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Social Media For Small Business: Ultimate Guide (2024)

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“Social media is great for brands like Netflix, Amazon, or Google, and it’s not for small businesses!”

That’s what most people think.

When it comes to online marketing for small businesses, we often see people underestimating its power. They think social media is an optional choice for small-sized businesses. Or, they have a loyal customer base who knows where to find the company. 

And if you too think social media is optional for your business, you’re making a big time! Having a rigid mentality about social media presence will take your business nowhere. 

But if you use social media the right way, it can open millions of opportunities for your business. In addition, you’ll get plenty of sales and leads too.

In this post, we’ll show you how you can use social media for your small business and skyrocket your business.

Importance of Social Media For Small Business

More than 3.5 billion people actively use social media, and small businesses can use this user base in their favor. Wondering why? Let’s find out below.

Most small businesses are community-focused. They benefit from interacting with their customers or sometimes partnering with other small local businesses. 

That’s why social media can be a great way to market your businesses. It’s a great place to build community connect with people to talk about your service or products. 

And today’s customers have more trust in businesses that have an online presence. In fact, 43% of users will increase their social media use to find new products in 2020. 

Another reason why social media is the perfect marketing option for small businesses is because it’s cost-effective too. You can reach a wide range of audiences all over the globe in just a $1-5 per day investment. 

Also, today’s customers want a personalized experience from brands. Even if your business size is small, you should provide personalized attention by connecting them on social media. 

In fact, 78% of customers who have had an excellent social media experience with a business stated that they’d recommend the business to others. 

How to Use Social Media For Small Business (Proven Tips)

1. Define a Clear Goal

Social media for small business: define goal

Do you know what’s common about these stats? 

All these small businesses had a specific goal to use social media. Some of them used Facebook to advertise and promote their businesses. Some of them used social media to connect with their audience simply. Or, maybe some businesses are trying to generate leads online. 

Without a clear, well-defined goal, you can’t blindly use social media. Before promoting your products or posting content, you have to set clear and specific business goals. 

Audience engagement, lead generation, and advertising are undoubtedly some solid to be on social media. But it doesn’t mean your business should have similar goals. 

You may want to drive traffic to your website from social media. Perhaps you’re new in the business, and your goal is to build brand awareness. 

No matter what your goal is, try to set it SMART. If you have never heard of it, a SMART goal refers to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. 

Use this SMART method to defiance a clear goal and put it in your social media marketing strategy. This way, you can create perfect content plans that will go well on your social media campaigns. 

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Understanding your social media target audience is the most crucial thing you’ll do as a small business owner. 

Without defining your target audience, you can’t speak the same language as your audience. You can’t make them trust your product or services. 

And when you research your target audience, crafting content that resonates well with them and addresses their pain points becomes much easier. 

Also, finding your target audience lets you know which social media platform will work best for your small business. For example, 75% of people aged 18-29 actively use Instagram. While only 20% of people aged between 50 to 64 are active on the platform. 

So, if your target audience is millennials, then Instagram will be the perfect place to market your business. However, if you want to target an older audience, Instagram, will be the worst place to be. 

Now to find your target audience on social media, you can start with:

  • Create a buyer persona. Collect data on information like- “What are your audience’s jobs/age/income?” or “What problems are they facing and how can your product/service solve them?”
  • Find out in which social media platform your target audience is most active. For example, 18.4% of Facebook’s audience is males aged between 25-34. 
  • Make sure to look out for other small businesses or your competitors on social media. Research on what kind of content they’re using? Who is their target audience? 
  • The best way to know about your target audience is by asking your customers. Send them online surveys to know if they’re satisfied with your business, what platforms they like the most, and what content they consume?

3. Create a Content Calendar

Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to create a content calendar. Using a content calendar, you can keep all your post ideas in one place.

It will help you organize your content and align it with your marketing strategy. With a content calendar, you can plan your content ahead and always stay consistent. 

And the best part about having a calendar is you’ll never have creativity block! 

If you’re confused about what to post next on your social platforms, simply look at the calendar and take inspiration. 

Also, maintaining consistency will help you build credibility. It will keep your audience hooked to your page, and over time, you’ll gain their loyalty. 

Here’s how you can create a content calendar:

  • Set your content goal first. Define what you want to achieve with your content, whether you want to promote your website, product, or service. 
  • Make sure to choose a tool to design your calendar. There are tons of software tools available in the market that can build amazing content calendars, such as Asana, Trello, HubSpot, CoSchedule, HootSuite, etc. 

You can use excel sheets to create your calendar in a bit old-fashioned but easy and effective way. 

  • Before creating a content calendar template, figure out what pointers you need to add, for example:
    • Content title
    • Content objectives
    • Keywords
    • Type of content
    • Buyer persona
    • Funnel stage
    • Dates for publishing
    • Miscellaneous notes
    • Distribution channel
    • Links

4. Start Posting Contents

Now that you’ve set all the plans let’s start posting content. 

It may seem like posting content on social media is easy. But the reality is this is the most challenging part of your social media marketing strategy. Because brainstorming new content ideas for your small business is tough. 

That’s why it’s best to keep a list of social media content ideas handy.

Here are some content ideas you can take inspiration from:

  • You can reshare your blog, video, and infographics on social media. 
  • You can promote your products on social media by hosting a giveaway or contest. 
  • Posting polls and quizzes will help you interact with your audience on social media. 
  • You can promote your businesses, services, or products. However, remember that you should promote your business only 5% of the time. Don’t post promotional content often. 
  • A product tutorial can be useful for your audience. 
  • Post-user-generated content. 
  • Share your customer feedback testimonials to build more authority. 
  • Announcement about an upcoming event. 

From keeping a check on social media profiles to engaging with customers, small business owners juggle a lot of tasks. Managing your business while posting content can be overwhelming. 

This is where post scheduler tools come to the rescue. Using scheduling tools, you can plan your content for weeks and months. Also, there are some excellent post-scheduling tools available to make your work hassle-free, for example, HootSuite, Buffer, SproutSocial, and Publer. 

5. Engage With Your Audience Regularly

If you want to build a strong presence on social media, focus on audience engagement. Making meaningful interactions with your audience will help you boost brand credibility and ROI. 

Your social media engagement will depend on various metrics like comments, likes, shares, retweets, click-throughs, mentions, followers growth, etc. there are plenty of ways you can engage with your audience, for instance:

  • Share valuable content that is useful to your audience. Nothing can stop your engagement if your content can solve their problems. 
  • Go beyond just liking or sharing your audience posts. When they share feedback or comments on your posts, make sure to acknowledge them. 
  • Show the human side of your business by sharing photos of your employees, and the work goes behind the scene. 
  • You can run Q&A sessions, AMA on Instagram, polls, and quizzes to keep people engaged on your page. 

6. Post on The Ideal Times

Post on The Ideal Times

74% of Americans open Facebook at least once a day. From 26 minutes per day in 2019, Instagram usage went up to 30 minutes per day in 2020. 12% of Americans use Linkedin several times a day. 

As you can notice, people spend time on social media differently. But if you’ve just started posting online, it’s challenging to figure out what’s the best time to post. As your accounts grow over time, you can find out about the ideal time using social media analytics.

According to HootSuite, in general, the ideal time to post on social media is 10:00 AM on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And to find the ideal posting time, you can follow these tips mentioned below:

  • Figure out when your target audience is active the most. You can easily understand Facebook and Instagram users’ online activity using analytics. However, Linkedin and Twitter don’t allow users to see audience activity. So, you can focus on your audience behaviors and priorities for these two platforms. 
  • Look at your most well-performing post. What time of the day or week does your post perform better?
  • You can determine the ideal time to post based on your post engagement, impressions, and links clicks. 
  • Check out your competitors. What are they doing on social media when posting content to figure out when to post. 
  • Make sure to post in your audience time zones. 
  • Finally, keep tracking the changes and optimize your social media strategy based on that. 

7. Double Down on Trends

Double Down on Trends

Always keep a close eye on what’s happening in the online world to drive engagement. However, posting trendy content doesn’t mean you have to react to every single meme or every recent event on social media. 

Look for what your audience is following and, based on that, create popper trending content that connects well. 

You can follow community forums like Quora and Reddit to find out what people are talking about. Tools like BuzzSumo and Ahrefs also help you find content ideas that are trending. 

Paying close attention to your competitors’ and audiences’ feeds can also help you gather inspiration for trending content. 

8. Use the Right Hashtags

Promoting your small business becomes easy on social media with hashtags. Because hashtags are a great way to drive engagement, likes, and shares when you use them the right way. 

Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Don’t put too many hashtags on your content. The number of hashtags depends on the platform you’re using. However, on average, 2-3 hashtags are good to go. 
  • Keep hashtags short but memorable rather than going overboard with words— for example, Domino’s Pizza’s #Let’sDoLunch social media campaign. 
  • Use specific hashtags that are close to your business niche.

Social Media Budget For Small Business

Whether large or small and medium-sized businesses, every business must have a social media budget. 

Having a social media budget will help you specify how much you should invest in your social media platforms over a specific period of time.

You can create your social media budget in a simple excel spreadsheet to clearly understand your investment and returns on social media. 

And if you’re wondering exactly how much you should spend on your small business’s social media presence, then there are no such rules to follow. According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, a business’s marketing budget varies based on who its end users are. 

For example, B2B businesses should invest 2-5% of revenue in marketing, while B2C should spend 5-10% of their revenue on marketing. 

Based on the same research, small businesses with more than 20 employees allocate $30,000 on marketing each year. 

While planning social media budget for your small business, you should invest money on: 

  • Content creation – Content is crucial if you want to get the most returns from your social media marketing campaigns. Hiring good copywriters can grab audience attention and drive sales from every social media post and ad. 
  • Tools – Your social media budget must include the pricing of special media tools, design and editing tools, project management and collaboration tools, social media analytics, keyword research, and competitive analysis tools. 
  • Paid ads – Your social media budget must include paid ad campaigns. Invest money on Facebook ads, Messenger ads, Instagram ads, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat ads. The costs of ads will depend on your advertising options. In general, to get started with Facebook and Instagram ads, you have to spend $1 per day. On the other hand, on Linkedin, you have to spend $10 per day to advertise.

Wrapping Up

In the social media world, there’s no room for one size fits all strategies. You have to experiment consistently to find out what works best for your small business brand. 

So, take your time and research your target audience, set a clear goal, and define your brand voice before posting on any platform. 

And if you get stuck somewhere and need any help, our blogs are always there to help you. So, go ahead and start building your social media marketing strategy today. 


  • Jennifer Smith

    Jennifer Smith is a writer at specializing in social media and digital marketing. She likes to make complicated things easily understandable for everyone. Her writing expertise includes how-to guides, social media tips and tricks, and digital marketing. When she's not writing, she is either traveling in some part of the world or painting in her house. She has been writing for the past 7 years and has written dozens of blog posts and articles around various digital marketing and social media topics.

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