It’s typical for members of a small business team to wear many hats. No matter your role or familiarity with social media, we’re here to help. This quick guide outlines why social media marketing is important, 10 tips for setting up your social media strategy, and the easiest way to get started.
Why Social Media Marketing Is Important For Small Businesses
There are now 4.62 billion people using social media worldwide, up over 10% from just one year ago. No marketing strategy in the current age can be complete without considering social media for businesses of all sizes.
It’s common for social media activities to be the first to go when your to do list gets too long. It’s important to remember that finding customers and building relationships on social media directly impacts your sales and bottom line.
This is true whether you’re selling online (ecommerce) or trying to raise awareness for offline offerings. In fact, 71% of people said they were more likely to buy after a positive experience on social media. If you aren’t creating those experiences on social platforms where your customers already spend their time – an average of 2.5 hours every day – you can be sure that your competitors will.
10 Easy Tips: A Guide To Social Media Marketing For Small Business
Now that we’ve covered why social media is a crucial piece of the small business marketing puzzle, we’ll outline 10 simple tips to build a strategy and run with it.
1) Create A Plan And Strategy
It’s easy to get started with social media. Accounts are free to create and anyone with a computer or smartphone can set up a profile for your business.
Before diving in, it’s important to create a plan that will guide your actions going forward. Your plan might include goals and objectives (more on that next), competitor research, a social media audit, a posting calendar, and more.
Remember: this plan is a living document and will need to be updated as time goes on and you learn about what works for your business and what doesn’t. Don’t worry too much about getting everything exactly right in the first iteration – just sketch out a strategy for your small business as best you can, then go through the rest of the steps and revisit later.
2) Set Your Goals
Setting goals and objectives may technically fall under the planning step, but it’s so important that we wanted to call it out on its own.
Just like every aspect of marketing, measuring social media activities against pre-defined goals will help gauge the business impact of your social media efforts. Setting the right goals will help you more quickly understand which tactics work best, which helps you scale up your social media presence over time.
Follow the SMART Method:
Goals should also have an actual impact on your business. Rather than just aiming to maximize “likes,” for example, you might set a goal of acquiring a certain number of new customers or increasing your conversion rate, or the number of engaged customers that transact with your business.
3) Define Your Target Audience
It’s important to define your audience – and work to understand them – before choosing the social media platforms to focus on (tip #4) because customers spend time on different platforms.
You may already have done some work to understand your target audience for other marketing initiatives or even when determining product-market fit. All that information is useful, and now we want to build on it.
If you’re starting from scratch, begin by pulling together information on your current customers: who they are (demographics), what their behavior is, which products they buy, whether they are repeat purchasers, etc.
Next, go deeper by using social media analytics. Dig into your different customer groups and work to understand how they behave online (or interact with your brand if you already have accounts on social platforms).
Use all the information you’ve gathered to create buyer personas that detail the types of people you’re targeting. These can help keep everyone on track to prioritize the right prospects.
4) Choose Your Platforms
Next, it’s time to choose the social media channels you will use. Some businesses choose to create accounts across all platforms but prioritize a few, while others only use a few specific platforms where their audience is most active.
The main social platforms used by small businesses:
Don’t automatically assume which platforms your audience is using the most – search for data on the demographics you’re targeting.
5) Find Your Voice
On social media, your brand voice is your personality. It’s important to define the tone of voice you’ll use, so it’s consistent across social media platforms (as well as the rest of your online presence, from ads to your website).
There are some businesses who choose to use a different tone depending on the platform – for example, more serious on LinkedIn but perhaps funnier on TikTok.
And since many team members might be wearing multiple hats, setting up brand voice guidelines also ensures anyone who is posting from your social media knows what tone to use.
6) Build Relationships And Community
From the beginning, social media has been a great way to speak directly to people you may not have reached otherwise. If you think of social media as a conversation, you can continually build relationships with individual consumers over time.
You can use social media to directly make sales (and if you’re selling online, it’s good to offer that buying option). It’s also true that 44% of people on the internet use social media to research brands, making these platforms an important part of any brand awareness and messaging strategy.
Let’s talk about engagement. When someone engages with your content or an ad – for example: a like, comment, or share – it’s a good idea to engage back (e.g., respond to their comment). This not only builds trust and makes it feel like a two-way conversation, but it will also help boost your pages in the social algorithms, helping more potential customers to find you in the future.
Over time, engagement creates community. This can mean community with your customers and also community with partners and others in the industry. For example, you could create a Facebook Group or do a collaborative post with a partner company on Instagram. The goal is to create ongoing relationships that will lead to further sales over time.
7) Keep An Eye On Trends
If you’ve spent any time on TikTok or Instagram Reels, both video platforms, you’ve probably noticed that certain audio clips and songs tend to become popular for a few days or weeks at a time. Suddenly, every creator or business you follow seems to be posting a video with that audio.
This is an example of a social media trend, and you’ll want to keep an eye on them so you can post timely content. Beyond audio clips for video content, you can also consider incorporating current events (e.g., the Olympics or an awards show), holidays, or viral news stories into your content.
8) Create Quality Content
Although it might seem like posting consistently (daily or multiple times a week) will lead to quantity over quality, your goal should always be to create quality content – even if that means posting a little bit less. It’s better to have a high-quality presence on a few platforms versus mediocre content on every single channel.
So, what types of content are “quality”? It depends! If you’re selling products, visuals (photo and video) will be crucial. For a service, testimonials from happy clients are great.
No matter what, be sure to switch up your content. Don’t solely use one format type when you post on social – get creative and start experimenting. What works for one business may not work for another, and the same goes for which content performs well on certain social platforms.
Finally, try to create content that is valuable. “Sell sell sell” is not a great social strategy. Build those relationships and offer people a reason to keep engaging with you.
9) Use The Right Tools And Automation
There are a host of tools you can use to organize your social media, automate posting, and save time. While you can certainly just post directly to any platform whenever you’re ready, it can be time-consuming and difficult to scale up your presence.
Some tools help you schedule posts weeks or months in advance, while others are good for managing engagement or analytics (more on that below). It’s also helpful to find a tool that can help you design quick graphics if you don’t have a designer on the payroll.
There are countless tools out there, but here are a few popular ones to kick off your research:
- Sprout Social
10) Track Your Progress
Finally, tracking and analyzing your performance on social media will be crucial. If you don’t measure the tactics you’re trying out across the different platforms, it will be impossible to know what’s working and what isn’t – and to adjust your methods going forward.
There are a wide range of analytics tools you can use (and many of the ones mentioned above actually include analytics features). The main thing is to decide which metrics matter most to you – i.e., those goals and objectives you set earlier – and to gauge your progress based on those.
Eventually, you can start looking for ways to improve by using A/B testing, different content formats, targeting different audiences on ads, and more.
Get Started With Social Media Marketing
No matter what stage you’re at with your social media marketing strategy, it’s important to have the right partner that will support your success. NEWITY is thrilled to be working with Breef to help small businesses find the right agency for their exact marketing needs.
NEWITY believes its members deserve direct access to powerful solutions. Your marketing ideas can quickly become reality with Breef’s project planning, personalized marketing agency proposals, and contract management — all in one place.
Ready to kick off your first marketing project? Find Breef in your Member Portal.