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. 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.