Conversations and engagement are the main keys to social media success.
Likes and shares won’t help your community grow as much as comments and interactions.
This is why you need to understand whether you have enough resources to be present (e.g., cover just the social media basics, post something from time to time) or active (all the basics, posting daily, plus interacting with and quickly responding to people) on social media.
Connecting Your Offline Customers With Your Social Media Platforms
Once you’ve selected the right social media platforms, you’re going to face another painful issue: Your audience is still split between the online and offline world.
This is where all brands are struggling, more or less, with clients who are constantly consuming their products but are not a part of their social media community.
You need to connect users who are consuming your products/services offline with your online activity.
They can help you grow your presence, leave positive reviews, and connect your business to a location because they are connected to the area around it.
So, how does that work?
Here are a few ideas on how you can do it:
- Ask them to check out your business on social media by giving them a printed card with all your details.
- Make a photo corner where they can take a photo/selfie and show pictures of other clients. Remember, social media marketing is 1,000x more effective when it’s about your happy customers (not YOU), so put them in the spotlight!
- Create a giveaway.
- Give people a discount on their current purchase/bill if they join your online community.
- Invite them to a special sale that will be running exclusively for your community.
Being online for businesses has become very, very local.
Everyone on social media is being located, by the things that they like and the things that they do.
Social media marketing can be an effective, fairly low-cost way to create greater visibility for your local business.
So, be one of the things that a lot of locals like on their news feed, and more of them will follow.
- New Research Shows How To Win In Local Search
- How To Create A Winning Local SEO Content Strategy
- Local SEO: The Definitive Guide To Improve Your Local Search Rankings [Ebook]
Featured Image: mavo/Shutterstock
Alexandra Tachalova has worked in digital marketing for over six years. She is a digital marketing consultant, helping digital businesses ...
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Social Media Marketing
Using social media to advertise a brand , products, or services. Social media marketing allows a brand to insert itself into ongoing conversations on channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Best practices for effective social media marketing include creating interesting content that links back to your website as well as publicly replying to questions and comments. Although you can rely on social media advertising, posts can be organic, meaning you don’t pay anything to “boost” them, or they can be promoted with media dollars. Learn the fundamentals of effective social media strategies in this social media marketing guide for small businesses for a positive return on investment and a successful social media presence.
Jumpstart your social media campaign
Mailchimp has the tools to create, manage, and publish posts that help you stand out.
What is social media marketing?
Social networking is an inescapable aspect in the lives of today’s consumers. The average internet user has over 5 social media accounts , which they check almost daily. Users also spend close to 2 hours a day across their social presence.
While these social platforms were founded on the idea of making it easier to connect and share life’s moments with friends, family members, and followers, they’ve quickly become an invaluable and necessary digital marketing tool for businesses looking to reach their target market.
As AdWeek reports, 91% of retail brands utilize at least 2 social media platforms to communicate and reach their customers, using social media as part of their online marketing strategies. To help you take full advantage of these powerful social media channels, this guide will outline how to run successful campaigns with tips for small businesses on major social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We’ll take a look at:
- Why your business needs to be on social media
- Which social platforms make the most sense for you to use
- How to create social media goals
- When to post your social media content
Why social media marketing?
If the statistics above weren’t enough to persuade you that social media is right for your small business, here are a few other benefits to consider, that go beyond connecting with your community through social media followers and influencers.
A social media presence and campaign can help you to::
- Stimulate brand awareness and discovery
- Find new leads and customers and refer them to your website to improve sales and traffic with an advertising campaign.
- Build hype for upcoming events, product releases, sales, and more through influencer marketing.
- Collect reviews and give customers an accessible way to ask questions at any time
- Enhance your reputation and power in the market with valuable, helpful content
Besides these benefits of social media, it is also important to highlight how unique it is from other digital marketing channels because the value travels in both directions, meaning you and your customers will benefit from communicating and engaging with one another. Having these multiple touchpoints in a social media site can fuel a stronger, more loyal customer base .
What social media platforms are best for my business?
There are a lot of social media networks for you to choose from. Some businesses create accounts on as many platforms as possible in the hopes that they cover all bases.
But this can make it difficult to deliver great experiences on each platform, especially for smaller businesses with a limited marketing budget .
You need to think critically about how many social media accounts your business can properly manage and maintain, then choose the right networks where your target audiences and current customers are most active. It’s one thing to manage your resources, but you also need to make sure those resources are where your potential customers spend the most time, taking into consideration your business goals and types of content, as well as the potential for organic reach and budget for paid social.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common social media platforms that businesses use
Facebook is at the top of many business owners’ lists for the best social media network to use. Not only does it have a lot of users (over 2 billion), making it great to build brand awareness, it’s also one of the most well-developed platforms for businesses.
Facebook has a number of features that allow businesses large and small to create engaging pages that share a lot of detailed information. It also offers retargeting options in advertising to boost engagement, the ability to link to a website within a post, and a messaging system that allows you to chat directly with customers.
When it comes to business-to-business (B2B) marketing, Twitter is really powerful. The platform can connect leads with resources, notify them of new products, and much more.
It’s also a great channel for consumers looking to ask questions, raise concerns, or communicate directly with their favorite brands.
If you’re looking to use the channel, being active and timely with responses is key. If you’re not able to maintain an active presence and speedily respond to customers’ tweets, it can actually be more damaging than rewarding.
To help with this, you can install the free Twitter app on your phone to receive notifications and respond right away no matter where you are.
This channel quickly emerged as a great gathering place for professionals and is a must for B2B companies.
LinkedIn users are employees and business owners interested in making new connections in their field and consuming content related to their industry. This makes it an optimal place to share blogs and other resources that offer solutions to industry-related issues.
This platform is ideal for businesses that create a lot of visual content, such as restaurants, boutiques, and retailers. It’s a compelling way to showcase exactly what your business offers through pictures and video content.
Plus, if you use Instagram stories, you can take viewers on all sorts of journeys, whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look or store update.
An alternative (or addition) to Instagram is Pinterest, which also features visual content that you can “pin” to boards you create. Some of the most common industries you’ll find on this platform are beauty, fitness, home goods, food, and retailers.
Pinterest does have fewer users than larger channels like Instagram, so you might find that it’s less competitive. This can be beneficial to your business if you feel like your messaging gets lost in users’ feeds on other platforms.
Work smarter, not harder, with SMART goals
SMART goals are objectives that follow 5 key criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Creating these goals for your social media marketing strategies can help keep your efforts focused and effective.
Here are some questions you can answer and additional information to get you started:
Specific: Why is your small business on social media? You should have a direct and specific objective in mind for your strategies and find out which channel will help you accomplish them. Some business owners simply want a place to connect with customers, while others are more focused on increasing conversions or traffic to their website.
Measurable: What data point or metric is most valuable to your business? To tell how effective your strategies are, your goals need to be measurable. Each social media network has a number of metrics for businesses to measure their efforts. There are also tools that help track engagement and conversion metrics for you, such as Google Analytics , as well as specialized social media listening tools.
Attainable: Is your goal attainable? It’s difficult to go viral or become an overnight internet sensation, so you need goals that your business can reasonably obtain.
Relevant: Are your goals relevant to the overarching objectives of your company? Also, are your strategies pertinent to your customers? If your content isn’t relevant, users will scroll right past it.
Timely: How long will you expect to reach your goal? Choosing a timeframe for social media can be tricky because you might need time to see what tactics are working. To make sure you don’t commit to an ineffective strategy for too long, quarterly goals are a good starting point. That way you can evaluate what happened in the last quarter on a regular basis.
When should I post?
Some marketers choose to evaluate the “timely” aspect of their goals and focus on specific times of the day and week when posting on social media. This is a really important—and often forgotten—aspect of winning on social media.
Because your target audience checks social media intermittently throughout the day, timing your posts to match up with their activity can yield positive results, as well as align with your content marketing calendar.
Every channel is different when it comes to the best times to post social content. For example, Tuesday is one of the worst days for Facebook content, but it’s one of the best days for LinkedIn posts. If you want to know the best times for each platform, this is a helpful resource .
Your competitors may also post at these peak times, so your content needs to really stand out. You can also look for other periods throughout the day when your audience is active and there’s less competition.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to your social posting schedule, try posting 3 different times throughout the day for a month. At the end of the month, take note of which days and times received the most engagement to form your social media calendar.
Bring it all together to form your social media strategy
Now that you know what social platforms businesses use to attain their goals, you can start planning what social channels to use to set social presence and what content to post to deliver an exceptional customer experience , building relationships with your audience while achieving your marketing goals.
It’s important to note that you should always be adapting to the latest information you’ve learned. Every time you post to social media, for instance, you learn more about your customers. These insights should be constantly shaping your tactics and pushing your efforts towards greater success.
For some businesses, success on social media takes months—even years! But if you’re committed to learning from your past experiences and applying those insights to future strategies, you’ll have no problem conquering social media marketing.
To learn more about how Mailchimp can help with your social media strategy, check out the comparison of our free social media management tools versus others.
Written by Ashley Segura for Mailchimp. Ashley is an expert in social media marketing.
Take your business to the next level
The Easy Guide to Social Media for Small Business
If you’re on a small marketing team, the sole marketing person at your company, or you’re running all facets of your business, you know what it’s like to wear multiple hats. With countless deliverables to push out to keep your small business running, social media marketing can seem like a non-essential tactic that is easy to push to the wayside when things get hectic.
But I wouldn’t write social media off that quickly.
We know that people are spending more and more time on their phones, and a lot of that time is spent on social media apps. We also know that social media users regularly interact with companies they are interested in or already do business with. So not only is social media free, but your customers and prospects are already there waiting to hear from you.
A quick perusal, or a dark hole of scrolling.
For small businesses focused on community and individual customers, this makes social media a powerful platform for connecting directly with an audience to build brand awareness and brand loyalty. Even better, social media is also an effective platform for lead generation. You can create the content and resources that will provide added value to your prospects and customers, all the while nurturing their brand affinity. When users click on your content or offer, they are actively looking for it or opting in to receive updates by following your business. Because these people have already opted in, they’re likelier to convert than a random person seeing an ad or offer unrelated to what they need.
Social media is a free and easy tool for businesses to connect directly with people interested in their brand, and it’s fun (c’mon, we have gifs!). Free, easy, and fun doesn’t mean that you can just log in and start posting, though. Before that, you need to set a social media marketing strategy .
Let me tell you why.
Why your small business needs a social media strategy
Back in the day, with only a few options for social media, and before each social platform had been defined by its own specific value-add, businesses could just pop in and post whatever, whenever. The world of business on social media was sparse, and the capabilities of businesses to connect with their target audience even more so.
Not the case today, my friend.
Social media is now an important part of an inbound marketing strategy . Creating valuable content and ranking well for it on the SERP is one thing, but sharing that content out to the right people and getting those people that are interested in your brand, product, or service back to your site is another.
You need people to go from here…
And making sure that you’re sharing the right social media content with the right people is also dependent on the platform. Each of the main social platforms popular now have a specific way they are used by consumers. Businesses, in turn, have begun to use each platform slightly differently to connect with their audiences.
In this guide, I’ll take you through each platform and break down everything from what type of content you should post, how often you should be sharing, and best practices for each channel . We will be covering the main five social platforms:
Let’s get started!
Social media strategy for small business: The big five
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to take the first step in creating your social strategy for businesses: setting up business accounts or pages on each platform. Try to make your username or URL your business name (or as close to your business name as possible) so consumers can easily find you online. On platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube, make sure to set yourself and any of your colleagues or business partners that would need access as admins. You can set different permissions for each person based on the work they will be doing in the account.
Once you have set up each account, entered the necessary information about your business, and added in your logo as your account photo, you’re ready to start sharing.
Alright, now it’s time to get into your strategy for each of these platforms. When you’re done, you may also want to check out our 60+ social media optimization tips for even more intel!
Facebook marketing for small business
An organic post (of organic things) on Facebook
Facebook is one of the OG social media platforms. It has a massive user base with 1 billion daily and over 2 billion monthly active users . If your target customer is on any social media platform, it’s likely Facebook. Bonus: Facebook also makes it easy to build target audiences for paid ad placements based on people who engage with your organic posts.
What to post
Facebook is a fairly conversational platform. However, if a consumer decides to like your Facebook page, they are likely looking to receive updates: they want to know about future sales and promotions, hear about new products, or get information about upcoming launches or events. It’s important that you’re connecting with those who follow you and providing the right type of content for them. Try sharing a few different types of content and seeing what resonates well with your audience by driving the most impressions, engagements, and shares. Once you’ve determined the types of content and updates your audience responds to, keep sharing in that way.
To get started, here are 62 creative, practical, and engaging Facebook post ideas .
How often to share
Posting on Facebook doesn’t have a limit for businesses, but dominating your followers’ feeds is a social media marketing mistake you’ll want to avoid . In a study by Socialbakers , engagement rates per post dropped significantly for businesses posting more than twice per day and for businesses posting only once per week.
So if you post too much, you run the risk of people un-liking your account. If you post too little, you risk your engagement metrics. Take into account how much content you have to promote, and then post accordingly. About one update each day is an optimal rate for most businesses.
Tips to boost engagement
People scrolling through Facebook will see your business posts alongside photos of their new-born niece and cake decorating videos (just me?), so don’t take your social posts too seriously. Stay casual, but be sure to continue to provide value.
This store uses local jokes to caption their product in an organic Facebook post.
These people followed your business for a reason—make sure you’re posting relevant content for them to consume and ultimately get a little closer to your brand.
LinkedIn marketing for small business
An organic post on LinkedIn about LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the oldest of the social media platforms we’re covering, with a founding date in 2002. What else was happening in 2002? Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released. Michelle Branch was absolutely killing it. Kelly Clarkson won American Idol.
I know — LinkedIn’s been around for a minute.
LinkedIn has over 250 million monthly active users, and it’s the most used social media channel for business-to-business (B2B) marketers to share content at 94% .
LinkedIn is a place for people to connect with other business professionals and network online. If a LinkedIn user is following your company on LinkedIn, they likely care about the information and insights you can bring them and business-related updates.
LinkedIn is also a great platform for video. If you have the ability to create a product or insight focused video, you can see your engagement rates climb!
Try to post on LinkedIn each week. Companies that post weekly on LinkedIn see a 2x lift in engagement on their posts .
LinkedIn is also a great platform for your employees to become your brand advocates. Make sure to utilize them and their network in the proliferation of your content—this is a great way to get your content on the platform more often without oversharing.
LinkedIn is a professional environment for people to connect with each other, and your content should reflect that. Stay helpful in the content you share. Posts should be a resource for consumers to find ways to better themselves in your area of expertise or hear about product updates. You want to share the best aspects of your business, wins people can learn from, and insights they can’t get anywhere else.
Posts with an image see a 2x higher conversion rate than posts without, so make sure to accompany your post or link with an image.
Twitter Marketing for Small Business
An organic post on Twitter, and also, a vibe.
Certainly the most conversational out of all of the social media platforms, Twitter is a massive network of individuals and brands interacting with each other in a very fast-paced environment. There are over 500 million tweets sent daily, and over 320 million monthly active users on the platform. It is one of the most relied upon social channels for news and has a wide international user base.
In November of 2017, Twitter officially expanded the number of characters allowed in a tweet from 140 to 280, giving people more freedom in what they post per tweet but still limiting the length per post. Most business profiles tweet a wide array of content, including product promotions, online contests, sales, funny thoughts related to their industry, data insights, and new releases.
With 5,787 tweets sent every second , it’s easy to get lost in the clutter. Posting multiple times per day will allow you the most opportunity for your tweets to be seen by your followers and give them more chances to engage with you.
Again, make sure to continue to provide value to your followers and their audience, but you can also be a little more playful on Twitter than you would be on more business-focused platforms like LinkedIn. Keep it light, keep it bright.
Instagram marketing for small business
An organic post on Instagram
The most visual of all of the social platforms, Instagram was founded most recently yet has the third most people on the platform (1 billion!) and active users (500 million!) . It offers a couple of different posting formats, short-lived stories and permanent posts. With these options, you have the flexibility to curate your presence on Instagram to focus on your business goals and your audience’s wants.
As Instagram is affiliated with Facebook, paid advertisements from your business Instagram account are created directly within Facebook and don’t need to be set up in an additional platform.
The type of content you share on Instagram depends on which medium you choose, posts or Stories.
Posts on Instagram should be photos, images or short videos of content that largely embodies your brand. This includes your brand values and personality, your company story , the expertise you can offer them, and some promotional items. A lot of this can be accomplished in your Instagram captions , but if you want the main focus to be the tip or insight itself, you can create an image with the information you are looking to convey as text.
Stories are a more casual and conversational way of posting content for your audience to see. Stories are live for 24 hours and can be done in a wide array of styles. If you are looking to drive engagement on your Stories or would like feedback for a product or campaign, you can use a poll or ask an open-ended question for your followers to answer. You can also overlay music to instill a certain emotion, write a bunch of text for an announcement, take casual photos and videos, pop in a countdown, or tag a person or location. Stories are also a great way to show some behind-the-scenes content for your audience to get more acquainted with your business. These are also great for ecommerce brands , because you can tag products directly from their product feed on Facebook so viewers can shop your Instagram Stories .
A Stories post with a shopping link!
Posting on Instagram is all about quality and consistency. If you start by posting a couple of times a week and then suddenly drop off, you could lose followers or engagement. Some brands post multiple times per day; it likely depends on how visual your industry is. Find what works for your business and stick to it. Posting Instagram Stories can be more frequent—even daily—as long as you have content and moments you’d like to share with your followers.
Keep in mind that Instagram is all about the visuals . People are looking to follow businesses on Instagram to get a more visual expression of your brand. Show some high-quality photos of your product , some images that align with the value you bring to your customer, or some behind-the-scenes moments, like the example below.
Make sure to take advantage of both types of posts, and use them in tandem to bring value to your followers and drive social media engagement for your brand. Don’t skip the caption, and consider adding a location and popular hashtags to make your posts more discoverable.
YouTube Marketing for Small Business
So far in this guide, we’ve talked about the most widely used social media platform, the business and networking platform, the text-based social media platform, and the image-based platform. Now, it’s time to take a look at the video platform YouTube.
With 1.9 billion monthly active users , YouTube is a mammoth of a social platform with over a billion hours of video content being watched daily. It is the second largest search platform and the second most trafficked website behind Google.
Observe: video uploaded to YouTube
Creating video content for YouTube can greatly increase the credibility of your brand and drive a lot of engagement . Optimizing your videos to rank in search is a huge player in making sure your video shows up for users looking for your content. Additionally, as the platform is owned by Google, you can build out your paid campaigns directly in the Google Ads interface with targeting options powered by the largest search network.
“How to” is one of the top four content categories on YouTube . Your audience is out there looking for content to show or explain something to them. Additionally, YouTube users are 3x more likely to watch a YouTube video to learn how to use a product compared to reading instructions. Reusing existing content from your website in video form is a great way to produce content that will perform well. And as for length, two minutes is the sweet spot.
As much content as your team can sustainably produce is great for YouTube! Just make sure you don’t skimp on quality. As you get going, take a look at your referral traffic from YouTube, and see if it’s a channel that you should be investing more heavily in. If so, dedicate more resources to your video content, it’s working!
Make sure you are optimizing your videos for SEO , using catchy titles, taking advantage of keywords , and tagging your videos correctly. Using cards or annotations with links and CTAs will help bring your YouTube traffic back to your site.
Take a look at the landscape, your competitors, comments, and your audience to figure out which posts will resonate well with your followers.
What’s next? Social media tools & tracking
Now that you have all the information you need to set a social media strategy that works for your business and your business goals, you’re just about ready to get going.
Tracking your progress will be one of the most important aspects of executing your social media strategy. Based on your account performance, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about the direction of your campaigns. Exactly how you measure this progress will depend on your goals and, in some cases, your industry, but you’ll want to determine which social media metrics you keep track of before you get started posting.
Social Media Metrics Report
And speaking of posting, there are a bunch of social media marketing tools out there to help marketers be more effective in their organic social media marketing campaigns. Take a look at this list of social media tools to help manage your accounts, monitor engagement, and maybe even advertise on these social platforms.
Once you’ve settled on your tracking metrics and picked any tools you’ll use, you’re ready to start posting, tweeting, uploading, and sharing—all according to your social media strategy!
Want more social media tips and intel?
We’ve got a megapost on The 6 Biggest, Baddest Social Media Platforms of 2022 (and How to Wield Their Power). Suit up and dive in.
Meet The Author
Mikayla is our social and community engagement specialist at WordStream (follow us!). Her interests include jammy red wine and trying to find the best breakfast taco in town. She recently ran her first half marathon and is scouting locations for her second.
See other posts by Mikayla Wyman
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