What are the top social media strategies that every small business owner should know?
To help small business owners discover the best social media strategies, we asked marketing professionals and startup founders this question. From responding to your audience online to consistently posting content, there are several strategies that small business owners can implement to help improve their discoverability and audience engagement on social media platforms.
1. Respond to Your Audience
A call-to-action can make your audience feel seen and appreciated. Ask your followers to like, share, or comment, and when they do so, always comment back and/or thank them. People like to be rewarded!
Followers become disengaged when a social media account only spits out pro forma posts but never responds to their audience. Suppose your audience responds to a tweet–like their tweet, and tweet back at them. If they comment on a video or Facebook post–reply to them promptly. Reciprocating engagement can also encourage others to get in on the action.
Retta Kekic, Qwick
2. Use Social Media Stories
Stories are a relatively new feature on social media, but they’re quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to consume content. You're missing out on a huge opportunity if you’re not using stories as part of your social media strategy.
You can use stories to give your followers a peek into your day-to-day life, give them a behind-the-scenes look at your business, or show off your products in action.
Stories are also a great way to run quick polls or ask questions. You can use the built-in features of stories (like stickers and text) to get creative with your content. And you can use the “swipe up” feature to drive traffic to your website or landing pages. If you’re not already using stories as part of your social media strategy, now is the time to start!
Danielle Bedford, Coople
3. Stop Broadcasting and Start Building Community
Remember the acronym “ABC” in the film Glengarry Glen Ross, with Alec Baldwin yelling, “Always Be Closing,” at the blackboard? Well, social media has a new ABC. Actively Build Community.
Stop broadcasting to your audience and instead invite them to become a part of your community. Get proactive about building a positive and supportive community around your brand, and contribute to that community at least as much as you expect your audience to invest.
Care about your audience, get to know them, and engage in the conversation. What you learn within your community will help you grow a much stronger business.
Frank Prendergast, Frank and Marci
4. Collaborate With Micro-influencers
The influencer market has had a significant impact on the way brands market their products. Although larger influencers may give your brand a higher reach, micro-influencers can help you access niche communities. They have a higher engagement rate than larger influencers, are keener on working with small businesses, and are more open to incorporating feedback. It is much easier to maintain good relationships with micro-influencers and continue collaborating as their follower count grows.
Igal Rubinshtein, Home Essentials Direct
5. Harness the Power of User Generated Content
Cultivating engaging followers that encourages and rewards the creation of User Generated Content (UGC) is a great way to market your small business for free. At our business, we encourage our consumers to send us images of their eye-catching neon signs on display at events, in businesses, and hung up around the home.
Word of mouth remains the ultimate marketing tool, with UGC essentially serving as a modern form. Having engaged consumers shout from the rooftops about the quality of your product will provide your small business with the credibility and buzz required to reach larger audiences, which can subsequently drive conversions through their own UGC.
I recommend using effective hashtags and taking every opportunity to reply on, and champion engaged consumers, as the authenticity that UGC provides to your brand cannot be understated. It’s also vital to keep your finger on the pulse and ensure that your business has a presence on emerging social media platforms.
Clare Jones, Custom Neon
6. Complete a Competitor Follower Analysis
You may have heard of competitor analysis, but an equally important aspect is competitor follower analysis. The best part about social media is exploring your competitors’ potential or current customer base. You can then allocate a team to analyze the preferences, likes, and dislikes of your competitors’ follower base to get a clear idea about what you can do to improve and take the necessary steps to acquire them as your own followers.
Observe how their followers are engaging with them, and have a look at the pages they follow, and the hashtags they use. This way, you can understand your target audience better and effectively cater to them. An excellent method to reach out to their followers is to follow them from your brand’s page or engage with them. This puts your brand on their radar and you may even expand your audience and customer base.
Chris Roth, Highline Wellness
7. Share Your Business’s Story
Every small business owner should understand the power of social media for storytelling. Consumers want to know the story behind the product or service they’re interested in, and social media is the perfect platform to share that story. Be sure to humanize your brand on social media and tell the story of how your business got started, what drives you, and what makes you unique.
Kevin Joubin, Branded Surveys
8. Use Trends to Your Advantage
Social media is fast-paced and ever-evolving. What works today doesn’t necessarily work tomorrow, and that’s why it is important to stay on top of trends. When there’s a relevant trend on TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter that you can use for your business, you need to ride the view. Not only will this boost your reach and engagement, but will also raise brand awareness, help you reach a wider target audience and also connect with your audience as they identify your product/services in a fun and interactive way.
However, it is important to use relevant social media trends to not damage your brand identity or create a persona that does not resonate with your brand.
Zachary Weiner, Finance Hire
9. Try The $1.80 Community Outreach Strategy
When I worked at VaynerMedia as Gary Vaynerchuk’s (aka GaryVee’s) social media manager, Gary came up with what he called the “$1.80 Strategy” (pronounced, “dollar eighty strategy”). The core idea is to comment your “two cents” (thoughts/feedback) on ninety different social media posts (that are in your same niche) every single day. Hence, $0.02 x 90 = $1.80.
By leaving thoughtful comments on people’s content, you may pique their interest, getting them to check out your profile, look at your content, and, with any luck, follow you. To be clear, the goal is not to leave comments where you say “check out my profile” or similar calls to action. Instead, the goal is to leave engaging, thoughtful feedback on each piece of content you comment on while expecting nothing in return. This strategy has worked remarkably for many of my clients, and the best part is that, unlike ads, you don’t have to pay for it – unless you include your $0.02, of course.
Calvin Hamilton, Engineer Influence
10. Choose The Platforms Your Audience Is On
The number one mistake that I’ve made in the past, and the one I see new business owners making all the time, is trying to be on all platforms at once. Unless you’re going to live on social media 24/7 (which I don’t advise), choose the one or two platforms where your target customers are.
If you’re a B2B business, LinkedIn is the place to be. If you sell consumer goods like food or makeup, Instagram might be your best option. Find one or two social platforms that align with your business offerings and familiarize yourself with them. Once you know the social platforms inside and out, learn how to make sales from these platforms and these platforms only.
Ravi Davda, Rockstar Marketing
11. Consistently Post Engaging Content
To be successful on social media means you need to keep up with a consistent posting schedule. The content needs to be engaging and relevant to your audience, ensuring that you capture their attention each time you post about anything. Ideally, you should create your own content while re-sharing content from other sources that apply to your brand.
What social media platforms you use determines how often you’ll be posting, but it’s wise to aim to share one to two times a day. Most brands will use a scheduling app that automatically uploads content across all the brand’s social media platforms. This is a great time-saver and helps you to stay consistent with a posting schedule.
Jarrid Raney, Shop Blends
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.