How to Market Your Small Business on Social Media

Kelly Hopper

Kelly is a Chicago-based writer with an educational background in mass communication, digital content marketing, and creative writing. Her 20 years as a business owner and operations consultant provides unique insights through storytelling and brand journalism techniques.

Are you using social media marketing to its full potential? Learn why marketing on social media is vital to your business and discover strategies to reach your target audience, increase website traffic and grow your profits. Get ready for tips on how to navigate social media marketing for your small business.

Like and share social media. Hands holding smartphone with social media network icons

Why small businesses need social media

Social media changed the entire marketing landscape for small businesses, making strategies cheaper, more accessible, and easier to implement. It also has these added benefits:

  • Reduce marketing costs: Social network accounts are free. Even ad campaigns are much less expensive than traditional marketing.
  • Connect with customers: Meet your clients and potential customers where they already are, on social media.
  • Easy to get started: Set up social media profiles for your small business in just a few simple steps.
  • A critical factor in search engine ranking: A social media presence is vital in calculating SEO rankings.
  • Suitable for e-commerce: Use social media to provide links to products and services customers can purchase online.

Start social media marketing with these tips

Before diving into the thick of a marketing plan, make sure you have a solid foundation. Discover how to correct your course by tweaking your brand, updating your website, or starting from scratch and carving out a whole new path.

Successful marketing begins with a strong brand

Your brand embodies what your company stands for and how the public perceives your business. A data report by Stakla reports that 86% of consumers rely on authenticity more than any other factor when deciding what brands they like.

Gone are the days of the perfect life persona packaged in a carefully edited Instagram photo. Marketing is storytelling, so own your failures and embrace your vulnerability. Let your brand tell the story of you, all of it.

Critique your website

The purpose of social media marketing is to draw people to the hub of your small business, your website. Before launching a social media campaign, do a thorough audit of your website. A new report from KOmarketing suggests the following checklist to ensure your website meets the criteria of a successful site:

  • Place navigation bars at the top
  • Include contact information
  • Make info easy to locate
  • Add strong call-to-actions
  • Test your site on mobile and tablets

More and more people use mobile devices to access the internet than ever before. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on traffic. 85% of people think a business’ mobile website experience should equal or surpass the desktop experience.

Is your content on brand?

Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase brand awareness. Good content allows you to show and tell potential customers who you are and what you represent. Share the things that set you apart from the competition. Keep your content on-brand with these guidelines:

  • Post content that shares your brand values.
  • Share content that sharpens your brand voice.
  • Choose the right medium for your content.
  • Develop content around the solutions you provide.
  • Find new ways to tell your story over and over again.

How to promote your business on social media

Social media networks give you a powerful marketing tool at your fingertips. With one stroke, you can share content worldwide and increase your brand awareness in mere seconds. Yet, you may be struggling with how to implement an effective social media marketing strategy.

Set-up social media business accounts

Business accounts are free for most social media sites. Set up business accounts on the appropriate platforms and make sure you link them to your website. Your social network accounts should reflect your brand and reinforce your identity. Listed below are the various social media platforms:

  • Facebook: With 2.8 billion users, every small business can benefit from Facebook.
  • Twitter: From entertainment to e-Commerce, Twitter is helpful to most companies.
  • Instagram: Get creative with beautiful photos and short videos on Instagram.
  • Pinterest: A great way to increase website traffic is by using links on Pinterest.
  • YouTube: Vlog with cooking tips, or give product demos on your YouTube channel.
  • LinkedIn: For companies that offer expert service or B2B, Linkedin is a good platform.

Stay consistent with your brand throughout your social media accounts. Customers should recognize you across the spectrum, so use the same picture, logo, colors, and general aesthetic as you have on your company website. Construct an interesting profile, and make sure you link all accounts to your website and vice-versa.

Network with other business owners, groups, and customers

Use social media to connect with people relevant or similar to your business. A robust network can serve as a much-needed support system and give you the added tools, encouragement, and advice every business owner needs from time to time. Here are some networking techniques for social media:

  • Facebook audience insights: Find potential customers using Facebook audience insights located in your Facebook page dropdown menu. Use filters to target an audience by demographic, page likes, location, income, or interests. Research your competitors by looking at the type of content your audience shares and how they respond to it. See what’s working and what’s not, and create an individual model based on your findings.
  • LinkedIn outreach campaign: Connect with people in your niche by searching for industry keywords in LinkedIn. Once you have a list of people, start a routine of connecting with a few each day. Send personal invites detailing what you share in common or how you might help one another but don’t use the invite as a sales pitch. Instead, demonstrate your value by offering assistance or start a conversation by asking them something about themselves.
  • Twitter Advanced Search: Find keywords used by the people you want to connect with by entering words or phrases you think they might use into Twitter’s advanced search. Think about whom you’re trying to reach and the words they might use in their bios, tweets, and hashtags. Search those keywords to reveal a list of discussions occurring around them. Add people you find in those conversations to a Twitter list and start interacting with them.
  • Instagram hashtags: Connect with people in your niche by using strategic Instagram hashtags. Bigger isn’t always better in the world of hashtags as you can get lost in the noise. The goal is to rank in the “top posts,” which is difficult if you’re competing with 20 million posts. Instead, opt for something more specific. Start with five relevant hashtags for your niche, then narrow it down until you reach a manageable number of shared posts.

Social media metrics for the technology challenged

If you blackout at the sight of the word metrics, this section is made for you. Social media metrics are the key to finding marketing success online. Without it, you’re flying blind. Metrics allow you to track your brand response, reach new customers, improve your content, fine-tune your communications, and ultimately increase your sales. The right analytics should answer these questions:

  • Who finds your brand?
  • Where are they from?
  • What device do they use?
  • How did they find you?
  • What do they do next?

Which social media metrics matter most?

Start breaking down metrics by filtering out the stuff you don’t need. Instead of worrying about how many likes you have on Facebook or obsessing over the amount of Twitter followers you have, focus on metrics that gauge how people interact with your brand. Keep it simple with the following tips:

  • Don’t measure everything: Measure what matters and what will help you achieve your business goals.
  • Understand the numbers: Metrics are meaningless if you don’t know how they can help you reach your business goals.
  • Examine analytics organically: Don’t focus on one form of measurement. Instead, broaden your perspective.

With so many analytic tools available, it can be overwhelming trying to determine which is best. Streamline the process by starting with one and adding on once you learn the ropes. Some options consist of:

  • Google Analytics measures the traffic coming from social media to your website.
  • Hootsuite Analytics offers performance data from all social networks in one.
  • Brandwatch tracks data from blogs, forums, review sites, and social networks.
  • Talkwalker monitors conversations to analyze engagement, reach, and comments.

Start marketing your small business on social media today

Social media marketing is a powerful tool for small businesses. It opens a direct line of communication with your audience and allows them to engage with your brand. Put the tips into practice and if you need some extra guidance, ask an expert for advice.

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