Social Media Marketing for Small Business: Your Complete Guide to Getting Started
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Marketing for a small business is work.
You have to be scrappy with your budget and efficient with your time.
You need your marketing channels and tools to work for you.
And when it comes to social media for small business, you need a plan to maximize your efforts without spending all day on various platforms.
This comprehensive guide to social media marketing for small business lays out the goals of social media and how you can put together a practical plan that will drive traffic and boost conversions.
You’ll also read some tips on how to use social media for small business to organize your content strategy.
Download Your SMB Social Media Marketing Templates
Put this advice into action with three downloadable templates:
- Social Media Plan Template
- Social Media Calendar Template
- How to Learn Any Marketing Skill in 11 Steps PDF
The Benefits of Social Media for Small Business
Before you ask: Yes, social media is important for small businesses.
With millions of users across the world, social media is a wildly proliferate platform.
Even small businesses that don’t have a clear content strategy have, at minimum, a Facebook profile.
Here’s why you need social media for small business:
- Over 33% of Internet users indicated that they use social media to find information about brands or products.
- 72% of Twitter users who follow brands are likely to make purchases from them in the future.
- Half of all B2B shoppers have used LinkedIn to help make their purchasing decisions.
- Nearly 75% of Pinterest users have purchased something they found on the site.
- 75% of Instagram users have engaged with a brand following an inspiring post.
The truth is that social media is a thriving platform for brand discovery. Whether your goal is brand awareness or boosting conversions, you need to have a social media strategy for your small business.
Your Guide to Social Media Marketing for Small Business
Before you start posting on social media, it’s a good idea to put together your social media strategy. The time spent on this will pay off in the future.
1. Create Your Company’s Goals
You probably already have a good idea of your company’s goals but focus on the goals that you can achieve through social media use.
- Mission: Consider how you can use social media to spread awareness about your brand. Why do people want to buy your products? What sets you apart from the competition?
- Market: Think about who will be using your products or services. How big is your potential market? Are they local or global?
Your company goals drive your business operations, so nailing them down in the context of social media is critical to putting together an effective social media marketing strategy.
2. Understand Your Audience
More specifically than just figuring out your market is understanding your audience. You want to know how they interact with brands and how you can encourage that behavior.
- Demographics: Different groups of people use social media differently. Age is one of the predominant factors in figuring out which groups of people use which social media platforms.
- Engagement: How does your audience engage with brands? Do they comment and share? Do they click and follow? Do they shop and purchase?
Understanding your audience gives you the power to target your social media campaigns more effectively.
3. Assemble Your Social Media Toolkit
Unless you want to spend all day designing graphics and posting on various social media platforms, you are going to need a few tools to manage your social media campaigns.
- Design apps and software: If you don’t have a designer, you can create logos, banners, infographics, and more using free and low-cost design tools like Canva, Venngage, and Piktochart.
- Social media management: Tools like CoSchedule’s Social Organizer can shave hours of time off your social media management.
With compelling images and infographics – plus a social media management tool that can help you organize your posts – you can have a streamlined social media strategy.
4. Select Your Channels
Part of understanding your audience is so you can figure out exactly which social media channels your small business needs to use for maximum impact.
- B2B followers: If your small business caters to other businesses, you’re going to have more success using channels like LinkedIn or Facebook, where most other businesses have some presence.
- B2C followers: Small businesses that cater to consumers will see results from social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as Facebook.
Keep in mind, again, that age is an important factor in social media use, as well. If your audience or target market is older, you’ll want to tweak your strategy a little bit.
5. Set Your Social Media Goals
A little more focused than your company goals, your social media goals will help you put together the most efficient content strategy for your small business.
- Awareness: Some small businesses just use social media for brand awareness – gaining new followers, adding to their email list, or getting on people’s radars.
- Conversions: Other small businesses use social media for conversions – each post is designed to get their followers to click and purchase something.
Whatever your goal(s) may be, you want to establish them early on so you can create the right message and strategy for your company.
Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business
Now that you know the basics of social media marketing for small business, you can take time to put it all together and create an actual marketing plan that works for your goals with these social media marketing tips for small business.
Establish Your Basic Content Strategy
Your basic content strategy defines how you will communicate with your followers. It sets the stage for all of the content you will share and all of the messages you will write.
Two of the most important pieces of your content strategy are:
- Voice and tone: Think about how you want to sound to your followers. Do you want them to feel warm and welcomed? Do you want them to laugh and share with their friends? How do you want them to read your content?
- Types of content: Each social media channel operates a bit differently. Figure out which types of content – links to blogs or how-to’s, GIFs, photos, infographics, videos – you’re going to share and on which platform.
Establishing this ahead of time will make scheduling your posts a lot easier.
Set a Basic Posting Schedule
A basic posting schedule is your guide to putting together a full-fledged marketing calendar in the future. It sets the parameters for when you’ll schedule different types of content.
The two things you need to consider regarding posting schedules are:
- Day of week: It varies across social media channels (and sometimes depending on whether your audience in consumer or business), but it’s a critical element to posts that perform.
- Time of day: You don’t want to post when everyone’s asleep. Optimizing the time of day you post is necessary to increase engagement.
You’ll also want to think about how often you post on different channels.
Plan and Organize Your Posts on a Calendar
Putting your social media marketing plan down on a calendar, while tedious, is necessary to make sure you follow through on your strategy.
There are two ways to manage a social media calendar:
- Calendar templates: You can create a template in a web-based calendar and duplicate that for each post you want to make, but this may require a bit of time.
- Scheduling app: You can also use a scheduling app, like what’s included in CoSchedule’s Marketing Suite, which can duplicate and fill in the gaps in your marketing schedule.
There are other benefits to using tools like CoSchedule’s social media management tools, namely that you can integrate with other services to make your workflow more efficient.
The final thing you need to keep in mind – and diligently track – is your marketing results. Knowing how your posts perform will enable you to produce better posts in the future.
The two metrics you need to track are:
- Views: To know how efficient your clicks and conversions are, you’ll want to know how many people viewed your post.
- Clicks: To understand how well your posts are performing, you’ll need to know how often people click on them (and what actions they take afterward, if possible.)
Measuring results will ensure you don’t keep marketing in circles, and you put your resources to the most practical use.
Start Using Social Media for Small Business Today
Whether you want to increase awareness about your small business, or you want to increase conversions on a new product line, social media has the potential to help you achieve your small business goals.
Keep these three things in mind when you start down your social media path:
- Your goals are critical to your social media marketing plan – make sure your company goals and social media goals align closely.
- Your social media channels need to follow your audience – don’t waste time using channels that are irrelevant to your audience.
- Your time can be saved with social media tools – trying to do everything on your own can lead to burnout.
Read through this guide again and follow the steps to put together your social media marketing strategy today.
February 6, 2020