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8 smart social media marketing tips for small businesses

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Key takeaways

  • Consistency is key in all things social, including your visual branding, publishing schedule, and content quality
  • With social media marketing tools, you can reduce your time spent on content creation, publishing, and more
  • Keep track of your social media metrics so you can adjust your strategy when necessary

Social media is one of the most important elements of a modern marketing strategy. Read any article on promoting your business and social media is mentioned—and for good reason. Research shows that 72% of all U.S. adults use at least one social network, making it one of the best ways to get eyes on your brand messaging. With that in mind, use this list of social media marketing tips to enhance your broader marketing efforts.

1. Create and follow brand guidelines

When you first start using social media for small business, it’s crucial to create a content marketing strategy that includes your brand guidelines. These guidelines are rules that define how your brand looks and feels. For example, it describes which colors, fonts, and tone of voice you should use in your social media content, as well as what key messages and values should shine through.

Once you create these guidelines, stick to them. Consistent small business branding will help you create memorable and dependable brand experiences on social media, which can lead to greater brand awareness and loyalty—both crucial for growing companies.

Do: Stay strictly on-brand. Shoppers are growing more brand loyal by the year, so you need content that’s uniquely “you” to maintain a highly engaged following.

Don’t: Forget your creativity. Following brand guidelines doesn’t mean pushing out the same type of content every week.

2. Post high-quality content consistently

If you’ve studied digital marketing tips before, you may have heard the phrase “consistency is key.” Consumers respond to consistency, which is why offering the same brand experience on every social media channel is so important. It’s also why following a regular posting schedule (like publishing LinkedIn posts twice per week) is vital.

That said, consistent content will only help you grow your social media presence if it’s consistently high-quality. Don’t post just to get new content out there. At the very least, your social media content should have a clear message and offer value to customers—even if you’re just entertaining them. For example, if you’re running a landscaping business, a post might educate customers about proper pruning methods or share a discount on landscaping services. 

Do: Create a content calendar ahead of time. Proactive planning allows for more strategic posts while helping you stick to your posting schedule.

Don’t: Rely on what’s trending. Joining the conversation can help you expand your reach, but original content makes you stand out in the long term.

3. Build relationships with your target audience

Understanding your target audience—from their demographics to their interests and values—is a common social media marketing tip. But to make your social presence successful, you need to do more than understand your potential customers. You need to engage with them.

Take the time to respond to comments, messages, and tagged posts, and actively like and comment on other users’ posts, too. Doing so invites your followers to engage with you. As this two-way relationship grows, your most loyal followers may soon become loyal customers who spend more on your brand.

Do: Engage with followers and relevant non-followers. This is a great way to maintain loyalty while attracting more customers to your pages.

Don’t: Copy and paste comments from one post to the next. A meaningful, relevant comment that is specific to a particular post is more likely to win you a follow, reply, or sale than a single emoji or generic comment.

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4. Embrace social media marketing tools

For small business owners, managing even two social networks can take up a lot of time. The good news is that most social media marketers aren’t spending their days constantly jumping between platforms. They’re using digital tools to streamline content creation, automate publishing, and more.

A core social media management tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social can help you save a significant amount of time. These tools allow you to manage all of your social media accounts with automation from one dashboard. Depending on which platform and plan you choose (basic versions are typically free and you can pay for upgraded plans), you can create and schedule posts, engage with your followers, and see your mentions all from one place.

If you don’t have any graphic design or video editing experience, there are plenty of beginner-friendly tools that can help you create high-quality visuals for your social media posts. For example, Canva offers eye-catching graphic templates that you can update with your own text, images, and brand colors or fonts.

Do: Test before you invest. Many social media management platforms offer free trials, so you can get a feel for how they work.

Don’t: Choose a tool just because it’s free. The system you use should support the features you need and social media platforms you use.

5. Be willing to experiment

The social media landscape is changing fast. Just when everyone had their eyes on TikTok, audio-only app Clubhouse became the most-downloaded social platform on the App Store. Plus, individual platforms update their algorithms throughout each year.

Staying relevant is all about being willing to experiment. Try out new content formats. Switch up your usual caption length. Post on a different time or day than you usually do. Experimenting (while staying on brand) helps you uncover new opportunities and keeps your audience excited and engaged.

Do: Start with small changes. See how your audience responds to one Facebook Live, for example, before going all-out on live video.

Don’t: Change your social media marketing strategy every few days. It usually takes at least a week for results to become apparent, so don’t give up on a campaign before it has a chance to simmer.

6. Track your social media metrics

Whether you’re experimenting with video, running an ad, or posting as usual, make sure you’re tracking your social media metrics at least once a week. Your metrics tell you if you’re hitting your goals and help you spot issues before it’s too late.

Many social media management tools have analytics capabilities, so you can get complete reports for all your platforms. When you get your analytics, focus on the metrics that will actually impact your business and marketing goals. For example, if your goal is lead generation, you should track link clicks. 

Do: Act on insights. No matter how high-quality your content is, if your audience isn’t engaging with it, it’s time to revisit your social media marketing plan.

Don’t: Focus too hard on vanity metrics. Metrics like your follower count or number of likes don’t have direct business results. On the flip side, metrics like your social media engagement rate—which is your total engagements (likes, comments, shares) divided by total followers—can impact your return on investment (ROI). Customers that are highly engaged with brands can boost revenue and profitability by 23%.

7. Optimize for each social media platform

Every social media network is a little bit different. While the social media marketing tips in this list can apply to all platforms, keep in mind that your strategy and content shouldn’t look exactly the same across all channels. Social media users interact with each platform differently. For example:

  • While TikTok hashtags can expand your reach, Facebook posts that use hashtags have historically worsened engagement
  • Square images work great on LinkedIn and Facebook while vertical images and infographics work best on Pinterest
  • Twitter has a significantly shorter character limit than other platforms, so brevity is crucial
  • YouTube is widely used across generations, but Snapchat users are predominantly under 35

Reposting the same content across your social media pages is perfectly fine, but take a few minutes to optimize your captions, content, and hashtags if necessary.

Do: Focus on one or two platforms first. To optimize efficiently, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin.

Don’t: Assume you know where customers are most active. Do some market research to see which platforms your specific target audience is using.

8. Target niche audiences with ads and influencers

Unpaid posts will mainly get seen by your current followers. Ads and micro-influencers are two of the best ways to reach more people with your brand. Both can be highly cost-effective, helping you achieve an impressive return on investment (ROI).

Social media ads only require you to pay when you actually receive a click. Your ads may show up on more users’ news feeds, helping you build brand recognition while getting more bang for your buck.

Furthermore, social media platforms allow you to closely target your ideal customers based on characteristics such as age, gender, income, and interests. You’ll be able to cater your messages to specific segments of your audience, making your marketing efforts far more effective.

Micro-influencers play a similar role. These influencers, who may have as few as 1,000 followers, tend to have higher engagement rates, more affordable rates, and niche audiences. When you hire them to post about your brand, your message can resonate better with this smaller, more loyal following.

Do: Create a budget. Know how much you can spend before building an influencer marketing or digital advertising strategy.

Don’t: Hire influencers without screening them. Professional influencers should be able to provide their subscriber and engagement rates, audience demographics, and even case studies of past brand deals.

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Put these social media marketing tips into action

Most consumers are on social media these days, making it a marketing opportunity you don’t want to miss. But you don’t want to blindly invest in social media platforms either. These eight social media tips will help you put more strategy and efficiency into your marketing efforts.

Don’t have the funds for social media ads or influencers yet? Get our free online advertising tips to grow your online presence on a budget.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.