Welcome small business marketers! We have put together this guide for small businesses that contains everything you need to know to get started with social media marketing.
- Why Social Media Is Valuable For Small Businesses
- How to Craft a Social Media Marketing Plan
- How to Choose The Right Social Media Platforms
- How to Develop a Posting Schedule
- How to Create A Social Media Content Calendar
- Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
Social Media Marketing Guide
It can be hard work finding the right strategies and tools to help your small business succeed on social media. We are here to help you find the right options for your business.
Why Social Media Is Valuable For Small Businesses
As a small business owner or marketer, you probably wear a lot of hats. You may have your hands in operations, graphic design and advertising, and more.
Whether you are just starting to scale your digital marketing initiatives or looking to implement social media for the first time, time seems to run out. We get it! There never seems to be enough time to do everything you want to do.
That’s why it is important to know where to use your time wisely. And, social media is a great place to start.
Not convinced yet? Social Media Marketing is valuable for your business in three keys ways.
Social Media Helps Drive Buying Choices
Social media offers a unique opportunity to break down the barrier between customer and seller. People enjoy buying from brands they trust and find personable and relatable.
Show off who you are and your values as a company. Use social media to connect and build real relationships with your customers.
Use your posts and Stories to share a more real side to your brand and business. In fact, 86 percent of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support (Stackla, 2019).
People like to buy from other people, not a nameless, faceless entity.
Social Media Builds Brand Awareness
How will you reach more customers if they don’t know about you? Social Media helps, once again, to overcome this barrier to entry. Utilizing social media platforms gives you a social advantage.
By actively engaging with your community you can promote your brand to newer and bigger audiences.
Social Media Marketing Is An Affordable Way to Advertise
As a small business, you are probably strapped for cash! We get it. You need to save money where you can. Luckily, almost every social media platform offers ads, and most of them are very, very cheap.
Now that you are convinced of the benefits, let’s dive into implementation. What social media platforms should you use?
Where do you go from here?
How To Craft A Social Media Marketing Plan
Before you choose your platforms, you must have a plan and set goals.
It is important to create a strategy before you start the social media marketing process. The goal of your social media marketing should never be to simply bulk schedule and blast out posts without a plan!
Social networks will not reward you for publishing at random and neither will your customers. It’s important to note that being too promotional is one of the top reasons consumers will unfollow you on social media!
Research Your Audience
Start by looking at your competitors. Look at their strategies. What platforms do they use? How frequently do they post? What types of content resonate with their audiences?
For example, if you run a business in the real estate industry, your customers are looking for real estate, perhaps they would like to see content on what types of properties are worth investing in, they probably aren’t looking for lifestyle content.
Once you do the appropriate market research (i.e. demographics, audience, etc), you should be able to start to plan out what types of content will work for your business.
Set Goals Using The SMART Framework
Once you do the appropriate market research (i.e. demographics, audience, etc), you should be able to start to plan your strategy.
To create a strategy that drives engagement rates high, use the SMART framework.
SMART is an acronym that helps set achievable goals. This method helps you develop a plan that makes sense for your goals.
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Once you have determined your plan of action, it’s time to determine which social platforms you will utilize.
How To Choose The Right Social Media Platforms
There are so many social media platforms out there. Luckily, there is no reason for you to utilize all of them! You just need to choose a few that are most applicable to your business’s goals.
Take a look at a few of the most popular platforms right now.
Top Social Media Platforms
More of a search engine than a social media platform, YouTube is a powerful channel! With SEO-friendly tags, descriptions, and titles, it is a great platform utilized to help boost search results.
There are over 2.7 billion active users per month. Facebook is a must-have for most brands, especially for their ad offerings. You can run ads through Facebook’s Business Suite for both Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms to date. It boasts over 1.2 billion active users and is especially popular for businesses with shop-friendly features. It is constantly updating as well with new features like Reels.
Twitter has some serious brand-name recognition, however, it is not as profitable as other platforms. Unless you’re in the media or news business, or a specific niche, it may not be the best platform for you to focus on.
Don’t sleep on the power of Reddit! The anonymous posting platform is perfect for hyper-specific communities loyal to their niche. If you can tap into those areas, you can easily engage with extremely loyal customers.
However, Reddit has some extremely picky guidelines so beware of following the rules and not posting promotional content outside of the guidelines specified.
With over 700 million monthly active users, TikTok still has plenty of room for growth! It exploded onto the scene and only continues to grow. The short-form videos are fun and engaging. If you are willing to create videos this could be a powerful way to sell products creatively.
Pinterest is a fantastic platform for retail-based businesses. It’s an easy way to earn organic traffic and reach if you can curate engaging content.
Brands and users alike flock to Medium to spill their thoughts on just about everything. This could be a good way to bring in more traffic to your site.
Vimeo, while less popular than YouTube, offers a lot of fancy features and editing capabilities. You can expect Vimeo to rise in popularity as the demand for both recorded and live video content continues to increase.
There are many, many more social media platforms such as Twitch, Discord, Meetup, Telegram, Snapchat, Linkedin, MeWe, WhatsApp, and more!
Each platform offers different capabilities. If you are a product or retail-based platform, investing your resources into Instagram or Facebook is probably the best bet. If you are a software or streaming business, you may want to invest time into Reddit or Twitter. It depends on your business’ audience.
Now that you have an idea of what platforms you should use. Focus on two or three platforms, and go from there.
Developing A Posting Schedule
Now that you have defined your audience, developed a plan, choose your social platforms…now it’s time to set your marketing strategy in motion! In other words, it’s time to post!
Where do you start?
First, you’ll want to set up your social media accounts. For example, we will use Instagram.
You will need to fill out all relevant information per platform, including:
- Your bio
- Website link
- Profile image (can be your company’s logo)
- Connect contact information
Once your profiles have been created, it’s time to post. But, before doing that you need to create a posting schedule and strategy. By developing a calendar and keeping track of all your posts, your team can stay organized and on track.
How to Create A Social Media Content Calendar For Small Businesses
A social media calendar is an overview of your upcoming social media posts and captions. This information can be organized in the form of a spreadsheet, Google calendar, or even via an interactive dashboard.
Here Are The Main 9 Steps In Creating A Calendar:
- Audit your current content and social networks
- Choose the social media channels you’d like to use
- Decide what exactly your calendar needs to track
- Make a content library for your assets
- Establish a consistent workflow
- Craft your posts
- Invite your team members to review and use feedback to improve
- Start publishing and scheduling your posts
Why Use A Social Media Content Calendar
Using a calendar helps you stay organized and on track. It can be hard to keep track of all the social posts for all the different platforms! Maintaining a calendar that clearly tracks when what and where posts will be posted, helps your team stay on top of things
Using a calendar helps you post consistently. If your posts are ready to go and scheduled out in your calendar, you’ll stay consistent. Posting consistently matters, big time, in the social media world.
Consistently showing up on your audience’s feed is the best way to authentically engage and build relationships with your followers. Populating your calendar with posts ahead of time gives you the opportunity to post consistently, whether it’s a slow week or the busiest week of the year!
Using a calendar helps you craft higher-quality content. Now that everyone is practically on social media, the quality is getting higher and higher. Today, it’s not surprising that some businesses have entire media teams dedicated to creating social media content! Thus, a social media calendar assists you in allocating your assets effectively.
Social Media Calendar
While the format for social media calendars may vary, they each contain these common elements:
- The exact date and time the post will go live
- The social network/account/platform where the post will be published
- The post’s copy and content (image, graphic, video, etc)
- Links and tags that will be included with the post
- Any additional information (i.e. is this post or Instagram Story)
Depending on your social media strategy, this platform may include one or many networks.
There are hundreds of free social media templates out there for free! Or, there are posting platforms such as SEMrush, Hootsuite, Loomly, Buffer, and many, many more that offer their services for a pretty penny. Additionally, almost every social media platform offers scheduling for free – you just have to explore a bit to locate these settings.
Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Alright now that you’ve set up your content calendar and identified your platforms and maybe even made your first post…it’s time for some tips to help you ensure success!
Keep Analytics In Mind
Some posts may flop and others may perform better than you ever anticipated! There is a little bit of mystery with social media. You must continuously monitor analytics for your posts.
Look at what does well, look at what flops, and implement these changes into your future social strategy. What works this month, may not work next month! Keep an eye out for what you can improve.
Engage, Engage, Engage
You aren’t just posting to help spread the word about your brand, you (we hope)) are also trying to provide real and valuable information for the world. Engagement is critical on your social media accounts. 71 percent of customers are likely to purchase from a brand after a positive experience on social media, according to SproutSocial!
Even if you don’t have a dedicated employee focused on social media, you should put some effort into responding quickly and answering questions as soon as you receive them. Remember, there are real people on the other end of the screen, and you should be reminding your audience there are also real people behind your brand.
Post At Optimal Times
Each social media platform comes with its own system that is optimized for them. You will have to adapt to each platform in order to get the most out of them. It is important to post at the right times when more of your audience is on the platform.
However, there is not necessarily one “best” time. However, there may be a “best time to post” for your business specifically.
Take a look at your analytics after a few weeks of posting. What time is your audience usually active? That is your best time to post.
Use The Right Hashtags
Hashtags are critical for social media growth, especially on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hashtags help your post reach more people, so, using the right hashtags can put you in front of the right audience.
Create Great Visuals
Blurry pictures and not-so-great graphics are a great way to get low engagement. You want your pictures and graphics to stand out and catch your attention. Either hire a graphic designer through a freelance site or use creative apps like Canva to craft beautiful graphics cheaply!
Video content is another great way to increase engagement.
If you think you have got your social media strategy under your belt, but you just aren’t seeing the returns you want, it may be time to consider ads. Luckily, you can run ads on almost every social media platform for cheap – most start as low at $1.
Small Business Social Media Is Easy: Start Posting!
If you have made it all the way through this post, we know you are serious about making your business’ socials succeed.
If you have any questions or need help optimizing your social media marketing strategy or choosing marketing tools to use, give us a call today. We offer a completely free estimate!