Boost Your Small Business Marketing with Effective Social Media Tips

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Utilizing social media for marketing is a cost-effective method to advertise small businesses, even for those not well-versed in social media. The primary focus in social media marketing should be on engagement over sales. Sprout Social indicates that 78% of customers are likely to purchase from a business after a positive social media interaction with it.

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Here’s how to begin with your social media marketing to enhance engagement:

Choose your social media platform(s)

Luckily, it’s not necessary to maintain a social media presence on all available platforms—or even half of them. The crucial step is to select one or two platforms where your customers are most active.

“Decide based on your target audience,” suggests Margaret H. Geiger, owner and founder of Twelve31 Media. “For instance, LinkedIn is excellent for B2B businesses, whereas Instagram or Pinterest is better suited for lifestyle products.”

For local businesses, social media expert Yasmin Parsloe advises registering on Google Business Profiles to enhance visibility through search. “Every physical small business should utilize Google Business,” she states. “It’s often overlooked yet offers significant reach.”

The importance is in choosing platforms where your customers frequent online.

Harbor Park Garage in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor leverages the Google profile effectively. Its owner, Andrew Sachs, reports that 92.87% of patrons using his parking garage find it through Google Business Profile. “Parking isn’t glamorous,” he mentions. “Yet, if it’s effective for us, it should work for lawyers, hair salons, dry cleaners, restaurants—you name it. Google Business Profile truly delivers for local businesses.”

Develop a social media marketing plan (consistency is key)

After selecting a platform, creating a consistent plan is crucial. “Many business owners start off strong but then falter as other tasks take precedence,” notes Parsloe. “A common mistake I see is inconsistency.” She recommends starting with a simple content plan. “This allows you to organize your content in batches. You can then schedule your posts in advance using social media scheduling tools.”

Robin D. Brackbill, owner of Fabby-Do, a kids’ crafts cafe, dedicates one day a week to content creation. “For four to five hours that day, we produce all my TikToks, Instagram reels, and YouTube videos for the upcoming week,” she explains. This strategy supplies her with sufficient content for daily posts on Instagram and TikTok, as well as bi-weekly YouTube videos.

Focus less on going viral

The allure of going viral is prevalent, but it’s not essential. “An early lesson that benefited me was realizing that viral videos don’t always equate to success,” says Kate Smoothy of Web Hive Digital, who tripled her business revenue using TikTok. “I’ve seen many skilled creators with viral videos that didn’t lead to leads. It’s better to focus on crafting content for your target audience, and if a video goes viral, that’s a bonus, but it shouldn’t be your main goal.”

Engagement is crucial. “To truly enhance your social media marketing,” Parsloe suggests, “spend just five minutes daily engaging on your accounts, be it responding to likes and comments or following similar accounts.”

Sachs echoes that engagement is key, focusing on delivering excellent customer service. For instance, he responds to all customer reviews on his business’s Google Business Profile, including the negative ones. “Mostly, it helps us identify areas for improvement,” he says. “For example, following complaints about slow exit times after concerts, we optimized our processes. Now, our customers leave much quicker, and a satisfied customer is more likely to return.”

Measure engagement and refine your strategy

Since engagement is the essence of social media, determining the effectiveness of your online activities can sometimes be challenging. “Always monitor your insights and analytics,” Geiger advises. “Review the data on the platforms you use to understand what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to refine your messaging. Regular analysis is vital for planning future content and focusing on strategies that enhance engagement, clicks, or revenue.”

“You should always be checking your insights and analytics.”

You can also gauge the impact of your social media presence in other ways. For instance, Brackbill routinely asks clients how they heard about Fabby-Do. “This tells me that most of our clients who book appointments or birthday parties found us through social media,” she notes.

Smoothy adopted a unique approach when she shifted her focus from Instagram to TikTok. “I created a separate landing page for my TikTok profile,” she explains. “I also set up a distinct inquiry form and booking form. It quickly became apparent that TikTok was generating the majority of my leads, prompting me to intensify my efforts there.”

Don’t be afraid to experiment

While it’s beneficial to continue with proven content, social media trends are always evolving. Therefore, don’t hesitate to try new things and adapt.

For Jeff Moriarty, marketing manager of Moriarty’s Gem Art, a family-owned jewelry store near Chicago, experimentation involved initiating live streams on YouTube and Facebook. “None of our competitors were doing this,” he states. “And it was cost-free—it just required time to set up.”

Moriarty’s live streams, which are both educational and commercial, allow viewers to see products, make purchases online, and ask questions. “We now attract about 1,500+ viewers each broadcast. It’s not only kept us connected with our customers but also significantly boosted our sales. Around 10% of our annual sales now stem from our live YouTube broadcasts.”

Ultimately, Moriarty emphasizes the importance of being interesting. “We rarely post sales-focused content on our social media. Instead, we share exciting news about our store or events. People generally enjoy this, and we receive a lot of engagement as a result.”

Stay current

Geiger offers a final suggestion for small business owners looking to improve their social media marketing: “Keep up-to-date with trends and changes on the constantly evolving social media platforms—they’re always changing!”

“Monitor your competition,” adds Parsloe. “I often tell my clients to work smarter, not harder. By researching and understanding your competitors’ social media, especially those that inspire you, you can identify content gaps or opportunities that you can exploit on your own social media channels.”

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