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A Social Media Guide for Small Businesses

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If you’re one of the 33% of businesses who aren’t on social media, it’s time for a change– and fast. Social media for small businesses is an excellent tool for gaining traffic and building a brand. 

Not sure where to begin? Here’s a guide to learn how small businesses can optimize social media. 

Create a Plan of Action 

If you use social media in your day-to-day life, navigating social media for your small business won’t be a huge challenge. The most popular social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are completely free; all you need is time and effort to make your business thrive online. 

Like any business initiative, a thriving social media presence needs a plan of action. When building yours, consider these strategies: 

Set Goals and Objectives 

Assess your business’ scope and create overall goals and objectives that are specific, measurable, and attainable. There’s no use setting a goal you won’t be able to reach. 

Ask yourself what the most important goal for your business is and base your social media plan around that goal. It also helps to set specific social media goals within your plan. Some common ones include hitting a particular number of likes or acquiring ‘x’ amount of followers.

Goals and objectives should be specific, measurable and attainable
Research the Competition

Get an idea of how the competitors in your industry are using social media for business. You don’t ever want to copy their exact moves (consumers won’t respect that), but you can learn from their mistakes and successes. 

Conduct a Social Media Audit 

If you already have social media accounts for your small business, step back and conduct an audit. What existing efforts do you have that work? What are the efforts that don’t work? 

Create a Social Media Calendar 

A social media calendar organizes your future posts in a systematic and straightforward way. It saves you time and stress and creates consistency on your page, giving a more professional feel to your social media presence. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should use most of your content to educate, inform, or entertain the audience. Only about 20% of your content should be used to promote or sell your products. 

Find Where Your Audience Spends Their Time 

Not every social media platform has the same approach and atmosphere. Take time to do research on which platforms your customers use. 

Gather whatever specific data you can about your target audience to decide which platforms to focus on. Chances are, your audience is on more than one channel. 

Micro-Target Your Audience

You won’t find much success online if you don’t micro-target your audience. To do this, you need to thoroughly understand who your audience is.

Compile the current data you have on your customers, and then use social media analytics to go deeper. With this information, you should have a well-rounded understanding of who is buying from you and interacting with you online. 

Revisit Your Plan of Action 

As you know, a good business plan must allow for change and adaptability. This applies to your social media plan as well. Once you learn about your online audience and customer base, you can use that data to find ways to expand it. 

Finding those in the local area is a great start. Most social media platforms have ways to monitor local conversations. You’ll be able to reach new customers who may be right next door. 

Create a Network 

One perk of social media is that it gives you real-time communication with your customers. You’ll be able to develop direct relationships that eventually build a more extensive network. Customers do a lot of research before choosing a brand, and social media is an excellent place for them to find information. If you don’t respond to your customer’s comments or questions on social media, potentials take notice. 

Organic comments are some of the best ways to build trust and gather more followers. You’ll make your customers feel important when you respond to their messages. When customers like and share your content, you’ll come up in social algorithms and gain free exposure as a result. 

Not to mention, creating these networking relationships can lead to more sales over time. After acquiring a new customer, you can use the power of social media to keep them coming back. 

Mention Followers in Your Posts 

Whether your business is loved by many or just has a few devoted customers, people will likely post content about you. One of the best tips for business social media is not to ignore this! Repost, reply, and share your customers’ posts that mention you. 

When you mention followers in your posts or stories, you create better relationships. If you don’t have followers already tagging you in their pictures or stories, begin creating user-generated content through contests. 

Resharing stories is the easy thing to do. When a fan tags you in something, you’ll get a notification. With one click, you can reshare that content and tell your other followers that you are a brand to be trusted.

As a plus, this will encourage others to tag you in their content! 

Use Interactive Tools 

There are interactive tools on Instagram and Twitter that people really enjoy. They are great ways to gather data, increase engagement, and connect with your audience. Between Twitter and Instagram, you can find polls, question and answer boxes, audience ratings, and more! These interactive tools are perfect for gaining more organic customer interactions. 

shows different tools that smbs can utilize on each platform to engage users. Polls, Trends, etc.

Keep an Eye on the Trends 

Memes go viral all the time, and, depending on your audience, hopping on that trend could work in your favor. We don’t recommend trying out every meme that gets attention. This technique can get old pretty fast, but choosing relevant trends for your audience creates high engagement. 

Mix Up Your Formats 

When you create social media content, don’t just stick to one format. Although it is important to stay within brand guidelines, you don’t want to become boring and monotonous. Social media platforms are beginning to use algorithms that tailor to diverse content. If your pages are filled with the same old same old, you won’t show up on very many feeds. 

Think Quality Not Quantity

Because there are so many different channels, things can get overwhelming for small businesses. You don’t need to stress yourself out by being on every single platform. You can start with creating quality content for one or two platforms. If your posts don’t offer value, potential customers will look elsewhere. 

Once you feel comfortable with the few platforms you started with, try another that you think your audience would enjoy. Remember, you don’t have to be on all of them. In fact, it’s pretty challenging to create quality content for every channel out there. 

Track Your Performance

When you implement your plan of action, it’s vital to keep track of what is and isn’t working. You can find this information through social media analytics tools. 

If you notice something isn’t working, abandon it. Refine your performance and adjust to the market. 

You don’t need to be a pro, you just need to start somewhere

Social media is a free tool that can only work to your advantage. You can use it to connect to your current audience, expand your customer base, and increase brand awareness. Always refer back to your plan of action if you get stuck. And remember, consumers, are on their phones all day. If they’re not checking your social media platforms already, you can put your business in front of them with AdCritter’s tools.

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