How to Create a Great Social Media Strategy in 2024 (+New Data)

Create a comprehensive plan for leveraging social media platforms to achieve your marketing and growth goals with this free workbook.

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Updated: 03/13/24

Published: 03/11/24

Creating social media strategies can be overwhelming, especially when you're just launching your brand or just building your online presence for the first time. So many channels, features, tools, and products available – but so little time to fit them all into your marketing strategy.

If you don’t have a full-time team of social media experts at your disposal, it’s even harder. But the fact is that your online success depends on having a sensible and straightforward strategy that fits your resources and goals.

I spoke with three top-tier social media experts, and dug into recent HubSpot research (including our 2024 State of Social Media Report), to show you how to develop a social media strategy that drives traffic and ROI to your brand.

What is a social media strategy?

Why you need a social media strategy, how to create a social media strategy.

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small business social media plan

The State of Social Media in 2023

Explore the top trends in social media for brands to know and optimize your social strategy.

  • Short-form video trends.
  • Social media and ecommerce.
  • AI in social media.

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

A social media strategy is an outline of the content that your business will post, the responsibilities of your social media team, and the social media channels you will use to promote your business. A social media strategy includes social media goals that complement your business' overall digital marketing strategy.

Your social media strategy is your master plan for how you create, post, and engage with your social media content.

It encompasses your social content guidelines, posting cadence, social media marketing campaigns, target audience, and engagement strategy that promote your business and brand.

Many companies use social media to connect with customers, provide support, advertise new products and features, and promote special offers.

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According to our most recent The State of Social Media , social media marketers' top challenges include creating engaging content, generating leads, and reaching target audiences. While these are some of the trickiest challenges, they're also the items you'll want to think about most when making an effective plan.

Ultimately, well-thought-out social media strategies equip you to set goals and guardrails, track performance, and tweak your benchmarks over time.

“One of the biggest challenges I think social media marketers face is saturation and competition. There is so much content on social media that sometimes it makes it challenging to stand out from the crowd. Having a robust strategy that understands the target audience includes strong copy and unique content can help to cut through the noise,” says Ellie Nash , social community executive at Kurago .

Without a starting point, you can‘t measure what’s working and how to shift your activity to hit your goals.

A social media strategy also helps you set expectations for broader team involvement and get everyone aligned on what they should and shouldn't do on your social networks.

  • Define your target audience.
  • Incorporate ecommerce.
  • Optimize your social channels for search.
  • Focus on a few key channels.
  • Make a plan for customer service.
  • Develop a recipe card to guide you.
  • Measure your results.
  • Adjust your tactics.

1. Define your target audience.

If you haven’t already identified and documented your buyer personas , start by defining the key demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach — such as age, gender, occupation, income, hobbies, and interests.

To meet your audience where they are with marketing that won't annoy them, you first need to learn out what they want and why. 

Social Media Motivations

Are social media users visiting these apps to learn, explore, shop, or just have a good time?

In our most recent State of Consumer Trends Survey this summer, we asked over 500 general consumers to pick the three most common reasons they use social media. 

While 65% actually use it socially to keep up with friends, 53% just want to be entertained while 50% want to learn new things. Unfortunately, 28% say they prefer to go on social media to learn about new products or brands. 

The good news? Later in the survey, when we asked consumers how they prefer to research and learn about brands and products, a whopping 41% said they like to do this on social media channels (a slight increase from a similar survey we ran six months prior).

While Gen X and Boomers skew lower on this average, Gen Z and Millennial generations are using social for brand research more often – which is not surprising due to their hyper-connectedness to the web.

As you might be able to tell from our data above, your target audience plays a role in how successful the right strategy will be. And, better catering to them helps you create focused advertising that addresses your ideal consumer’s specific needs.

For instance, the below-sponsored post by , a project management platform, highlights the platform’s flexibility and workflow customization feature.

The post targets business owners and project managers who may feel limited by other project management software. post on X (Twitter); social media strategy examples

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Consider your ideal consumer’s challenges and what problems they're solving daily. Focus on no more than four types of people representing most of your buyers. Don’t get hung up on the exceptions or outliers, or you’ll never get started.

Once you start creating content for your audience, focus on engaging your audience at every level.

Pay close attention to any questions or comments your audience posts, and be quick to address them, as that engagement could make or break a conversion or purchase.

Consumers like feeling like they’re part of a community when they’re on your social media pages. More than 1 in 5 social media users joined or participated in an online community in the last year.

Speaking of communities, creating social media groups is a smart move to attract, keep, and engage the audience, with 90% of marketers agreeing.

Here's why:

  • Groups help people get involved.
  • Followers can learn from each other.
  • Your brand becomes a connector — something like a helpful friend.
  • Communities feel more friendlier to chat compared to pages. 

In 2020, HubSpot made a small Facebook Group called Marketer to Marketer with 4.9k followers. It's not as big as our Facebook page, but conversions prove its worth it.

Marketer to Marketer—HubSpot Facebook Group

Pro tip: To reach the right audience, use social listening tools . These tools check social media for keywords, assess if the talk is positive or negative, and give you reports. This helps in creating a buyer persona for better targeting.

2. Incorporate ecommerce.

As more and more people use social media to discover new products, they’re also finding convenience in shopping for those products directly in the social app they found them in.

While one-fourth of social media marketers are already seeing more effectiveness in social shopping tools than they are with ecommerce site strategies, 80% of social media marketers believe consumers will eventually buy products directly within social apps more often than on brand websites or through third-party resellers. 

What's more, 25% of users between the ages of 18 and 44 had already bought a product on social media by summer of 2023. We wouldn't be shocked if this number increased in 2024.

Lastly, if we look at how this trend is fairing across the globe, several other countries have already made social media shopping a norm.

UK social buyers, 2021-2025 

For example, check out this comparison of data from the UK, China, and the US:

  • In the UK, social shopping saw a rise from 2021 to 2023 , with 4.1% of the population engaging in this trend. Anticipated data suggests a further increase in 2024 and a growth of approximately 2% in 2025.
  • In 2022, around 84% of Chinese consumers have shopped on social media platforms. Despite some COVID-19 challenges, it reached 850 million users in 2021 , making the market worth more than 2.5 trillion.
  • In 2023, the US made $68.91 million from social commerce , which is 5.9% of all online sales. This is a sharp increase from $39.51 million in 2021.

US retail social commerce sales, 2019-2025

Translation? If you sell products, social media should be a key part of your ecommerce strategy in 2024. It doesn't matter where you are. Social selling is a big deal — so it’s time to take it seriously.

Most platforms offer built-in e-commerce features like shoppable posts, and 47% of social media marketers are already taking advantage of selling products directly within social media apps.

The most popular social selling tools for marketers are:

  • Instagram Shops and Instagram Live Shopping — high ROI.
  • Facebook Shops — average ROI.

Social selling tools with the highest ROI

(Psst: Need help building a Facebook page for your business? We have you covered.)

If you need inspiration for incorporating e-commerce into your social strategy, take a cue from Sephora .

Sephora’s shoppable page example 

Whenever the beauty brand shares an image of a product, it uses a product tag that links to its shoppable page above.

This makes it easy for its followers to instantly buy something they see on the page without ever having to leave the app.

One critical element of successfully selling on social media is establishing brand trust so users feel comfortable purchasing your products directly on the app.

While Sephora has built an established brand reputation over time, you can build trust in other ways, even if you’re building your social media strategy from scratch.

Focus on sharing customer reviews and testimonials, user-generated content (UGC), and product data to build social proof.

Pro tip: Go with image, video, and carousel ads for brand awareness to emphasize store visits, ad impressions, and engagement. For increased sales, select product, collection, or shopping ads to drive direct purchases and product page visits.

3. Optimize your social channels for search.

Social search is on the rise.

As more people turn to social with their queries instead of search engines, 89% of social media marketers agree that social search is important to their overall social media strategies in 2023.

Nearly 24% of consumers aged 18-54 use social media first to search for brands.

small business social media plan

Pro tip: You don’t need to film an hour-long video. Even short videos, aka YouTube Shorts, can help you rank higher in SERP. You can use UGC videos and testimonials for that purpose.

4. Focus on a few key social channels.

Most small businesses or social teams don’t have the bandwidth to establish and sustain a quality social media presence on every single channel.

It's also overwhelming to learn the rules of engagement on multiple networks simultaneously.

Focus on the channels that will bring in the highest ROI. For most brands, this will be Instagram.

Instagram has proven to be the best source of ROI, engagement, and quality leads. Additionally, 23% of marketers believe Instagram offers brands the most potential to grow their audiences in 2023.

Adding an Instagram feed to your website is also a smart move to keep your site looking fresh and even to nudge people towards buying, as social media content can increase conversions by up to 29%.

With a tool like Flockler, even if you’re not a tech expert, you can make your site more lively and exciting with your latest Instagram posts. See their easy guide on  how to embed an Instagram feed on a website .

small business social media plan

Or as Annie-Mai Hodge says, “You don’t need to be on every single social media platform, full stop — for most businesses, it’s a waste of time and resources to be on platforms where your audience isn’t active.”

When creating your strategy, Hodge says, “You would’ve looked at where your audience is, what your competitors are doing, and what you’re aiming to achieve with social media — all of this will help inform you as to what social media channels you should be focusing on.”

Pro tip: Check where your competitors are most active and what kind of content they post. You’ll see what works or doesn't and how engaged their audience is. Don’t copy them — just use that info to make smart decisions for your strategy.

5. Repurpose your content.

Why stress over creating different content for each platform? 

Keep it simple: repurpose and use the same awesome content in different places – within reason of course.

According to our research, most marketers repurpose content in some way, shape, or form, while 19% consider it one of their key strategies. Meanwhile 40% plan to invest more in content repurposing in 2024.

This makes sense. By repurposing content, you can leanly and easily:

  • Get your message to more people on different platforms.
  • Save time by using what you already have instead of starting from scratch.
  • Stay visible on search engines by updating and reusing content.
  • Cater to your audience's preferences with different formats.
  • Make your content last longer by updating timeless pieces.
  • Improve your strategy by checking how your content performs on different channels.

HubSpot LinkedIn post

…to hilarious TikTok video:

@hubspot Always look for a desk with a view (of your manager's eyeline) #hybridwork #9to5 #officehumor #inoffice ♬ original sound - HubSpot

However, one word to the wise is to not lean on it for every single campaign. Although most marketers do it, only 7% told us it yields them substantial ROI compared to content that's more catered to platforms. 

So, if you're low on time or bandwidth, experimenting a new platform that's similar to one you already use, or can make light tweaks to optimize content for different channels – feel free. Just make sure you're giving your audience what they're looking for and not over-spamming them with content they've seen several times already.

Pro tip: Looking for a creative content idea that feels more personal than repurposed? Make catchy quote pictures from customer thoughts, share email insights on X or LinkedIn, and whip up quick videos from podcasts — people love that kind of stuff.

6. Make a plan for customer service.

When putting together your social media strategy, consider how you’ll use your channels for customer service.

Social media is so ingrained in our day-to-day lives that it’s no surprise that people turn to these platforms for everything from brand discovery to customer service.

According to our State of Social Media and Consumer Trends research, 1 in 5 social media users contact a brand through social DMs for customer service each quarter.

43% of marketers use customer service reps, 41% rely on platform managers, and 13% employ automated tools like chatbots.

Whether you create a separate account dedicated to customer service or have an auto-reply set up when people DM you on Instagram, have a plan for how you’ll handle customer support through social media.

small business social media plan

Now, let’s talk a little bit about the importance of good customer service on social media. According Khoros research :

  • 42% felt disappointed, 43% were unhappy, and 41% reported anger with poor customer care.
  • 67% shared bad experiences, and 65% switched to a different brand.
  • 43% are more likely to buy from a brand after a good customer service experience.
  • 83% feel more loyal to brands that resolve their complaints.
  • 73% of brands expect more inbound channels, and 53% anticipate more outbound channels in the next one to two years.
  • Pro tip: Apart from clearly stating working hours, let customers know the expected response time and inform them about quicker alternative resources if available.

7. Develop a recipe card to guide you.

Social media isn’t an exact science. It doesn't work the same for every business or industry.

To see results for your business, create a recipe card. A recipe card is a posting and engagement schedule that keeps your team on track and helps you post content consistently.

HubSpot has a list of social media tools and templates that you can use to plan your content and create a posting schedule and content calendar.

One of the best ways to manage an SM content calendar is the method Bazile shared with me.

Here’s how she categorizes it:

  • Evergreen engagement content.
  • Evergreen promotional content.
  • Specific campaign content.
  • Recurring communications content.

“Breaking down content into these buckets allows social teams to maintain regular presences online while also separating content data into easily trackable pieces,” she says.

Develop a reasonable recipe card and well-organized calendar. Stick to it and get your team to follow. Set goals for your posting and engagement frequency, and hold yourself accountable for following your recipe.

Pro tip: Choose platforms that allow easy editing and content management within your team. This ensures smooth collaboration and calendar updates.

8. Talk WITH, not AT, your followers.

In our latest Consumer Trends research, 41% of consumers pointed to relatability as the most memorable aspect of posts from brands or companies on social or the web. 

Friendly brands win more followers (and hearts). So, skip the self-promotion overload. Instead, get into conversations and respond to comments authentically.

People love it when you chat with them, not just throw information their way. It makes them feel special, creating a genuine affection for your brand.

You don't have to sound super professional. Casual talk works even better on social media. Just take a cue from McDonald’s:

McDonald’s interacting with follower 

And here’s something interesting to remember — very few people, less than one percent , interact with the brands’ posts. 

Here are the platform breakdowns:

  • Facebook: 0.09%.
  • Instagram: 1.22%.

So, once you get a comment, find the right way to interact and show that you care.

Don't just ghost and ignore. These comments boost your post higher in algorithms and make it more visible. 

Pro tip: Never delete negative comments unless they’re super offensive or totally inappropriate. Instead, use them as an opportunity for constructive engagement and improvement.

9. Measure your results.

“Without goals, a product roadmap, or even a full brand strategy, social media managers will struggle to know what to prioritize in the social space, what metrics to measure to convey progress, and what sort of content or social presence is ideal for the brand,” Bazile says. 

There are countless things to track on your social media channels. Start by looking at how much traffic your social accounts drive to your website or blog.

Social media platforms offer tools to help businesses track analytics.

For example, you can use Facebook’s Page Insights , Instagram’s Account Insights , and LinkedIn’s Visitor Analytics to see what people are responding to and look for trends related to topics or keywords that generate the most interest.

Once you get an idea of your average traffic and post-performance, set goals for key metrics and keep a scorecard to measure your progress.

Be sure to choose metrics that are easy to gather because if it’s too time-consuming to track, you won’t be motivated to do it.

Examples of simple metrics include the total number of interactions, traffic to your website, and sales or revenue that can be attributed to social.

Examples of simple metrics include the total number of interactions, traffic to your website, and sales or revenue that can be attributed to social.

“One of the most valuable indicators, in my opinion, is impressions,” Nash says, “Impressions measure the number of times a piece of content is displayed on users' screens and help to evaluate the effectiveness of your content strategy in terms of exposure and brand awareness.”

Pro tip: Don’t only focus on platform numbers. Track the social sentiment as well. See if people express positive or negative feelings about you in online conversations. It takes a bit of manual work, but it's worth it. Check regularly for better insights.

10. Adjust your tactics as needed.

Social media won't start working overnight.

Establishing a following, stabilizing your brand, and seeing the results of your efforts take time. So, experiment to find the right combination of channels, content, and messaging that works for your audience.

We can pick up some cool tricks from Victoria's Secret in this regard.

They’ve shifted from using only professional photos and videos to incorporating more casual content. Now, VS’s Insta feed also includes UGC and interviews with random people on the street and in their stores.

Victoria Secret’s Instagram feed

Victoria's Secret proves that even as a high-end brand, you don't lose anything by including everyday people. 

Actually, you gain. 

Interviewing people in the VS store

More followers, more engagement, more exposure.

Keep track of changes in your post views, audience demographics, and post interactions, and make changes as needed.

Over time, you’ll be able to adjust your recipe card, content, and personas based on the information you’re gathering, which will help you fine-tune your strategy and generate more consistent results.

Trying new stuff might seem a bit daring, but sometimes, it's just necessary to “survive.”

For instance, try to use funny content whenever possible.

In our 2023 survey of over a thousand global social media marketers, 66% said funny content works best, followed by relatable (63%) and trendy (59%) content. While 45% talk only about their brand values, the key is to use humor for the most impact. 

Don't believe that humor can pay the bills? One-third, or 34% of Consumer Trends respondents also told us funny content is most memorable to them. 

66% of social media marketers say funny content is the most effective 

I asked Hodge to tell me about a time when changing tactics improved social media results. She recalls that at the start of 2023, Girl Power Marketing stopped growing on social media and started losing engagement. 

“It wasn’t until I sat down and reassessed my strategy that I was missing something, and that was humanization,” Hodge recounts. “Why should people trust my thoughts, opinions, and guidance if they have no clue who was behind GPM or the mission behind it?”

Hodge shares that she started showing up more intentionally. She created content that showed more of herself, her personality, and GPM’s mission. 

“And a year later, GPM has grown to a community of 180k+ people - all because I switched up my tactics that no longer worked,” says Hodge.

social media strategy tips

Pro tip: Tailor your content to match seasonal trends and holidays. This helps keep your brand messaging timely and relatable. And most importantly — people love it.

Keeping Up With Social Media Strategies

While these tips will help you optimize your strategy for ROI in the present day, it's important to get your footing and keep up with the big shifts that are inevitable as new tools, channels, and trends arise.

To keep up with low stress, keep following research like our State of Social Media Report and check out our blog and resources for the coverage of social trends and tactics you actually need to keep on your radar.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in February 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to create a social media strategy (with template)

Hero image with an icon of a person (profile)

I've been in the social media game for years now, and despite the vile cesspool of nonsense on social, there are plenty of decent people looking for what we marketers are offering. But you need to know what you're offering.

To make the process easier, I developed this downloadable social media strategy template. Read on for details on how to fill it out.

How to create a social media strategy:

Establish a clear purpose

Understand your target audience

Research your competitors

Research your audience

Choose the right social media channels

Determine your KPIs

Conduct a social media audit

Perfect your publishing cadence

What is a social media marketing strategy? 

A social media marketing strategy is a game plan for using social media platforms to promote your offerings and stand out in an oversaturated digital market. It's not just a five-minute whiteboard drawing; it's a comprehensive document detailing how you'll use social media to achieve your business objectives.

Here are three questions to ask yourself when you're getting started, which you'll want to comprehensively answer in your strategy:

What are your goals? Your social endeavors should tie back to your business objectives. Be it driving sales, boosting engagement, or elevating brand visibility—know what you want to get out of it.

Who's your audience? Understand who you're talking to. Tailor your content to resonate with the people you want to reach, ensuring your messages aren't just broadcasted but effectively land.

What's the competition up to? Take a look at your rivals. Learn from their hits and misses, then carve your unique path. Inspiration is good; plagiarism isn't.

Remember, the purpose of this strategy is to guide your online endeavors so that every post, every comment, and every share has a purpose behind it.

Benefits of a social media strategy

Having a strategy for your social media isn't about cramping creativity but rather channeling it effectively. Setting a clear direction ensures that your online efforts lead to tangible business benefits:

Increase sales: When done right, your social media content should funnel people to your website or store. Then, you can use more middle- and bottom-funnel content to turn those visitors into paying customers.

Boost engagement: Strategic content isn't just seen; it's interacted with. And that doesn't just mean more likes. We're talking real engagement, like shares, comments, and conversations. That's what really builds brand awareness and fosters trust within your audience.

Track preferences: Predetermined metrics like reach, engagement, conversion rates, and ROI provide awesome insights into what types of content are and aren't effective, so you can take that content and scale it beyond social media.

Build communities: Your brand isn't just about selling; it's about connecting. A well-honed strategy helps cultivate spaces where enthusiasts can rally around what you offer and get the word out to others.

Gather feedback: Your digital communities also become treasure troves of insights. They're your direct line to what customers adore, desire, or would change.

Support cross-functional efforts: A cohesive social media strategy amplifies other departments' efforts, whether announcing a product launch, amplifying a PR campaign, or driving attendance to a corporate event.

How to create a social media marketing strategy

I've run quite a few social media campaigns for my personal brand as well as different businesses I've worked for. Each one had different goals, which is to be expected. But regardless of your end goal, you can use the same big ideas to formulate your social media marketing strategy.

1. Establish a clear purpose

I can't tell you how many social media managers I've seen just throw as many things at the wall as possible and hope something sticks: giveaways that get short-term engagement, services that guarantee followers and likes, or jumping on whatever the most recent bandwagon is. What these lack is a clear purpose. 

To outline how social media marketing will help your brand, write SMART goals , or goals that are S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R ealistic, and T ime-Bound. Some example SMART goals you might have for your social media strategy could be: 

Within six months, achieve a 20% growth in social media engagement through targeted advertising and influencer partnerships to enhance brand awareness .

Within three months, increase website traffic by 15% and online sales by 10% by implementing effective call-to-action (CTA) strategies and conversion tracking on Facebook, Instagram, and X (Twitter).

Within 12 months, identify and hire at least 50 brand advocates who consistently share our content and refer new customers through the implementation of a brand advocacy program.

When you have an overarching purpose, the rest of the strategy planning is simple. It also makes it easy to adjust your social media strategy as you go without losing sight of your long-term goals. Each time you make a social media decision, ask yourself: does this align with the purpose? Yes? Keep it. If not, get rid of it.

2. Understand your target audience

Before sitting down to map out your social media strategy, figure out who you want to see your content (and whether they want to see it). If your company already has a good understanding of your target consumer, boom—you're off to a great start. Use that research for your social media strategy. If you don't have a target audience already, curate an audience persona to flesh out their "character." For true crime fans, think of it like being a profiler. 

From there, orient each part of your strategy—from which platform you post on and when to what metrics you're trying to hit—toward that target audience. 

Aim to create a strategy that answers all of these questions:

Is your strategy respectful of your audience's backgrounds and experiences, and what value does it add to their lives?

What are you hoping they take away from your content, and what are they hoping to take away from it?

What existing knowledge do you expect them to come with, and what can you teach them?

3. Research your competitors

As much as we all want to feel like unique, creative geniuses, everything is inspired by something. But don't just copy what your competitors are doing—ask yourself why they're doing it that way and what the thought process is behind it. 

Here are some questions you can consider when filling out the social media strategy template:

Who are your competitors trying to target?

Why is their strategy working?

What social media platforms are they using and why?

What social media platforms aren't they using and why?

How often do they post content to each platform?

Are they replying to comments?

What is the ratio of posts trying to sell something compared to fun, interesting, or educational content?

Look for gaps and opportunities that your competitors—whether they're crushing it on social or not—aren't taking advantage of. What are they missing that you think your target customers would enjoy?

Let's say you're a vegan restaurant and other vegan joints only post images of their food. They may have plenty of followers, likes, and sales, but you know you can do more. You can post behind-the-scenes videos, recipe tutorials, and images of your clientele with rich anecdotes as captions, Humans of New York style, to show your audience you're more than a menu.

Or maybe it's even simpler. Let's say a competitor isn't getting a ton of engagement on their posts, and you notice they never end their captions with a discussion question. Try including this simple call to action in your own captions to encourage more comments and drive up your engagement.

4. Research your audience

Outlining a social media strategy without doing audience research first is like going out of your way to get your friend an iced brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso when they hate oat milk, brown sugar, and turns out they drink tea. But unlike your pal, your audience won't just smile and say thanks—they'll keep scrolling.

You need to know what type of content your audience likes, so you don't leave them scrolling for something better. Take these steps to get to know your audience:

Engage in social listening : Use social media management tools that offer social listening to monitor what people are saying about your brand, industry, or competitors. Create a list of relevant keywords (your brand name, industry-related terms, competitors, trending topics) to help narrow your search.

Send surveys and gather feedback: Use survey software to send out market research surveys . Offering incentives like discounts, freebies, or contest entries in exchange for taking your survey can help get responses.

Analyze engagement metrics: Look at posts from your account and your competitors' accounts that get the most engagement. What topics resonate the most? Do they prefer short, funny videos? Or educational deep dives?

Segment your audience: Not all of your followers are the same, so you'll want to divide them into groups based on their behaviors or preferences, like followers who engage more with your trending content rather than business updates. This can help you more precisely target your audience rather than trying to appease everyone with broad messaging.

5. Choose the right social media channels

Just as there's a "right" audience for your content, there's a right channel (well, channels) for it as well. We don't have to spell out what each platform does, but knowing some ins and outs of them will be key when using social media for your business .

A table showing the different social media platforms, their audience demographics, ideal content types, and what their audience is looking for content-wise

Make sure the social platforms you choose are right for your brand. Consider some of the following questions:

Does the platform host your target audience?

Is it working for your competition?

If it's not working for the competition, is it because your target audience isn't there or because competitors are doing something wrong?

Does it fit well with the content you plan on making?

Is it worth your time and effort to create content for it?

Once you've chosen the social media platforms you plan to use, check out these channel-specific guides for more detailed strategy tips:

4 tips to develop a Twitter marketing strategy

How to do more with user-generated content on Instagram

YouTube marketing: Tips, tricks, and strategies

7 TikTok marketing ideas from small business owners

6. Determine your KPIs

So, what exactly does social media "success" look like? Bringing in more business, sure, but that's a little vague. You want to see that your social media strategy is hitting smaller goals along the way. To gauge how your strategy is paying off, define some quantifiable key performance indicators, or KPIs. 

Here are some examples.

With easy-to-use reporting tools , you can track your progression toward KPIs. 

You need to please the social media algorithms in order to get your content promoted organically, and the algorithms care about engagement. Social media engagement, like shares, comments, and likes directly impact every other KPI due to how the algorithms work, so engagement should be your main focus.

7. Conduct a social media audit

As marketers, analytics are our bread and butter (if you're wondering why you're salivating right about now). A social media audit highlights the data behind your efforts. 

It's probably a good idea to audit your accounts before embarking on a campaign to get a sense of where you're starting off. But most importantly, perform an audit after each campaign to ensure your strategy is paying off. 

Other than your KPIs, here are some things to track when you audit yourself:

What types of content you're posting and on which platforms

How much engagement each post received

How many followers you have (or gained/lost)

Any positive or negative comments

Whether you're reaching your target audience or not

For some of these, a human's perspective makes sense. For the more granular work, a social media management tool can help make the auditing process a whole lot easier.

8. Perfect your publishing cadence

If you send me an email at 5 p.m. on a Friday, you can expect a response Monday morning at the earliest . And if you spam me with 11 messages that definitely could've been consolidated into one, there's a chance they're all going in the trash.

The same goes for your social media strategy. When and how often you post can make a big difference in how your content performs.

Here's how to figure out a publishing cadence that works best for your brand:

Analyze peak times: Use analytics tools within social platforms or external tools like HubSpot or Later to find the days and times your audience is most active. Remember, time zones and holidays can affect engagement.

Prioritize quality over quantity: It's better to post high-quality content a couple of times per week than bad content every five minutes.

Test and learn: Conduct A/B tests by posting at various times and days of the week, and monitor engagement to see which posting times perform the best.

Plan ahead with a content calendar: Use a social media scheduling tool to plan your content in advance. Look for a tool that lets you schedule posts and view and adjust how your feed will look.

Stay on top of trends: You have to be able to adjust to changes like trending topics or news that's relevant to your brand. Hold space in your content calendar to create trending content.

Bonus: Get inspired by these 6 examples

Here are some examples of how real-life social campaigns knocked it out of the park. Each one has a clear strategy behind it (which I've teased out based on the campaign itself).

1. Olivia Rodrigo #ShotoniPhone15Pro campaign

Apple wanted to flaunt the iPhone's camera capabilities and knew it had to resonate with the younger demographic obsessed with photography and music. Enter Olivia Rodrigo—a contemporary musical sensation. Through their collaboration, Apple seamlessly blended tech and pop culture, using platforms like YouTube, where both visuals and melodies reign supreme. This helped showcase Apple's camera and Olivia's music while also boosting brand recognition among younger demographics.

Audience: Tech-savvy and pop culture-conscious Gen Z users 

Goal: Increase awareness of the iPhone 15 and its advanced camera capabilities

Tactics: Celebrity partnerships; high-quality videography and photography

Twitter screenshot of Olivia Rodrigo's #ShotoniPhone15Pro campaign

2. Marcus Theatres

Marcus Theatres, in a move that's pure genius if you ask me, put their CEO Greg right where he should be— front and center on TikTok . Embracing trending sounds and being his genuine goofy self, Marcus Theatres wasn't just looking to make a name; they were all about fostering brand love. And with 73K loyal followers, I'd say, mission accomplished.

Audience: Gen Z and Millennial TikTok aficionados

Goal: Build brand loyalty and resonate with the TikTok community

Tactics: CEO-led TikTok videos; tapping into trending sounds

TikTok video screenshot of CEO Greg chatting with customers at Marcus Theatres

Zapier knows its audience loves being in the loop. By hinting about a soon-to-be-launched product, they weren't just teasing—they were turning product announcements into social media events. By nudging followers to make a guess, Zapier reminded everyone they're not just a tool, they're the ultimate tech community.

Audience: Tech and Zapier enthusiasts

Goal: Generate buzz for an upcoming product and reinforce brand community

Tactics: Interactive teasers; encouraging audience predictions

Screenshot of a Zapier Instagram post generating buzz for an upcoming product and reinforce brand community

4. Poppin Candy

In a sweet twist, Poppin Candy turned to its followers for new candy concoctions. Instead of guessing what their audience might want, they went straight to the source. By letting followers have a say, they're boosting engagement and making sure their treats hit the sweet spot every time.

Audience: Sweet-toothed fans and creative candy connoisseurs

Goal: Enhance engagement and customer connection to the brand

Tactics: Audience-driven candy mix challenges; crowdsourcing flavor ideas

small business social media plan

Ok, the movie was great, but I'd argue the social media strategy was even better. Warner Bros. got social media right, partnering up with big names like Burger King and Crocs, and diving deep into TikTok trends. And the cherry on top? A whopping 25% spike in U.S. Barbie toy sales post-movie release. Coincidence? I think not.

Audience: Kids, teens, and those with nostalgic connection to Barbie

Goal: Promote the Barbie movie and its doll catalog

Tactics: Brand collabs; capitalizing on viral TikTok trends

small business social media plan

6. Starbucks

Starbucks knows a thing or two about creating a buzz. Their September ThursYays BOGO on fall drinks was all over social media. And if the long lines post-noon on Thursdays are any indication, their cups—and registers—were overflowing.

Audience: Fall flavor fans and deal hunters

Goal: Drive up sales and increase word-of-mouth promotion of fall flavor release

Tactics: Limited-time deals; heavy promotion of seasonal specials

Screenshot of Starbucks September Thursyays

How to get the most out of our social media strategy template

This template for your social media strategy will help you document everything we just covered. If your goals and KPIs change when you start a new campaign or marketing plan, you can reuse this template to outline your new strategy.

A snippet of the social media strategy template that can be downloaded via the button below

And as you execute your strategy, it never hurts to use social media automation as much as possible for promotion, so you can focus on content creation. Here are some tips for getting started with social media automation:

Make social media monitoring easier with automation

4 workflows to better manage your brand's social media

5 ways to automate Twitter

Automatically post to Instagram for Business with these 3 workflows

How to automate your business Facebook Page for easier marketing

You can use Zapier's pre-built social media planner template to create captivating posts for different social channels, schedule them effortlessly, and track their posting status—all in one centralized tool.

This article was originally published in November 2020 by Tierney Mosier. The most recent update, with contributions from Michael Kern, was in October 2023.

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Chris Boutté   picture

Chris Boutté

Chris is a Las Vegas local and has years of experience in content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing. He is also an author, YouTube influencer, podcast host, and committed advocate for mental health.

  • Social media

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Social media small business

How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Your Small Business in 8 Steps: A Complete Guide

When it comes to social media success, a little planning goes a long way. Developing a strong social media strategy for small business will eliminate a lot of the guesswork from your marketing efforts and ensure that the time and resources you invest deliver the best return. 

The effectiveness of social media marketing is undeniable; the problem is determining how to focus on it when budgets and people are limited. The key levers for establishing a strong social media presence for your small business are to know who you’re talking to, establish goals, focus on the right platforms, analyse your competition, and carefully deploy your resources by determining where they will have the greatest impact.

As a small business owner, you don’t have a marketing team prepared to tackle every platform. That’s why we’ve gathered all the details you need to help you nail your social media strategy in 2022 and beyond.

Table of Contents

  • The importance of social media for small businesses 

1. Set SMART goals

2. identify social media goals metrics.

  • Social media analytics and reporting for small business 

1. Understand your audience

2. assess your competition.

  • 3. Define your brand look and feel

4. Establish KPIs and benchmarks

5. do your research, 6. focus on the right social media platforms, 7. determine your social media posting frequency.

  • 8. Create a social media content calendar

1. Consider user-generated content (UGC)

2. find content inspiration, 3. use social media scheduling and automation to free up more time for engagement, final thoughts, the importance of social media for small businesses.

If you work on a small marketing team, are the sole marketing person at your company, or manage all aspects of your business, you understand what it’s like to wear many hats. With a plethora of deliverables to push out to keep your small business running, social media marketing is an essential part of any type of promoting your brand on social platforms.

A recent analysis by Kepios shows that there were more than 4.62 billion social media users around the world in January 2022; that’s 58.4% of the total global population!

Social media user numbers have also seen strong growth over the past 12 months, with 424 million new users joining social media since last year. 

This makes social media a powerful platform for connecting directly with an audience to build brand awareness and brand loyalty for small businesses focused on community and individual customers. Even better, social media is an effective lead generation platform. You can create content and resources that will add value to your prospects and customers while also cultivating their brand affinity.

Identifying social media goals for your small business

small business social media plan

By defining goals, you can point to the specific steps and actions you’re taking to meet the needs of your business. To get the most out of your social media marketing activity, it’s important to align business objectives with social media goals. Here’s what to keep in mind when setting social media goals for small businesses: 

The SMART goal-setting framework is insanely popular, and it’s one of the most recommended social media marketing strategies for small businesses. In case you aren’t familiar, SMART is an acronym that stands for the following:

  • Specific : Your goals should be clear, simple and defined.
  • Measurable : This is where analytics come in. You want a goal that has one or more metrics.
  • Achievable : Is it achievable, or is it not possible within your resources?
  • Realistic : With your current resources of time and money, is it possible to achieve your goals?
  • Time-sensitive : Every goal needs a time frame, whether it’s one year or several months.

Now, it’s time to identify the metrics you’d like to assign to your goals. Business objectives defined through specific and measurable results serve as a compass for your team, directing you in the right direction to help you achieve larger goals.

Social media analytics and reporting for small business

Setting goals is one thing, but monitoring your performance to evaluate success is quite another. That’s why it’s critical to use social media analytics to determine what’s moving the needle for your small business

Several social media platforms deliver analytics on your social media presence, but you’ll have to invest in a social media management platform if you want more in-depth analysis, cross-network analysis, and cross-profile analysis, among others.

Some of the most important social media metrics that you can track are the following:

  • Engagements: The number of times an individual has interacted with your message, including actions such as Likes, Favourite, Shares, Retweets, Replies and Follows.
  • Impressions: These refer to the number of times an individual saw your message.
  • Engagement rates: The number of engagements divided by the number of impressions.
  • Visits: The number of times someone visited your profile page.
  • Followers: Refers to how many users follow you on social media, usually shown as increasing or decreasing over time.
  • Mentions: The number of times your handle or brand was mentioned on social.

small business social media plan

Find the best time to post, track your follower growth, and understand what content works best with post and account analytics.

Related: Check our latest blog to find out the best time to post on TikTok

How to create a social media strategy for small businesses in 8 steps

Using social media for small businesses is all about knowing your audience and posting about what matters to them. Posting useful material that helps your customers or clients in some way is the best way to increase reach and engagement and grow your social media presence . Once you know who you’re talking to (demographic, interests, behaviours), do some research on the types of accounts they follow, as well as the types of posts that they typically enjoy and share. This will give you a better picture of what they value.

Instead of posting generic content, be clear on why you’re publishing what you are. In other words, if you post helpful content, people will be more likely to engage with it. Think about why you are loyal to particular brands and what the reasons are other than their product. Apply the same logic to your small business and determine exactly what your ideal audience expects from you – and what you could offer them that others can’t.

An essential part of a social media strategy for small businesses is checking out your competition’s social presence. There are two reasons why competitor reviews are important:

  • The performance of your competitors on platform-specific channels can be an indicator as to whether it’s a platform worth using for your own small business.
  • Reviewing their content (good and bad) can also help influence your ideas.

The idea here isn’t to just replicate a competitor’s content strategy. Instead, you should do a competitor review . The goal is to determine what forms of content work and which ones don’t. This can help you understand a competitor’s strengths and limitations, as well as what people anticipate from a brand in your same area.

You probably already have a good idea about who your competitors are. If not, an easy way to find competitors is to take your most popular keywords and type them into a search browser, like Google. For instance, if your small business is a barbershop, you might search for “barbershop [insert area name]” and see what is returned. 

You may use the search results to visit competitor websites and check to see which social channels they’re using, how often they publish, and what kind of information they’re posting. Soon, you’ll be able to identify a pattern of which social media networks are most popular, and which types of content perform best.

3 . Define your brand look and feel

Your brand voice is similar to your company’s personality; it’s how you communicate with your customers. And it may differ slightly from one platform to the next. For example, consider how would you talk about your business, products, or services to a friend as you refine your brand’s tone of voice.

If you don’t know how to measure your social media marketing goals, you’ll never reach them. You must understand which metrics to examine, how to interpret them, and what to do with the information gleaned from them.

If your small business already has social media accounts, it’s critical to benchmark your current performance to understand the outcomes of your previous efforts. This also allows you to compare future strategies to prior results and evaluate if your performance is improving.

Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks will allow you to track your small business’ progress and measure the results of your social media efforts. The most important KPIs will depend on your goals and the social media platforms that you’re using. For example, if you’re looking to drive awareness for your brand you might track your reach and impressions, or if it’s about increasing interest in a particular product, you could measure website referrals.

If traffic is your objective, using keyword research tools is another way to optimize your content and attract highly targeted visitors to your website.

Visually plan your social content. Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn + Pinterest

A competitive analysis is an examination of your competition to determine their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they compare to your own.

It’s a method of comparing your own results to those of industry heavyweights so you can spot areas for improvement and strategies that aren’t performing as well as they should.

A social media competitive analysis of social media, in particular, will assist you in:

  • First, determine who your social media competitors are.
  • Learn which social media platforms they use and how they use them.
  • Determine how effective their social media strategy is.
  • Compare your social media results to those of your competitors.
  • Recognize the social threats to your company.
  • Finally, look for flaws in your own social media marketing plan.

Competitor analysis on social media isn’t just about learning about your competitors. It will also provide you with information about your small business and your target market.

Identify the right social media platforms for your business: Starting with platforms that make the most sense for your business will save you time and keep your content calendar from becoming overwhelming. Understanding how each social media platform works and what type of content to use on each is key to a successful social media strategy for small business. Here’s an overview of how to use each social media platform to your advantage:

  • Instagram: As a visual platform, Instagram is the perfect platform for showcasing your products or services in action with engaging posts and video formats .
  • Facebook: Facebook, is an all-purpose platform where you can share photos, company updates and information, videos, and other educational content to increase brand awareness and trust.
  • Twitter: Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to send and receive short messages as well as shareable media, making it ideal for company announcements, articles or blog posts, and customer service.
  • TikTok : Small businesses are using this social platform to show how their products work, share behind-the-scenes, give tips, and join trending challenges. 
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great platform for building your network, raising brand awareness, and attracting new talent to join your business.
  • Pinterest: A visual-based platform, Pinterest is used for “scrapbooking” or, in other words, saving content by “pinning” photos or videos to a virtual bulletin board. Perfect for showcasing your brand´s look and feel.
  • YouTube: The perfect social platform for more in-depth, educational content, such as styling tips, interviews, tutorials, and longer-form videos.

Your small business doesn’t need to be actively posting on every network. While it may seem ideal to have a strong presence on all of the major social media platforms, if you try to manage too many channels, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin. 

To optimize your social media resources, choose a few platforms where your audience is most engaged, and commit to updating those platforms regularly. You can use social media management tools Like Hopper HQ to help you schedule posts, reply to comments, and engage with your audience frequently. 

When building a social media plan for small businesses, many business owners worry about how often they should publish. Of course, it depends on the social media platforms through which you communicate with your audience. 

According to a study performed by the Statista Research Department in 2021, here are the experts’ recommendations on how frequently you should post on social media:

  • Instagram : Creating daily stories and sharing regularly will boost connection and engagement.
  • Facebook : If you publish on this platform, aim to do so once a day.
  • Twitter : When you know you have an online audience, plan a lot of tweets each day.
  • LinkedIn : LinkedIn is a powerful business networking tool, which is the reason why it is so crucial to make meaningful content contributions at least once a week. 

Establish a target for how often you’ll post and monitor how it goes. Check in frequently to see what kind of feedback and engagement your activity is getting from your audience.

8 . Create a social media content calendar

A social media calendar is a list of your upcoming posts on social media. If you’re using Hopper HQ or another social media management tool, you can use the calendar planner. Alternatively, you can organize your upcoming posts in the form of a spreadsheet, Google calendar, or interactive dashboard.

For each post, a social media calendar usually includes a combination of the following elements:

  • It will go live on the specified date and time.
  • The social media account and network where it will be shared
  • The links and tags required for copy and creative assets (photos or videos).

A social media content calendar takes a lot of the guesswork out of social media posting and having one will provide many benefits for your small business, such as:

  • Helps you focus on goals and spot gaps: Your social media posting should have a goal in mind. If you are posting just to post, then you will never know if your social media is working.
  • Social media content calendars save time for small businesses: Content calendars may appear to be a good idea, but as a business owner, you may believe you don’t have time for them. But creating a content calendar takes less time than posting individual social posts on a daily basis. You’d get into a rhythm if you sat down and did this for a few hours.
  • Create content with higher quality:   If you are creating a content calendar, you are prioritizing your marketing and social media strategy. This will result in higher quality posts.
  • Reduces mistakes: A content calendar will help you avoid major mistakes that can occur when you do social media at the last minute. You’ll be able to spot problems because you’ll have more time to review your content. It’s also a lot easier to tweak and adjust to changes in your small business.

> Video, gallery & image posts > Calendar, feed & grid preview > Instagram, Facebook & Twitter

Top social media tips for small businesses

Now that you have your social media strategy in place, you will want to invest some of your time and effort to stay on top of the latest social media marketing trends. Here are the social media tips you need to take your social media strategy to the next level: 

As a small business owner , you understand the importance of positive customer reviews and social media posts about your brand. Shoppers want to do business with brands they can trust, and reviews are an important part of that process as they send the right signals.

User generated content , also known as UGC, is content made by customers of a brand and often used by companies in their marketing activity. Consider it as a form of free advertisement from satisfied consumers.

There are various types of user-generated content you might use in your social media strategy, for instance:

  • Reviews : When your customers leave positive reviews on your site , social media, or elsewhere, they’re essentially marketing your business for free. You could reshare these reviews via your own social media accounts to spread the word.
  • Contests : Contests and giveaways are excellent ways to raise brand awareness. Use terms and conditions that will draw attention to your account, such as requiring your participants to follow your page, tag a certain number of people, and share your post in their story.
  • Gamification/Interaction : Gamification transforms the customer experience into a game, engaging your audience and encouraging them to stick with your small business. For instance, you can engage your audience in answering polls, quizzes and questions, and in return, they can receive rewards such as access to special benefits, discounts, and more.
  • Videos : Video content is interesting, relatable, and easy to share. Ask for video reviews of your products or services from customers and your audience to post on social media so that others can see their genuine feedback.

You can also brainstorm a few ways you can leverage your audience to craft original content. This could include asking them questions or gathering opinions through polls.

The industry can be slow, the market can be slow, or the product or service you provide doesn’t change much. It may appear that there is nothing more to say, but this is never the case. Sometimes, you just need some fresh inspiration to get back on track.

  • Take a look around

It’s all too easy to become engrossed in blogs, social media, and other digital platforms that we forget to look up every now and then. However, checking in with the real world every now and then can give your content a new perspective. Also, don’t give up on incorporating your own daily challenges into your content.

  • Refresh your industry perspective

You’re not alone if you think you’ve said everything there is to say about your industry. However, you are incorrect as well. When you change your perspective a little, you can find new perspectives on topics that have already been covered extensively.

  • Attempt a new method

There is no one-size-fits-all method for coming up with new content concepts. If your routine isn’t inspiring you, try a different approach, such as blocking out all distractions for a while or gathering your team and putting your heads together. You might discover that a method you’ve never tried before is the most effective.

Social media automation uses third-party tools and software to execute social media-related tasks on your behalf. For example, you can use social media management tools to schedule posts, analyse metrics, and feedback on any mentions of your brand on social media. 

Every small business that uses social media automation can benefit, whether they’re automating to save time or increase product sales.

Here are great ways to make your social media strategy more automated:

  • Schedule content for social media: Instead of setting reminders to post at certain times, automation tools can schedule those posts on your behalf. You can create a queue of evergreen content to publish throughout the week without needing someone on-hand to publish it.
  • Study hashtags: It’s no secret that hashtags are one of the most effective ways for businesses to reach out to new customers. Hashtag search features are available on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and potential followers are likely to use (or follow) those hashtags to find new content.
  • Collaborate with influencers: Influencer marketing has exploded in popularity in recent years. Instagram has fueled the growth, and accounts with more than 5,000 followers are typically invited to work with brands.
  • Make use of social media listening tools: It takes time to manually check for brand mentions; however, there are several social listening tools available that can do it for you. When someone uses your brand name but doesn’t tag you, you’ll get a notification, allowing you to jump into the conversation in a matter of minutes.
  • Automate social media reporting: One of the most time-consuming tasks is social media reporting, especially when you have several different metrics to pull together and analyze from various social media analytics tools, each with its own data organization systems in place.

Fortunately, social media automation tools like Hopper HQ can handle this for you. These automation tools combine metrics from each platform you use and package them in an easy-to-understand and, more importantly, actionable format. Learn how to choose the best social media management tool for your business here .

Regardless of your industry, product, or service, there’s a social media audience for your small business. Following the steps outlined in this post will assist you in developing a social media marketing strategy that attracts them.

Remember to create attainable goals, post the right content to the right people at the right time, and track your progress along the way. Although social media is a long-term investment, getting it properly can have short and long-term rewards for your small business.

Understanding how each social media platform works and what type of content to use on each is key to a successful social media strategy for small businesses. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tiktok, and Pinterest can help you get started quickly.

The 10 steps to create a successful social media strategy:

  • Understand your audience
  • Assess your competition
  • Define your brand look and feel
  • Establish KPIs and benchmarks
  • Do your research
  • Focus on the right social media platforms
  • Determine your social media posting frequency
  • Create a social media content calendar
  • Use social media management tools
  • Use analytics to track and optimize performance

Social media is a powerful platform for small businesses to connect with their audience and build brand awareness. Even better, social media is an effective lead generation platform. You can create content and resources that will add value to your prospects and customers while also cultivating their brand affinity.

About the Author

By day, Lily López is a Content Writer and Marketer at Envato, a world-leading online community for creative assets, tools and talent. By night, a Spatial Design student. She’s based in Tijuana, Mexico, and has worked with several global clients for the past 7 years developing projects involving Content Operations, Data Analytics, Copywriting, Outreach, and Voice-over productions. When not working, Lily can be found hanging out at the nearest flea market.

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How to Do Social Media Marketing for Small Business

Your time is valuable, but so is social media. Here’s what small business owners need to know to make the most of each platform.

cover image

Table of Contents

Social media marketing for small business is all about being strategic. While enterprise companies have the luxury of dedicated resources and time, small businesses need to be more agile, nimble, and creative.

You can’t just throw money at a problem and hope for the best. You need to be smart about how you’re using social media to reach your target audience.

Here are all the social media marketing tips you need to market your small business in 2023.

Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template   to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.

Why use social media for your small business

If you own a business, you’ve likely spent time researching social media marketing for small business. And for good reason.

There are now 4.2 billion active social media users . That’s almost twice as many as there were just five years ago, in 2017. Those users spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes on social channels every single day.

What’s more, social media isn’t just for big businesses anymore. In fact, 71% of small-to-mid-sized businesses use social media to market themselves, and 52% post once a day.

If you want to compete, you need to get online. Here are five essential reasons for using social media for business.

Reach more potential customers

Every business owner knows how difficult it can be to attract new customers . You can spend hours crafting the perfect product and designing an eye-catching website, but if no one knows you exist, it’s all for nothing.

Social media has leveled the playing field , giving small businesses a way to compete with larger companies for attention. By using social media platforms to create content that is interesting and engaging, you can reach a wider audience and encourage them to purchase from your brand.

Increase your brand awareness

A well-executed social media marketing strategy will lead to increased visibility for your business. When you create interesting, relevant content, people will share it with their followers, which will increase your reach and exposure. The more your brand is shown online, the more chances you have of people becoming familiar with it and eventually making a purchase.

Understand your customers better

How much do you really know about your customers? While you may have some information about their demographics, social media can help you to learn more granular information about their interests, needs, behaviours, and desires. This valuable customer data can be used to improve your social media marketing strategy and ensure that you’re creating content that appeals to your target market.

We’ve compiled demographic information for all of the major social networks. Use it to help gauge where your audience spends their time online. But remember that these demographics are just an overview.

Understand your competitors better

Your competitors are online. Period. And chances are, they’ve already put some thought into their social media presence. By taking a look at what they’re doing, you can not only get some ideas for your own strategy , but you can learn what’s working well for them and what isn’t . This competitor data is an essential part of creating a successful social media marketing strategy.

Conducting a competitive analysis can help you learn what’s working and what’s not for other businesses like yours. Don’t be afraid to look outside of your main competitors , and draw inspiration from the success of businesses in all industries.

Build long-term relationships with your customers

Social media isn’t just about posting pretty pictures and witty captions. It’s also about building relationships with your customers . These are the people who will buy your products and services and tell their friends about you, so it’s important to nurture these connections.

Showing that you care about your customers and their experience with your business will go a long way in securing these relationships long-term . And, as fans share and like your content, you rise in the social algorithms and gain new, free, exposure.

Keep in mind, the average internet user has 8.4 social media accounts , so you can connect with them on different platforms for different purposes. For example, you could use Facebook to build your audience and generate leads , and Twitter for customer service .

Let’s explore the benefits of each platform for small businesses below.

Which social media platforms are best for small businesses?

Now that you know how to use social media for small business, it’s time to get online.

As you begin researching the best platforms and tools to build your social media strategy, don’t make assumptions about where your audience spends their time.

Your instinct might tell you that if you’re targeting Gen Z, you should skip Facebook and focus on Instagram and TikTok. But the data shows that nearly a quarter of Facebook users are aged 18 to 24.

If you’re selling to baby boomers, social might not seem like a top priority. But it should be. Facebook and Pinterest are the top social networks for boomers. Adults over age 65 are Facebook’s fastest-growing audience segment.

Choosing your platforms doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. You can use different social channels to reach different audiences or to meet various business goals.

Here are the best social media platforms for small businesses.

No matter how you feel about this social media giant, Facebook continues to be the most used social media platform globally. It boasts over 2.9 billion monthly active users and more than 200 million businesses.

Facebook is a great platform for small businesses because:

  • There’s a wide demographic range. Facebook users span all age groups, genders, and interests.
  • It’s multi-use. You can use create a Facebook page, run advertising campaigns across Meta products, track audience data, and create an e-commerce shop, all within one platform.
  • It can be a one-stop shop. Facebook can provide a full customer service journey, from first touch to final sale.

If you’re thinking about using Facebook for your small business, ask these questions first:

  • Who is your target audience? Facebook’s most engaged audience ranges from 18-44 years old. If your target audience falls outside of this age range, you may want to consider another platform.
  • What are your business goals? Goals on Facebook can range from creating brand visibility with a Facebook Page, to selling products in Shop or through Facebook ad campaigns. Knowing your goals will help you determine whether Facebook is the right platform for your business.
  • How much time can you commit? Research shows that the best way to get results on Facebook is to post 1-2 times per day . If you don’t have time to commit to this, you may want to revisit your resourcing strategy.

While Facebook acts as a generalist platform, Instagram is where you can get specific about your niche. If you’re in the fashion, food, or film industries, for example, odds are most of your target audience is on Instagram.

It’s also worth noting that the platform skews younger—the vast majority of users are between 18 and 34. So, if your target audience is baby boomers, you may want to focus your energy elsewhere.

graph showing instagram audience falls between 18 to 34 years of age

Instagram is a great platform for small businesses because:

  • It offers in-app shopping. Instagram makes it easy for users to buy products they see in your posts, Reels, and Stories.
  • The platform is visual , which makes it ideal for businesses in the fashion, beauty, travel, and food industries.
  • Instagram users are engaged —the average user spends 11 hours per month on the app.

If you’re thinking about using Instagram for your small business, ask these questions first:

  • Does my brand present well visually? Instagram is a very visual platform, so your posts need to be appealing.
  • Can I commit to posting regularly ? Like any social media platform, Instagram requires a consistent presence. Posting to Instagram 3-7 times per week is recommended.
  • Do I have the time to create engaging content? If you don’t have the time or resources to create high-quality content, Instagram may not be the best platform for your business.

Another platform with generalist appeal is Twitter. Twitter is the 9th most visited website globally and has over 200 million daily active users. Twitter users are also highly engaged shoppers, with 16% of internet users aged 16-64 report using Twitter for brand research and 54% reporting they are likely to purchase new products. For advertisers, Twitter’s CPM is the lowest out of all the major platforms.

twitter monetisable daily active users shown in bar graph

Twitter is a great platform for small businesses because it’s:

  • Conversational: Twitter is all about engaging in conversation. This can be between you and your customers or you and other businesses.
  • Real-time: Twitter is where people go to find out what’s happening right now. This is why news organizations and journalists love Twitter.
  • Hashtag friendly: Hashtags are a great way to get your content in front of people who are interested in that topic.

If you’re thinking about using Twitter for your small business, ask these questions first:

  • Are your customers on Twitter? Twitter is great for building relationships, but if your customers aren’t active on the platform, it might not be worth your time.
  • What kind of content will you share? Twitter is a great platform for sharing quick news and updates, but if you’re mostly posting images or longer-form content, you might be better off on a different platform.
  • Do you have the resources to commit to Twitter? We recommend Tweeting at least 1 to 5 times per day. If you don’t think you can commit to that, Twitter might not be the best platform for your small business.

Maybe you think TikTok marketing is not the right fit for your brand. But even well-established brands with an audience well outside Gen Z are experimenting with this platform .

@washingtonpost The Lower 48 states are seeing the coldest temps of the season so far due to a blast of Arctic air ❄️ #winteriscoming #winter #snow #coldoutside ♬ original sound – Colin Riggy Rigg

TikTok is a great platform for small businesses because:

  • It’s a level playing field. You don’t need a huge budget to produce high-quality content.
  • It’s all about creativity. If you can be creative and think outside the box, you’ll do well on TikTok.
  • There’s a lot of opportunity for virality. If your content is good, it has a chance of being seen by millions of people.

If you’re thinking about using TikTok for your small business , ask these questions first:

  • Do you have time to create TikTok videos? While you don’t need an entire production team at your side, creating TikTok videos, and posting consistently, does take time.
  • Does your target audience use TikTok? Keep in mind, TikTok’s audience tends to skew towards the 18-24 range. So, if you’re marketing to Gen Z or young millennials, TikTok is definitely worth considering.
  • Do you have creative ideas for videos? If you’re not sure what kind of content would do well on TikTok, take some time to browse the app and get inspired.

In recent years, Pinterest has grown from a creative catalogue platform to one of the most powerful visual search engines on the internet today. Not only do Pinterest users love to find and save new ideas, but they’re also increasingly using the platform to make purchasing decisions.

pinterest advertising profile shown in bar graph

Pinterest is a great platform for small businesses because:

  • It’s a positive space. 8 out of 10 Pinterest users say the platform makes them feel good. Being present on a positive platform can help your brand’s image and reputation.
  • It’s highly visual. People love images because 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Pinterest is the perfect place to share beautiful visuals of your products or services.
  • You can reach new audiences. Because Pinterest is a visual search engine, you have the opportunity to be found by people who are actively searching for products and services like yours.

If you’re thinking about using Pinterest for your small business, ask these questions first:

  • Do you have enough visual content to use Pinterest? As we said above, Pinterest is a highly visual platform. You’ll need high-quality images to make your pins stand out.
  • Is your target audience active on Pinterest? Women aged 25-34 represent 29.1% of Pinterest’s ad audience while men make up only 15.3%.
  • Do you have products to sell on Pinterest ? 75% of weekly Pinterest users say they’re always shopping, so make sure you have something to offer them.

YouTube is the world’s most popular video-sharing social network that boasts a potential ad reach of 2.56 billion. Not only does YouTube offer a huge audience, but it’s also an effective platform for promoting products and services.

youtube advertising audience profile shown as bar graph

YouTube is a great platform for small businesses because:

  • You can drive traffic to your website. By including a link to your website in your YouTube videos, you can drive traffic to your site.
  • You can improve your SEO. YouTube videos often appear in Google search results, which can help improve your website’s SEO.
  • You can build brand awareness. YouTube is a massive platform with a highly engaged user base. Use it to post engaging video content that will help build awareness for your brand.

If you’re thinking about using YouTube for your small business, ask these questions first:

  • Do you have resources to commit to content creation? Unlike TikTok, creating YouTube videos requires more than just shooting a quick clip on your phone. You should have a decent camera and some editing skills (or access to someone who does).
  • Do you have something unique to say? There’s a lot of content on YouTube already, so you need to make sure you have something unique and interesting to say before starting a channel. Ask yourself: what can I offer that other businesses in my industry don’t?
  • Can you commit to a regular upload schedule? Once you start a YouTube channel, you need to be able to commit to uploading new videos on a regular basis. This could be once a week, once a month, or even once a day – but consistency is key.

small business social media plan

Create. Schedule. Publish. Engage. Measure. Win.

Social media tips for small business

Once you’ve found the right platforms for your social media marketing, it’s time to start posting. Here are a few social media tips for business to get you started.

1. Plan your content in advance

The number one mistake small businesses make on social media is posting content on the fly. While it may seem easier to spend a little bit of time every day coming up with something to post, this can actually be more time-consuming (and stressful) in the long run.

Creating a social media content calendar can help you plan your content in advance and avoid last-minute scrambling. Plus, it’s easier to come up with a mix of content (e.g., blog posts, images, infographics, etc.) when you have some time to think about it.

When building out your content calendar, make sure to include:

  • The type of content you’ll be posting (e.g. blog post, image, infographic, etc.)
  • The date you’ll be posting it
  • The social network you’ll be posting to
  • A link to the content (if applicable)
  • A brief description of the content
  • Copy to include in the post body
  • Any campaigns, special holidays, or important dates to be aware of
  • All links, tags, or hashtags you want to include in the post

social media content calendar example

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our free content calendar templates to get started. Or, check out this handy video for a visual walkthrough.

2. Schedule your posts

Once you have that calendar in place, you can create your social posts in advance and use scheduling tools like Hootsuite to post them automatically at the right time.

Hootsuite Planner scheduled social posts

Scheduling your posts in advance allows you to dedicate one block of time per day or even per week to creating your social content. It’s much more effective than letting social posting take you away from other business tasks throughout the day.

Automation tools like chatbots and AI content creation tools can also help you cut down on the number of hours you spend working on social media marketing.

3. Commit to community management

Sure, posting creative content is important. But if you want to really see results from social media marketing for small business, you need to commit to community management.

Community management is the process of building a community with your customers through the interactions you have online. This can include responding to comments, answering questions, and interacting with customers on social media.

Think of it as an extension of your customer service. You should be interacting with your audience as much as they are interacting with you. This way, you can create a network of customers who feel connected to your brand and are more likely to become loyal, repeat customers.

Community management is also an important part of ranking in social media algorithms . Platforms reward users who are active and engaged , so the more you interact with your audience, the more likely you are to show up in their feeds.

Use Hootsuite Streams to like, comment, reply, and engage with your target audience. You can also use Hootsuite Inbox to keep track of all the conversations you need to be a part of, without missing anything important.

Hootsuite inbox saved messages

4. Pay attention to trends

We’re not saying you should leap on every meme that goes viral. (In fact, please don’t leap on every meme that goes viral.)

But, it is a good idea to pay attention to trends in social media , so you understand what people are looking for when they sign into their social channels. This helps you create appropriate content that resonates over time.

If you have time to dedicate to it, social listening is a highly valuable information-gathering tool that can help you understand what your audience (and potential audience) might want to hear from your business. It’s extremely easy to do with a tool like Hootsuite.

You can simply set up a stream for mentions of your brand on different social channels, so you can respond to concerns or positive reviews immediately and keep tabs on sentiment regarding your business.

Hootsuite Stream Twitter mentions

5. Sell products on social

Social media marketing has evolved in recent years to include social commerce : the ability to sell your products directly from social channels. And business is booming, with a projected global market value of $492 billion in 2022 .

Almost every social platform now boasts some form of social selling . There are Facebook and Instagram Shops , Pinterest Buyable Pins , the TikTok Shop , and more.

Social commerce is a particularly useful tactic for small businesses in the ecommerce or retail space. The beauty of it is that you can cut down many of the friction points that come with selling online. Your potential customers are already on social media, so they don’t need to go through the process of visiting your website and navigating to your product pages. And since you’re meeting them where they already are , you have a much better chance of making a sale.

6. Use analytics to guide future posts

Even for small businesses, it’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t on social . Social media analytics tools can help you track your progress over time and identify which posts are generating the most engagement—likes, comments, shares, clicks, etc.

This data can be extremely valuable as you plan future content . If you see that a particular type of post is doing well, try to replicate that success in future posts. And if you notice that a certain type of post isn’t performing well, experiment with new content to see if you can find a better way to engage your audience.

Analytics can also help you understand which social media platform is working best for your business. If you see that you’re getting more engagement on one platform than another, you may want to consider making a switch. You don’t have to be everywhere, so stick to the platforms that are giving you the best results.

Hootsuite Analytics post engagement rate

Social media management tools for small business

If you’re like most small business owners, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the CEO, the CFO, and the superstar sales team. It’s no wonder marketing often falls by the wayside!

But even if you’re not a marketing pro, that doesn’t mean you can’t effectively market your business on social media. In fact, with a little help from the right tools , you can actually save time and energy by using social media to reach your target audience.

Obviously we’re a bit biased, but we think Hootsuite is especially helpful for small business owners. Hootsuite is a social media management platform that gives you the ability to track and post to all your social media channels in one place , which will save you a lot of time in the long run.

It also offers recommendations on when to post, what kind of content to post, and how to interpret your performance . So it’s a beginner-friendly platform for people who don’t have a lot of time to waste on creating the perfect strategy.

Hootsuite new Twitter post

Don’t believe us? Check out this 5-star review from Todd W., who doesn’t have a ton of people to help him do his social media marketing.

“Hootsuite has proven invaluable as we work to plan our social media calendar for the month – especially with limited staff . We’re able to create and schedule posts and see where our planning leaves “gaps” in our social media coverage” – Todd W.

One last Hootsuite feature we think is super useful for time-strapped small business owners?

If you’re ever stuck for content ideas, just go to the Inspiration tab and use a template to get started.

Hootsuite Inspiration Tab Content Ideas

What about the native tools?

Hey, we understand that splurging on yet another monthly subscription might not be in the cards for your small business —especially when the networks offer free tools. But here’s the thing: those native tools come with limitations.

For example, let’s say you want to post the same message on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. With most social media management tools, you’d have to type that message three times—once for each network. But with Hootsuite, you can compose one message and post it to all three networks at once . That means less time spent on social media, and more time spent growing your business.

Plus, the free tools offered by the networks only give you limited insights into your social media performance. With Hootsuite Analytics, you can track your posts and tweets to see which ones are getting the most engagement, so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

So if you’re serious about using social media to grow your small business, investing in a tool like Hootsuite might actually save you money in the long run.

Save time and grow your small business using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can publish and schedule messages to all your social media channels, engage your followers, and monitor what people are saying about your brand online. Try it free today.

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Hannah Macready is a freelance writer with 12 years of experience in social media and digital marketing. Her work has appeared in publications such as Fast Company and The Globe & Mail, and has been used in global social media campaigns for brands like Grosvenor Americas and Intuit Mailchimp. In her spare time, Hannah likes exploring the outdoors with her two dogs, Soup and Salad.

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Marketing | How To

Social Media Marketing for Small Business: Guide + Template

Published September 4, 2023

Published Sep 4, 2023

Elizabeth Kraus

REVIEWED BY: Elizabeth Kraus

Hazel Emnace

WRITTEN BY: Hazel Emnace

  • 1 Social Media Plan Template
  • 2 Decide Which Platforms to Use
  • 3 Learn the Basics
  • 4 Set Goals
  • 5 Choose Strategies
  • 6 Create a Content Calendar
  • 7 Set Your Budget
  • 8 Grow Your Followers
  • 9 Monitor Performance & Tweak Campaigns

Using social media to promote your small business allows you to connect and engage with your audience organically. It lets people know your business is accessible and present, which can make all the difference in getting your brand found and chosen over a competitor. To get started, choose the best platforms for your audience, learn the basics, and set goals, strategies, and your budget. Then lay it all out on a calendar and track your performance.

Download Our Social Media Marketing Plan Template

Download our social media marketing plan template below. Use it to give direction to your campaigns and save time and money by ensuring that all your social media marketing efforts match your goals.


Free Social Media Plan Template

Free Social Media Marketing Plan Template Alt: Free downloadable template for a social media plan

Thank you for downloading!

💡 Quick Tip:

Save time and manage all of your social posting in one place. Plan, analyze, and schedule content in advance affordably with Later !

1. Decide Which Platforms Are Best for Your Business

Social media marketing is a must for any business whose target audience spends significant time on social networks. There are many social media platforms small businesses can use to reach and connect with various target audiences, so knowing which to invest your time and resources on is important.

Before getting started, decide which are the top one or two platforms your target audience uses most (as well as where they’re most likely to engage with brands). On your chosen platform, create a business profile by adding your name and profile picture and/or cover image and optimizing your profile by completing all the sections available.

Social Media Marketing for Small Business: Top Platforms at a Glance

Learn more about each of the most popular options for small business social media marketing in the drop-downs below:

Primary user intent: Users of all ages, including a large number of users 50-plus years old, looking to keep up with friends and family

Facebook business page for small business example.

Facebook business page for small business example (Source: Facebook )

Facebook is the leading social networking platform, reaching users of all ages, backgrounds, and interests. Small business social media marketing can be done in various ways on Facebook. For example, you can create a business page that links to your website and provides useful info like hours and reviews, start and participate in private groups, and run targeted ads.

In most cases, users are not there to learn about businesses per se, but will often ask their Facebook connections for recommendations and user experiences. Also, ads can be highly targeted, offering businesses an effective way to establish brand awareness and generate sales using paid ads.

Learn the different marketing strategies for Facebook pages to help market your business page and follow these simple tips for social media marketing business pages on Facebook:

  • Post once each day
  • Upload high-quality multimedia content
  • Create or join Facebook Groups and engage with members
  • Boost important or high-performing posts via Facebook Ads
  • Start a Facebook contest to add followers and increase activity
  • List your products on Facebook Marketplace

Primary user intent: To keep up with trends and brands through visual media

Instagram business profiles examples.

Instagram business profiles examples (Source: Instagram )

Instagram is the top social network for photo and video sharing. It reaches a wide audience, and like Facebook, businesses can create business profiles and advertise on the platform. It’s also the social media platform with the highest purchase intent, meaning its users are most ready to buy.

Since Instagram is multimedia-based, it is best for businesses with images and short videos to share. It also allows users to tag businesses geographically, so it’s great for businesses with a physical location, such as a restaurant, retail store, or salon.

Follow these steps on how to sell on Instagram to boost your sales and keep these best practices in mind:

  • Develop a brand aesthetic
  • Use community- or industry-specific hashtags
  • Show products on your stories
  • Work with IG influencers
  • Run contests or giveaways

Primary user intent: Users seeking to watch entertaining or emotional content on specific interests

Business videos on TikTok examples.

Business videos on TikTok examples (Source: TikTok )

TikTok is a video-sharing app businesses can use for social media promotion with short-form videos that quickly became popular over the past few years.

Originally, TikTok didn’t compete with other platforms as a small business social media marketing channel. But with its user base skyrocketing, businesses are able to effectively leverage hashtags, contests, and other brand-related content to promote their products.

To improve your TikTok social media marketing campaigns, here are some of the best practices to remember:

  • Use hashtags
  • Utilize trending video effects and music
  • Research viral audio and trends
  • Write clear text descriptions for your videos

Interested in learning more? Read how to create a TikTok marketing strategy for your small business.

Primary user intent: To share intimate yet trivial visual content directly with friends; primarily a Millennial and younger user base

Snapchat business messages and shareable content.

Snapchat business messages and shareable content (Source: Snapchat )

Like Instagram, Snapchat is a photo- and video-sharing social network. However, it differs with its ephemeral content model—photos, texts, and videos sent directly to users disappear after they have been seen.

Businesses can use the platform by adding branded filters customers and brand advocates can use on their photos as well as sharing content. Plus, Snapchat can be used in social media marketing for a small business by featuring short video ads in their Snapchat stories. Authentic storytelling does best on this platform, so even Snapchat ads should offer personal, raw content.

Here are some of the practices proven to be effective in Snapchat marketing:

  • Use both photos and videos
  • Encourage viewers to screenshot and share your Snaps
  • Create and promote Geofilters
  • Post Q&As
  • Hold giveaways

Primary user intent: To get inspiration on a wide range of topics, from fashion to cooking

Pinterest search results for product related inquiries.

Pinterest search results for product-related inquiries (Source: Pinterest )

Pinterest is a photo-sharing social network used for content discovery. Unlike Instagram, where users primarily view photos from those they follow, users on Pinterest search by category or search terms and are then shown several relevant image-based results. These results, or posts, are generally linked to websites, so it’s a good way for businesses to build awareness of visual products and services and drive traffic to their site.

Learn how to use Pinterest for business to gain more clicks to your website or online shop, and follow these best practices:

  • Include a link to your website in the pin descriptions
  • Schedule your pins
  • Apply for Rich Pins
  • Optimize your image specifically for Pinterest
  • Keep pin descriptions below 100 characters

Did you know? Rich Pins are a free Pinterest feature that adds context to your posts. It works by drawing metadata from your website.

X (Previously Twitter)

Primary user intent: Users seeking quick-hit, entertaining, and newsworthy content

Twitter business profile for newsworthy content.

X business profile for newsworthy content (Source: X )

X, the new branding of Twitter, is the leading text-based social network. While it has evolved to allow users to post photos and videos, it was built to share short streams of text (originally just 140 characters, the current character limit is 280) and this is still its primary use. As such, it’s best for frequent, quick-hit news and updates, such as a small business hosting an event or workshop or a food truck that needs a way to quickly share its current location. Learn more about creating an effective X marketing strategy .

Because of its direct form of communication, X is often used by businesses as a customer service channel. It encourages quick and sincere responses to brand followers. Like Instagram, it’s also highly hashtag-oriented, and users often click on hashtags when following a story or researching a topic.

Learn how to use X for customer service here, and follow these general best practices when using X for social media marketing:

  • Post frequently
  • Post video content
  • Incorporate calls to action (CTAs) in posts with links to your website
  • Create polls to increase engagement rates
  • Use hashtags, but don’t overdo it; just one or two per post
  • Track brand mentions

Primary user intent: Professionals looking to network with others in their industry

LinkedIn business post example.

LinkedIn business post example (Source: LinkedIn )

LinkedIn is the leading social network for professional networking. Unlike social networks like Facebook and Instagram, users visit LinkedIn for professional and career-related purposes. Like Pinterest, user posts often link back to website and blog content, making it an effective way to build brand awareness and drive web traffic for lead generation, nurturing, and sales. But to put LinkedIn to use in your marketing, you’ll need to develop a specific LinkedIn marketing plan .

Small businesses have both organic and paid social media marketing opportunities with LinkedIn. Like Facebook Ads, paid ads on LinkedIn can be highly targeted as a cost-effective way to reach your intended audience. Given LinkedIn’s audience and professional networking focus, it’s best for recruiting, software as a service (SaaS), B2B marketing, and educational topics.

Here are some best practices for small business social media marketing on LinkedIn:

  • Write original content for LinkedIn that links back to your website content as part of your overall content marketing plan and strategy
  • Share your blog content in posts to drive web traffic
  • Create and join groups for targeted networking
  • Increase engagement using short-form video
  • Get a paid plan to access direct message marketing on LinkedIn

Looking for the best social channels for advertising? Read our guide on the top 10 paid social platforms for promoting your small business.

2. Learn the Basics of Social Media Marketing for Small Business

Social marketing refers to a digital marketing strategy for using social media to promote brands and engage with people. It involves posting updates, sharing videos, responding to comments, running ads, and analyzing performance to optimize the campaign. Here are the basic terms you should know before getting started:

  • Algorithm: A set of rules used by social media platforms to decide what content to show users on their feeds based on relevance and engagement
  • Boosted Post: An organic post that gets more reach when a brand pays to boost it
  • Clickbait: Sensational or misleading content designed to attract clicks and engagement, often promising more than it delivers
  • Disappearing content: Content that automatically vanishes after a certain time, like Stories on Instagram and Snapchat
  • Geotagging and geotargeting: Using location-based information in posts or targeting options
  • Handle: The username associated with an individual or brand account on social media
  • Impressions: The number of times an ad or post appeared on-page in a user’s feed
  • Post: An organic post that appears in the newsfeed of people who follow a brand or another social media user
  • Paid social metrics: Social ad performance and costs are often conveyed with terms like CPC (cost-per-click), CPL (cost-per-lead), CPA (cost-per-action), CTR (click-through rate), and CPM (cost-per-mille, which stands for a thousand impressions)
  • Reach: The total number of unique users who see a post or content (paid or organic)
  • Social listening: A proactive strategy of monitoring and analyzing social platforms for mentions, comments, and discussions related to your brand to gain insights into brand perception, and one of the top ways to use artificial intelligence (AI) in social media
  • Targeting: The options offered by social ad platforms for targeting ads to appear in the news feed for specific types of users (e.g., based on interest, job types, location, and more)
  • Influencer Marketing:  Influencers are social media personalities who have large followings and drive business to products or companies. Get inspired with these influencer marketing campaigns .
  • User generated content (UGC): Content created by users and customers of a brand, often in the form of reviews, testimonials, or posts, which can be shared and repurposed by the brand for marketing purposes

By taking the time to master these basic concepts, you’ll equip yourself to maximize the impact of your social media efforts. Social media plays an increasingly vital role in small business, as more and more customers turn to social media to research brands, check references and referrals, and connect with companies they’re considering doing business with. In fact, many small businesses neglect the importance of social media, even though social media marketing statistics suggest they shouldn’t.

3. Set Measurable Goals

Next, set measurable goals. This will ensure that you are getting a sufficient return on the investment of your time and other resources. Based on these goals, in the next step, you’ll determine which strategies would be best to pursue. Below are some of the most common goals for social media marketing:

  • Increasing brand awareness: Growing your brand presence is about making members of your target audience aware of your brand and its position in the marketplace. On social media, you’ll measure this through your number of followers, post reach, and engagement, as well as clicks and web traffic generated through paid social.
  • Growing community and engagement: Encourage followers and viewers to interact with your brand to build community and brand affinity and generate engagement and referrals. Measure your progress through engagement per post and page mentions.
  • Generating leads and sales: Effective strategies enable you to increase sales and gather information on potential clients. Measure this through lead conversion, the number of leads generated from social media, and prospect engagement in the form of ad clicks, direct messages, comments, likes, shares, and so on.
  • Improving customer support: Social platforms offer an effective way to nurture client relationships and improve customer satisfaction. Measure your success with response time and customer satisfaction scores.
  • Driving website traffic: Paid and organic social should drive site visits to your website. You can measure this through organic and paid profile analytics, tracked links, social media share of overall traffic, and post clicks.

Get more guidance on how to set goals and measure performance in our guide on how to set sales goals , which also includes a free template.

4. Choose Which Strategies to Use

To maximize your marketing efforts and set your brand apart, align your social media marketing strategies directly to your goals. For example, holding contests and giveaways can help increase brand awareness, while posting educational videos can promote lead generation or help customers who are looking for support.

Both organic and paid posts can drive traffic back to your website, and you can post content for free on social media platforms for organic outreach. However, most also have paid social advertising options to help you grow your following more quickly, drive traffic to your site, or produce sales, email subscriptions, and other conversions.

Organic vs Paid Social Media Marketing

There are two primary types of social media marketing for small businesses to consider: organic and paid. Organic tactics are free, whereas paid social is a form of advertising. It is also generally more time-consuming to build an engaged following with organic vs paid social. On the other hand, paid social posts—which cost from $1 to $2 per click on average—increase target audience impressions and engagement quickly.

For best results in the short and long term, use organic and paid tactics in tandem. For example, on Facebook, you can boost a high-performing post to extend its reach among your target audience even further. You can also supplement advertising efforts with organic posts. Consider posting about a product’s features and benefits in organic posts relative to the products you’re advertising through paid social.

Expand the sections below to dive deeper into each strategy:

Organic Social Media Marketing

Organic social media marketing involves strategically adding original content to a platform to help build brand awareness and engagement. This content can include informational, educational, or entertaining content that both serves followers and showcases a company as an expert, trustworthy brand in its industry.

Organic social is also an essential distribution tactic as part of your search engine optimization (SEO) content marketing plan . It offers the ability to share informational posts and drive traffic back to product or services pages, generate candidate interest in open roles posted on your site, and repurpose audience-relevant content from your blog.

To help grow engagement as part of organic social marketing, businesses connect and interact with their target audience by following them, commenting on other users’ posts, and liking content related to their products, services, or industry. Given that this strategy relies heavily on building an engaged following, it’s best used as a long-term strategy.

Paid Social Media Marketing

Paid social is a form of pay-per-click (PPC) social media advertising for displaying ads on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Businesses create ads and choose who their ads will be displayed to using ad and audience targeting, and often include a call to action like “Buy now” to encourage instant engagement. As such, paid social is a good short-term strategy to build a following and promote customer action.

Slight differences in optics for sponsored ads vs. organic posts on Instagram.

Slight differences in optics for sponsored ads vs organic posts on Instagram. (Source: Instagram )

Other tactics to explore include user generated content, live streaming, contests, influencer marketing, and social listening. If you’re not sure where to start, read Semrush’s article on the fundamentals of social media marketing and adapt it for your business. Or, take your social media marketing to the next level—get certified with HubSpot’s free course on social media marketing .

Pro Tip:  While some don’t include YouTube on their list of social media marketing outlets (we don’t), it’s nevertheless a viable avenue for free marketing and advertising. Check out how you can put YouTube marketing to work for your small business.

5. Create a Social Content Calendar

Next, develop a posting strategy that defines how often and what type of content you’ll post, and when. Now you’re ready to begin outreach efforts to build a following and engage with your audience on social networks using organic and paid social media marketing tactics. Your content calendar should answer the following questions:

  • When will you post your content?
  • What is the best time of day to post your content?
  • What days of the week are best for posting content?
  • What platform(s) will you use?
  • What type of content will you post?
  • What copy, photos, or videos will be included?
  • What links or tags will be mentioned?

There are three general methods for creating a content calendar: by hand, using a spreadsheet, or through a content software service. Some people prefer organizing their content on paper, while using a spreadsheet is cost-effective and straightforward. Looking for a free premade template? Try one of the 10 social media calendar templates created by Smartsheet.

6. Set Your Budget

While it’s technically free to use most social platforms, there are expenses involved in social media marketing you’ll need to budget for. In fact, the average small business spends anywhere from $200 to over $2,000 per month on social marketing efforts. This covers everything from labor costs and management fees to design costs, paid collaborations with influencers, and social media marketing tools.

Here are six aspects of social media marketing you may need to budget for:

  • Social media management: Small businesses often manage their strategy by hiring a social marketing manager or outsourcing to a social media agency . The average starting cost for outsourced social media management ranges from about $300 to $1,500 per month, which is generally less than the cost of a full-time hire. However, costs could increase depending on factors like the type and extent of services rendered (e.g., posts per week, organic plus paid social, and so on).
  • Paid social advertising: Social media advertising is available on virtually all of the top social channels. Small businesses advertising on social pay on a per-click or impressions basis, with cost-per-click averaging around $1 to $2.
  • In-house content and media creation: Even if you’re managing your strategy in-house, you should expect to pay for a premium subscription for tools like Canva. Canva offers the ability to streamline content creation with free graphics, images, and design tools, and it’s also our top pick for social AI content writing .
  • Professional content creation: Producing quality content often requires professional copywriting, photography, videography, and graphic design. The cost of services like these range from a couple of hundred dollars to upward of a thousand dollars depending on the artist and scope of the project.
  • Influencer marketing: Collaborating with online influencers with a large social following can help you build brand awareness and grow your own following. Paying an influencer to mention your brand in posts or review products can cost anywhere from $1,000 to more than $10,000 per post, review, or mention.
  • Social media marketing tools : There are many tools that make social media scheduling and performance measurement easy to manage, such as SproutSocial and Later.

Social media marketing is generally a low-cost marketing method, but depending on how aggressively you use it, it could consume a large portion of your overall marketing budget—especially if you use paid social. As you plan your strategy, be sure to keep the potential costs in mind and compare them against your return on investment.

7. Grow Your Followers

Many small businesses struggle to gain traction with social media marketing due to lack of followers and low engagement. After all, it doesn’t do any good to publish consistently to social channels if no one will see your posts. So growing your social media followers base should be a top priority when starting out.

To attract and maintain followers on any platform, you need to publish relevant, entertaining, high-quality content that engages your target audience. Without this, you may find that you lose followers as quickly as you gain them, and you aren’t able to generate any user engagement on the platform to extend your brand’s reach.

To start building your following on social media networks, reach out to existing customers, vendors, professional colleagues, and employees and invite them to follow your profile. Invite email subscribers to like and follow your social profiles. Promote your social media accounts through links and social feeds on your website.

Incentivize people to follow your social profiles by offering special discounts and promos to followers. Collaborate with others to gain awareness, and engage with your target audience by liking and commenting on their profiles or joining and actively participating in private groups.

Keep in mind that regardless of the promises of any paid follower tactic, it’s generally never a good idea to pay for followers. Platforms like Instagram will even penalize your social profile (or ban you from the platform) if they detect that you’re paying for followers. Although it takes more time, follow the best practices of each platform for building your follower base.

Social media marketing is time-consuming, as evidenced by the steps above. For this reason, many small businesses outsource social marketing and advertising to top social media marketing and advertising agencies like LYFE Marketing, instead. LYFE offers a free consultation, making it risk-free to see if their services would be the right fit for your business.

Visit LYFE Marketing

8. Monitor & Tweak Social Media Marketing Campaigns

The sad fact is that a lot of small businesses spend a considerable amount of time and money promoting their brands and products on social channels with little to show for it. Others have some success but don’t have measures in place to show what is working and identify ways to improve their efforts.

Consequently, it’s important for you to have a plan in place to measure results and look for opportunities to improve your results. Some of the key social media marketing success metrics to measure include:

  • Number of followers
  • Profile and post views
  • Organic post engagement (clicks, shares, comments)
  • Ad metrics (impressions, click-through rate, cost-per-click, and cost-per-engagement)
  • Landing page conversions (e.g., traffic, leads, and sign-ups)
  • Sales generated through social media (e.g., traffic to your site, Facebook or Instagram shop sales, and so on)

As you begin to collect data on the performance of your social media marketing efforts, use what you learn to improve future campaigns. For example, a topic that tends to get user comments and more reach could be a topic type to repeat frequently.

You can also test using questions to spark comments, create polls and surveys, and experiment with different types of image formats (single image vs carousel or grid style, for example), as well as videos. And with ads, you can tweak many elements, from visual creatives to audience targeting.

Worried about making mistakes on social media? Read our list of social media fails , mistakes, and blunders, and find out what to do to avoid them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do small businesses use social media marketing.

Social media marketing is great for small businesses as it provides a fairly even playing field. Any business can use it to build brand awareness with its target audience through organic and paid tactics. Social ads are a proven way to generate leads and sales for small businesses as well as local brand visibility.

Is social media marketing free?

It’s free to promote your business on social media through organic tactics, but you may still need to spend money to promote your small business effectively. For example, you may need to hire a social media manager, use paid social ads, or outsource to a professional agency for a better return on investment. Copywriting, media (e.g., graphics, photos, or videos), and the cost of social media ads can also impact how much you’ll spend on social media marketing.

How much does Facebook advertising cost?

The cost of Facebook ads is calculated either on a pay-per-click (PPC) or per thousand impressions (CPM) basis. The average cost-per-click to advertise your business on Facebook is 51 cents. Facebook currently has a minimum daily ad spend of $5 for ads based on clicks, likes, video views, and post engagements and $1 for impression-based ads.

Bottom Line

For small businesses, social media offers an effective, affordable digital marketing strategy for building brand awareness and connecting with a target audience. To effectively market on social media, determine which platforms your audience is on, set up accounts, and engage your audience to build brand awareness and sales.

Based on our research, the best social media marketing agency for combined organic and paid strategies is LYFE Marketing. It offers targeted insight and guidance on maximizing engagement on social media channels with posts and ads.

About the Author

Hazel Emnace

Find Hazel On LinkedIn

Hazel Emnace

Hazel Emnace is determined to provide all businesses an equal opportunity to thrive in the digital world. Her background of experience includes digital marketing in the USA, Australia, South East Asia, and New Zealand. Driven by a thirst for growth, she enjoys writing helpful articles on marketing strategies and tools. She strengthens her expertise by consistently researching and assessing social media algorithms, AI marketing software, and marketing trends.

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Blog Beginner Guides

Guide: Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

By Tobi Ojenike , Nov 21, 2023

Social Media for Small Businesses

In today’s fast-paced business scene, having a solid online game is not just cool—it’s pretty much a must, especially for small businesses trying to make it big.

While social media marketing can be expensive for businesses navigating the complexities of online promotion, there are also cost-effective marketing options that are accessible to businesses of various sizes. This way, there is something for everyone.

So, in this guide, I’m going to break down social media marketing for small businesses without all the jargon. Think of it as your easy-to-follow map to navigate the world of social media and give your small business a boost. 

Ready to dive into social media content creation ? Check out our stash of free social media graphic templates tailored for various platforms. They’re here to spark your creativity and give you some cool ideas. Let the inspiration flow!

Click to jump ahead:

What is social media marketing?

Why small businesses need a social media presence, what are the core pillars of social media marketing, how to build an effective social media strategy, what social media platforms are best for my small business, 14 tips for expanding your small business with social media, how to set the right social media goals for your business, social media tools for small businesses.

Social media marketing is a strategy that involves promoting products, services or brands on social media platforms and engaging with the target audience. 

It includes a wide range of activities aimed at creating and sharing content, staying updated with the latest YouTube trends , increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic , generating leads and eventually increasing sales. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok are the most popular social media marketing platforms.

Publishing quality content to your social media accounts, running social media adverts, replying to comments and messages and tracking and analyzing social media analytics are all part of social media marketing. 

Think of it this way: when you’re on social media, you’re not just selling your brand or product. You’re making connections, having conversations and building relationships with your customers.

From making new connections to building epic customer relationships, the perks are endless. Let’s have a look:

Visibility : Social media platforms give small businesses a platform to display their products and services to a worldwide audience.

Cost-effective marketing : Traditional advertising methods, such as television commercials or print advertisements, can be too expensive for small firms on a shoestring budget. Social media is a low-cost strategy to reach out to potential customers and compete with larger competitors. 

Customer engagement : Social media allows for direct engagement with customers, which helps to establish loyalty and trust. They can have real-time conversations, answer inquiries and address issues, all of which were previously unavailable in traditional marketing.

Brand building:  Building and sustaining brand visibility is a major challenge for small businesses. With social media, as a small business, you can better establish and strengthen your brand identity, making your company more visible.

Analytics : For market research, social media is a goldmine. As a small business, having access to insights and analytics aids in the refinement of marketing tactics for improved results. This data can then be used to help with product development, content generation and general business initiatives.

Competitive advantage:  With social media, small businesses can respond to market shifts and adapt to changing trends and customer preferences more quickly. A social media presence levels the playing field and assists small businesses in remaining competitive.

Why small businesses need a social media presence

A great social media marketing strategy is built on important pillars that work together to form a solid social media marketing plan. 

Businesses that invest in each of these areas can have a strong and effective online presence, resulting in increased brand awareness, engagement and growth. Let’s take a what are the core pillars that can make or break your social media strategy:


All social media posts can be labeled as paid or organic. Organic material is free to post and the breadth of its reach is determined by your follower count and the platform’s algorithm. 

Paid content (or social media advertising) on the other hand enables businesses to pay platforms to promote postings to a larger audience and to target specific audiences. While organic reach is important, paid social media advertising may greatly increase your brand’s visibility.

What are the core pillars of social media marketing

Data is essential in social media marketing. This pillar entails monitoring and analyzing critical performance indicators such as engagement, reach, clicks, conversions and ROI. In order to fine-tune your approach, you must rely on data-driven insights.

Your social media marketing strategy will comprise objectives, target audiences, essential platforms and social-specific content. It determines why, where and what your firm will broadcast, as well as which data you will track.

Publishing is the process of creating and distributing social content to audiences. You’ll decide how frequently and when to post, as well as what publishing and scheduling tools you’ll require to support your approach.

Engagement and community building

It is critical to create and nurture a community around your brand. This pillar entails actively connecting with your target audience, reacting to comments and messages and cultivating connections. Brand loyalty and advocacy can be boosted by a robust online community.

How to build an effective social media strategy?

Creating an effective social media strategy is a multifaceted process that involves thorough planning and execution. But how do you build an effective social media strategy for your small business? Let me walk you through it.

Set your budget and objectives

The first step in developing a social media marketing strategy is to examine your digital marketing budget. 

Determine how much time and money you can devote to social media marketing and what objectives you hope to achieve. 

Set defined and quantifiable goals for your social media campaigns. Clear goals provide direction, whether it’s improving brand exposure, driving website traffic, generating leads or increasing sales.

Determine your target audiences

Conduct audience research to establish the demographics of the most prominent social media networks’ active users. 

Then, for your social media activities, determine your target audience. Knowing who you’re attempting to reach and who is active on each platform will assist you determine which platforms your company should be present on.

Research competitors

A competitive study can also help you identify successful content, brand attributes and publishing patterns. 

Although you don’t want your strategy to be precisely like other companies, competitive research can help you find techniques that work for organizations like yours. 

When it comes time to develop content, you and your creative team can design assets that feel distinctive to your company while drawing inspiration from what you see competitors doing well.

Choose the right platforms

Choose social media sites that correspond to your target demographic and company objectives. Concentrate on where your target audience is most engaged — not all platforms are appropriate for every business.

Your social media marketing strategy could also include a mix of diverse strategies for each social media site. If you’re selling products, consider a platform with in-app shopping functionality, such as Facebook or Instagram. If you want to share links to blog posts or articles, consider using a platform that can extract featured photos from external links, such as Twitter or LinkedIn. 

Content strategy

Create a content plan that includes a variety of content kinds such as text, photographs, videos and infographics. 

Your material should be valuable and engaging to your readers. Your goals, target audience data and competition analysis can be used to determine the important subjects, types of post and posting patterns for each social media platform, as well as the best time of day to post on each.

Also, create a content calendar to keep a consistent posting schedule. Regular posting keeps your audience interested and informed.

Related: How to Grow Your Brand’s Social Media Influence with Infographics and More

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube—the “Big Five” social media platforms—provide a plethora of chances for small businesses to develop an effective social media strategy. Here are some important things to consider for these platforms and more:

Facebook marketing for small businesses

One of the first social media platforms that emerged was Facebook which currently has over 2 billion monthly active users and 1 billion daily active users. If your target consumer is on social media, it’s most likely Facebook. 

Facebook’s audience is extremely diverse, making it suited for a wide range of businesses. It can benefit both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) organizations. Facebook is adaptable for addressing diverse target demographics because it has users of all ages.

How to maximize Facebook:

  • Create a business page and optimize it with relevant information.
  • Share a mix of engaging content, including posts, images and videos.
  • Use Facebook Ads to target specific demographics.
  • Engage with your audience through comments and messages.
  • Schedule posts for optimal reach and consistency.

LinkedIn marketing for small businesses

LinkedIn is a social networking site where people may connect with other business professionals and network online. If a LinkedIn user follows your firm, they are likely interested in the information and insights you can provide them, as well as business-related updates. 

LinkedIn has a professional audience that is great for connecting and sharing industry-specific content for B2B organizations and individuals. It’s fantastic for job search, career advancement and demonstrating expertise. LinkedIn users are often older and more professional.

How to maximize Linkedin

  • Create an engaging corporate page as well as individual profiles for essential team members.
  • Distribute professional, industry-specific content such as articles and updates.
  • Connect with industry experts, clients and possible partners.
  • Join LinkedIn Groups to participate in discussions and build your network.
  • For B2B advertising initiatives, use LinkedIn Ads.

X (formerly known as Twitter) marketing for small businesses

X undoubtedly the most conversational of all social media platforms, consists of a large network of individuals and brands communicating with one another in a very fast-paced atmosphere. Most company profiles tweet a variety of information, including product promotions, online contests, offers, funny industry-related views, data insights and new releases. 

X has a younger user base, making it ideal for products or services aimed at this generation. It is, yet, ideal for companies that wish to publish real-time updates and join in discussions about current events and trends. X can benefit both consumer and business-oriented businesses (B2B and B2C).

How to maximize X

  • Create a strong presence with a distinct brand look.
  • Tweet on a frequent basis, focusing on hot topics and relevant hashtags.
  • Use Lists to organize and interact with important people.
  • Use Twitter Ads to broaden your reach and reach targeted demographics.
  • Respond to mentions and direct messages as soon as possible.

Instagram marketing for small businesses

Instagram has three types of publishing formats: stories, reels and permanent posts. With these options, you can design your Instagram presence to focus on your business goals and the desires of your audience. 

Because Instagram is linked to Facebook, paid advertisements from your business Instagram account are created immediately within Facebook and do not require the use of a separate platform. 

Instagram’s audience is younger, making it ideal for marketers targeting millennials and Gen Z. Instagram is a popular platform for businesses in the lifestyle, fashion, beauty and creative industries. It is ideal for showcasing items or services with high-quality images.

How to maximize Instagram

  • Create a business account on Instagram to have access to analytics and promotions.
  • Post visually appealing images and stories about your company.
  • To improve discoverability, use relevant hashtags and geo-tags.
  • Collaborate with influencers to broaden your audience.
  • Use Instagram Ads to reach out to certain demographics.

YouTube marketing for small businesses

Creating video content for YouTube can boost your brand’s credibility and attract a lot of engagement. Optimizing your videos for search is an important factor in ensuring that they appear for users searching for your content. 

YouTube’s user base covers all age groups, making it appropriate for a wide range of audiences. It is a fantastic medium for reaching a large and diversified audience if your company can create captivating video content. It’s ideal for instructional videos, educational information and entertainment.

How to maximize YouTube

  • Create a YouTube channel and stick to a regular publishing schedule.
  • Create high-quality video content, such as tutorials, product demonstrations and vlogs.
  • Improve the searchability of video titles, descriptions and tags.
  • Encourage subscribers to remark and provide feedback.
  • To reach a larger audience, use YouTube Ads to promote your videos.

TikTok marketing for small businesses

TikTok has quickly established itself as an effective platform for businesses to communicate with a wide and engaged audience. TikTok marketing may be a game changer for small businesses, giving them a platform to demonstrate their creativity, engage with a younger clientele and increase brand exposure. 

TikTok mostly attracts a younger audience, with a sizable proportion of Gen Z and Millennials. The short-form video format matches to the shorter attention spans of its largely younger audience. Through features like likes, comments, shares and duets, the platform encourages active engagement.

How to maximize TikTok

  • Create visually appealing and innovative videos that reflect the personality of your brand.
  • Take advantage of TikTok trends and difficulties to stay relevant and increase discoverability.
  • Respond to comments and interact with your audience to foster a sense of belonging.
  • Create branded hashtags to encourage engagement and user-generated content .
  • Consider using TikTok ads or even buying TikTok followers to reach out to targeted audiences and increase brand awareness.

Related: Hidden Social Media Features to Help Your Small Business Thrive

As a savvy business owner, you recognize that your online presence is a powerful asset. But, the real magic lies in knowing how to leverage platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to not just exist online but to thrive and expand. 

Look no further, to help you with that, I’ll unravel tips and strategies that go beyond mere existence on social media in this section. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting a business , these insights will empower you to navigate the digital realm with confidence, turning your social media presence into a catalyst for significant business growth: 

Understand your target audience

Understanding your audience is a vital step for using social media to grow your small business. This way, you can adjust your social media content and techniques to effectively resonate with your audience by acquiring deep insights into their preferences, behaviors and needs.

Focus on branding

Maintain a consistent brand image, from your profile graphics to your content style. Social media branding can boost your company’s visibility as people will share your posts with their followers, thereby increasing your reach and exposure. 

The more visible your brand is online, the more likely it is that consumers will become acquainted with it and eventually make a purchase.

Engage actively

Engage with you social audience by responding to comments and messages as soon as possible to create relationships with customers. 

Also, give life to your posts, captions and comments. It gives your customers a sense of trust and belonging relating to someone like them and not a robot. 

Commit to community management, which entails creating a community with your customers through online interactions.

Focus on quality over quantity

As a small business, prioritize quality over quantity. While it may be tempting to publish a large amount of posts, prioritizing quality ensures that each piece is effective, resonates with your audience and is consistent with the identity of your business. 

Rather than bombarding your audience with information, provide captivating and relevant content that adds value to their lives. High-quality content attracts greater engagement, reach and shares, resulting in a stronger online presence and higher brand visibility.

Plan using a content calendar

One common mistake small businesses make on social media is posting material on the fly. While it may appear easier to spend a little time each day thinking of something to publish, this might actually be more time-consuming (and frustrating) in the long term. 

To avoid this, create a content calendar to ensure consistent posting and to stay organized.

Use visuals

Visual content not only appeals to the eyes, but it also makes selling easier and faster as clients begin to distinguish your brand from competitors. Enhance your posts with eye-catching graphics such as images, infographics and videos.

Use hashtags

Use hashtags to categorize and amplify your content, increasing its discoverability among customers with similar interests. 

Also, make sure your hashtags align with your industry, niche and target audience, elevating both visibility and engagement levels. Leveraging trending or popular hashtags can notably broaden your content’s reach, helping you reach audiences beyond your current follower base.

Run promotions

Hosting a contest or giveaway is an effective strategy. The appeal of freebies and the thrill of competition can create significant engagement, assisting in broadening your reach and attracting new fans. 

Encourage users to share your material, tag friends or use certain hashtags, which will turn your current audience into brand ambassadors.

Do your analytics

Track and evaluate your social media performance to fine-tune your plan. Analytics may help you choose which social media platform is ideal for your company. 

If you notice that one platform is receiving more engagement than another, you may want to consider switching. You don’t have to be everywhere, so focus on the platforms that produce the best results.

Stay informed on trends

To stay relevant, keep up with social media trends and platform updates. You don’t necessarily have to jump on every trend on social media, but finding one that is niche to your brand and will help you gain visibility is important. 

It’s also a way for you to know what people are searching for at that time, which allows you to develop relevant material that will resonate over time.

Consistent posting

Consistency is rewarding. Post on a regular basis to keep your audience engaged and informed. This applies to both content creation and consumer interaction. 

Leaving your social media for too long without a valid reason or not responding to comments on your post is not a pretty sight. Customers want a brand that is timely and one that they can rely on to truly deliver.

Advertise strategically

Strategic advertising is a must-have for small businesses looking to grow through social media. When paid advertising coincides with your aims and budget, use it. 

Also, use social media platforms’ extensive targeting options to narrow down your target demographic. Choose the ad format that best communicates your value proposition, whether it’s through sponsored articles, carousel advertisements or video content.

Create accessible content

Creating accessible social media content is a strategic move that can significantly contribute to expanding your small business. By considering various needs, such as visual or hearing impairments, you make your content more inclusive, attracting diverse customers.

Accessible content improves the overall user experience for everyone. Clear and well-structured content is easier for all users to understand and engage with, leading to increased satisfaction and positive interactions with your brand.

Mobile optimization

Prioritizing mobile optimization is an important step for small businesses looking to grow via social media. Make sure your material is mobile-friendly, as many people use mobile devices to access social media. 

Given the growing nature of mobile device usage, ensure that your content, website links and advertising are mobile-friendly. Mobile-friendly content is highly valued by social media platforms and a user-friendly mobile interface boosts engagement.

Setting the right social media goals is critical for achieving real results for your small business. You should understand that social media objectives are unique because they are entirely based on your company and these goals can also overlap and influence each other. Everything from your content strategy to the social networks you employ is influenced by your goals.

Let’s take a look at how you can effectively set social media goals for your small business.

  • Begin with the broad picture and work your way down. Why does your company require a social presence? What resources are required to make such outcomes a reality?
  • Study your target market and customer personalities. For instance, how do your customers use social media? Is your target audience obsessed with TikTok or Instagram? What kinds of material are they looking for? Consider how using social media for business might assist you in reaching your target audience.
  • Consider your company’s overall marketing plan and how social media fits into it.
  • Connect your social media objectives to actual analytics and KPIs. This is significant in an era when marketers are under pressure to demonstrate ROI. There’s a lot to track, from engagement to traffic and beyond.
  • Review your progress on a regular basis and revise your goals as appropriate. Social media is a fluid medium and your objectives should evolve in response to changes in your business landscape and industry trends.
  • Building relationships is the goal of social media. Consider goals that encourage interaction, conversations and the creation of a sense of community around your business.
  • Compare your objectives to those of your competitors in the industry. Analyzing their social media strategy can provide insight into what is feasible and assist you in setting competitive yet reasonable goals.

Some examples of these goals are:

Increase website traffic

Objective: The goal is to get more people to visit the company’s website.

Example: Increase website clicks from social media by 30%, and monitor click-through rates.

Increase customer loyalty

Objective: Build a community of brand champions and devoted customers.

Example: Launching a reward program and responding quickly to customer inquiries.

Increase social media followers

Objective: Broaden the audience and reach on social media channels.

Example: Run targeted follower acquisition campaigns, or partner with influencers.

Metrics monitoring and analysis

Objective: Continuously assess and optimize social media performance.

Example: Reviewing statistics on a regular basis and adjusting plans based on key performance metrics.

Increase product sales

Objective: Increase sales and revenue through social media channels.

Example: Increase online sales by 15% via social media promotions.

Increase engagement

Objective: Encourage engagement and participation on social media sites as a goal.

Example: Grow likes, comments, and shares by 25%, and hold interactive polls or contests.

Small businesses can utilize the help of tools to streamline their social media presence, monitor performance, find content trends and manage other areas of their digital marketing plan. 

The tools used are however determined by the specific needs and goals of the organization. Let’s take a quick glance at these tools and how they can benefit small businesses.

Purpose: Social media management

Hootsuite acts as a unified center for managing various social media accounts, allowing organizations to plan posts, manage engagement and assess performance using its built-in analytics features.

Purpose: Social media scheduling and analytics

Buffer enables organizations to streamline social media posting with scheduled content, while also giving analytics to analyze post performance and encouraging team participation in managing social media activities. 

Purpose: Design and infographics

Venngage is a user-friendly online tool that allows businesses to create visually appealing infographics, reports and presentations. With its easy-to-use interface and customizable social media templates , Venngage can help businesses effectively communicate complex information and data on various social media platforms.

Sprout Social:

Purpose: Social media marketing and analytics

Sprout Social covers social media management, marketing and analytics, allowing organizations to schedule posts, monitor conversations and receive insights into social media ROI.


Purpose: Content discovery and analysis

Buzzsumo distinguishes itself by recognizing hot material within a certain market, identifying prominent content providers and providing insights into competition content tactics.

Purpose: Instagram scheduling and analytics

Later, which focuses on Instagram, makes post planning and scheduling easier by giving a visual content calendar and analytics to track post performance on this popular site.

Purpose: Unified customer support

Sprinklr enables businesses to monitor brand mentions, communicate with customers and evaluate customer interactions and sentiment by integrating social media management , customer service and marketing features into a single platform. 

Social media tools for small businesses

Key takeaway

So, wrapping things up – social media is like the secret sauce for small businesses. Everything you need to create an effective social media strategy is in this guide, from creating awesome content to chatting with your audience and digging into the nitty-gritty with analytics.

Think of your online presence as a turbo boost for your business growth. With these insights, you’re not just navigating social media; you’re owning it. It’s like stepping into the digital arena with confidence, ready to rock the small business game.

So, here’s to embracing social media, because it’s not just a trend – it’s your ticket to thriving in today’s business scene. Get out there, make your mark, and let your small business shine in the world of pixels and posts!

Learn the basics of getting your business online.

Create an effective social media plan.

Getting your business online

Time to complete:

When it comes to getting your business online, social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest can be a quick way to get started. The two-way conversation on social media helps you connect with current and prospective customers to understand their needs, build trust, and encourage purchases.

This lesson covers the keys to making a social media strategy work for your business.

The benefits of social media

small business social media plan

In this video, we cover social media basics and how you can take advantage of these networks.

There are three ways your business can benefit from being on social media, including:

  • Connecting with customers: Post updates, news, videos, offers, and other fresh content to stay top-of-mind with your existing customers and grow your network to find new customers.
  • Building trust: When your customers share positive reviews and recommend your products and services to their social networks, it’s more influential than when you talk yourself up.
  • Understanding your customers: Paying attention to which posts get the most views, likes, and shares will tell you exactly what your customers want and help you focus future marketing efforts.

Keep these benefits in mind as you create your social media plan, making sure your strategy matches your business goals.

5 steps to success

You could just toss up a Facebook page today, but spending a little time planning will pay off. This video explains five steps to help you minimize frustration and achieve your goals.

small business social media plan

In this video, we explore the basics of getting started with a social media site, the difference between business and individual accounts, and the importance of your profile.

Step 1: Pick your platform(s)

Social networks large and small can be effective, depending on what fits your goals.

  • Which ones are your customers and competitors using? Are they active on the large platforms like Facebook and Twitter? Also, find out if your industry has a niche platform like TripAdvisor.
  • Which platforms are a good match for your business? Is your network personal and well suited to Facebook? Or would a professional platform like LinkedIn be a better fit?
  • What types of content will shine for your business? Are photos on Instagram and Pinterest the best way to showcase your wares? Could very short posts on Twitter or longer articles on Medium work better for you? Could you showcase your products or expertise through videos on YouTube?

Step 2: Create your business profile(s)

Establish your presence on the social networks you’ve chosen. You can do one at a time or several at once, depending on your resources.

  • Choose the name (or “handle”) for your business presence that’s short and easy to remember. If your company name is available, that’s often the strongest choice. If it’s taken, get creative by adding your location or a characteristic that makes you special such as MegaSurfMaui or DiscountSneakers.
  • Add basic information like your location, phone number, email address, and a business description.
  • Upload the images you need for your homepage such as a logo and profile banner.

Step 3: Start networking

Growing your following takes time, so start right away and don’t get discouraged.

Invite your customers to visit your page. Try these ideas: Put up a sign in your store and add links to your social profiles on your emails, business card, and website. Hold a contest or offer discounts to get customers to follow your page and share it with their friends.

Don’t be afraid to directly ask customers to follow your page and add reviews. They may not think of it, but might be happy to support your business.

Step 4: Post and chat regularly

A quiet social media page won’t help you achieve your goals, so it’s important to regularly share quality content.

Think about the topics your customers and prospects will value, and then share content that is helpful and engaging. As you consider fresh content, here are some ideas to get started:

  • Share specialty knowledge that only an expert might know, such as if you’re a coffee shop, show followers how you steam milk.
  • Highlight a special or sale. Show your followers what it is or what it looks like.
  • Offer a behind the scenes look at your business. Introduce followers to the staff they interact with or tell a story about a supplier or producer.

Create a calendar for your planned posts. Here is an example to get you started:

  • Mondays. Post the weekly special.
  • Wednesdays. Post a short tutorial.
  • Saturdays. Post about something behind the scenes (a delivery of fresh produce, for example).

Look over your list and decide how frequently you can post. Can you commit to engaging daily or weekly? Start slowly and see how much effort it takes to create good content.

Take time to listen to your followers. Businesses get the most out of social media when it’s a two-way conversation. Be sure to read comments and respond in kind. Note which posts create a positive buzz and plan more like those.

Pro tip: Reuse content across different social media platforms to expand your reach. If needed, tweak it to fit the format and audience instead of starting from scratch. Try social media management tools like Hootsuite and Hubspot to schedule posts on several platforms and free yourself from a lot of the work.

small business social media plan

Modernize your marketing and build relationships with customers on Social. With Hootsuite, you can build your online reputation, grow your reach on social, and meet customers where they are online.

small business social media plan

Stop hopping between channels with HubSpot Social Media Management tools. Easily publish to social networks in the same place you build campaigns and tie all activity back to your business’ bottom line.

Step 5: Track and measure success

You’re not done until you’ve evaluated the impact of your posts and adjusted your plans to optimize your results.

Every social media platform has a way to track what’s working well. You can check for likes, shares, and comments on each of your posts or use a social media management tool to report results in one place. Also, try looking beyond likes and shares to better understand if social media is having real impacts on your business. You can use your website analytics to see how users interacted with your website. Ask your customers how they’re finding you, what’s inspiring them to visit or purchase online, and if they’re referencing your social media.

Use the data and reports to learn which posts are providing the best payoff for your effort. Decide which formats work best, and which days your customers are most engaged. Adjust your plans and check to see if these adjustments deliver better results.

It’s easy to create social media accounts for your business to connect with customers, build trust, and understand their needs — but it can be a lot of work to maintain them. A little prep work can save you from pitfalls by helping you choose the best platforms and design a content plan that’s feasible and effective. Plan to post, listen, and respond on social platforms to engage customers and adjust your plans for the best results.


5 steps to building your social media strategy

Social media offers great opportunities to connect with new and existing customers to understand their needs, build trust, and encourage purchases. Consider these steps as you get started with social media.

Decide which platforms you want to participate on based on where your customers are

Create your business profile(s) under easy-to-remember names

Begin building your network by inviting customers to interact

Create a system for your posts or use a tool like Hootsuite or HubSpot

Dig into the data to learn about your community and the type of content they find useful

5 Tips to boost food orders on your website

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How to Create a 30 Day Social Media Plan — Horizontal

How to Create a 30-day Social Media Plan

30 is your new lucky number. 🌟

Whether you’re a social media manager in a new role or a solopreneur managing multiple accounts, creating a social media plan is a great way to realign your goals, stay organized, and grow your online community.

And while the task may seem daunting, we’ve got you covered. 

We’re breaking down how to build a successful (30-day!) social media plan, so you can hit the ground running — plus, the best tool for managing your posts . 

Table of Contents

What is a social media marketing plan.

  • How to Create a Social Media Plan

Bonus: Get Inspired & Stay on Trend

A social media plan is the blueprint you create to optimize your social media strategy.

From auditing your social media profiles to building your content calendar , a 30-day plan will keep you calm and collected — rather than doing everything all at once.

The best part? We’ve laid it all out for you, week by week (keep reading). 

FYI: Later is trusted by over 7M social media managers, brands, & creators to organize, publish, and analyze their social media content — saving them tons of time. Create an account today.

How to Create a Social Media Plan (That You Can Use Again and Again)

Ready to tackle creating your very own 30-day social media plan? Social media success awaits, below. 

Week 1 (Days 1-7): Set New Goals & Metrics

Week 2 (Days 8-14): Audit Your Social Media Profiles 

Week 3 (Days 15-21): Create & Build a Content Calendar 

Week 4 (Days 22-30): Revisit & Readjust Your Strategy

Week #1 (Days 1-7): Set New Goals & Metrics

Social media goals are the foundation on which your social media plan (and strategy) are built. 

They inform the type of content you create, the cadence , and define your "why."

So, it’s fitting that your first seven days will be to choose your success metrics and create long-term SMART goals:

M easurable 

A chievable 

Whether you want to improve engagement or build brand awareness, defining these goals and metrics with the SMART method will help you drive your strategy forward.

TIP: Learn how to set intentional, SMART goals in this Later blog: How to Set Social Media Goals (+ Free Course)

Week #2 (Days 8-14): Audit Your Social Media Profiles

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork for your social media plan, it’s time to figure out what's working, and what's not.

How? With a social media audit. 

This process involves a comprehensive evaluation of your social media platforms, content, and performance metrics — whether you have a few posts or hundreds. 

Our advice? Spend the first couple of days sweeping the surface: Is your tone of voice consistent across platforms? Is it obvious who you are and what you have to offer?

TIP: Creating a consistent bio across platforms makes it easy for followers to find you and identify with your content. 

Triple screenshot of Later's TikTok, Instagram, and X (previously Twitter) profiles.

For the second half of your week, dig into platform analytics to see how you’re tracking towards your goals.

Make note of high-performing social media posts, their captions, the visuals used, and any relevant hashtags (or keywords). 

Then, start thinking about how you can replicate your success (more on that, later). 

NOTE: If you’re starting from scratch , opt for auditing similar brands in your niche for inspiration!

Week #3 (Days 15-21): Create & Build a Content Calendar 

Ultimately, content is the key to building (and sustaining) a community online — so it’s no surprise it’s the center of a solid social media plan. 

Dedicate the first part of this week to drafting a social media calendar , choosing your content pillars , and defining how often you’ll post on every platform. 

By getting a macro look at the upcoming week (or month), you’ll know what type of content needs to be created, identify any gaps, and leave room open to jump on a potential trend or meme .

PRO TIP: Download our free ready-to-use social media calendar to streamline your social media strategy. 

Next, put on your brainstorming hat and then start creating content — whether it’s educational carousel posts, short-form videos for Reels, or longform LinkedIn captions.

Once your content is up to par, congrats — the hard part is officially over.

You’re now ready to populate your calendar and schedule your posts! 

With a social media management platform like Later , you can drag and drop images from your Media Library onto your content calendar, insert your captions, schedule at your best time to post , and more.

TIP: Improve your social media workflow with Later's features and tools! Create an account in just two clicks.

Week #4 (Days 22-30): Revisit & Readjust Your Strategy

And just like that, you’re nearing the finish line of your social media plan. 

The final week is all about digging into the performance of the posts that have gone live and making light adjustments to better your results. 

This is also the perfect time to set the cadence for reviewing your insights on a weekly and monthly basis. 

With Later's in-depth analytics tool , you can track key metrics like comments, likes, and your engagement rate:

You can also dig into your top performing posts, audience demographics, your growth rate, hashtag analytics, and more.

Create a free account — or try one of our paid plans — and start diving into your data today.

Need more help?

Lucky for you, we have a long list of resources to keep you inspired, on trend, and dominating social media feeds everywhere: 

The Top TikTok Trends to Try This Week  

The Top Instagram Reels Trends to Try This Week  

How to Create Shareable Content on Social Media

How to Go Viral on Social Media — With Original Content

The Ultimate Guide to Evergreen Content (+ 5 Ideas To Get You Started)

15 Easy Instagram Reels Ideas to Post Today (+ Free Planner)

10 TikTok Ideas for Your Next Post

7 of the Best Apps for Editing Your Instagram Reels

65 of the Best Instagram Captions for Brands

25 Instagram Stories Ideas to Level-up Your Social Strategy

And just like that, your social media strategy is revitalized and ready to shine. 

Whether you’re looking to grow your existing social accounts or start from scratch, a social media plan is the first chapter of your brand’s social media success story. 

ICYMI: Our free weekly newsletter shares the latest social media news and tips — right to your inbox. Subscribe now .

Alyssa Gagliardi

Alyssa is a Toronto-based creative writer and Content Marketer at Later. If you can’t reach her, she’s probably glueing gems to her face, rollerskating, or thrifting. Keep up with her nonsense on Instagram – @alygagliardi .

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.

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Getting Started On Social Media For Your Small Business

social media for small business

Why social media is important for your business

8 expert social media marketing tips for small businesses.

  • Ready to get started on social media as a small business? 

Don’t miss our eight tips for getting started with social media marketing as a small business.

As a small business, you’re looking for ways to expand your network, reach new customers and inspire them to convert. That’s why makes social media marketing such a powerful channel for businesses (like yours).

Social media gives you the opportunity to connect with potential customers at scale, completely free of charge. Through content that educates, entertains and inspires, you’re able to build trust, showcase your expertise and give customers a reason to choose your business. 

But we get it: building a social media profile from scratch can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve pulled together eight key tips to help you get started with social media marketing for your small business.

Effortless Instagram auto posting

Over 2.5M brands already use our all-in-one creation tool to auto post AND schedule stories!

There are so many different ways to market your small business. But if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to reach relevant audiences and potential customers, social media marketing needs to be part of your mix. And here’s why.

Social media gives you a direct way to interact with your customers, learn about their needs and find strategic ways to promote your products and services. Using both organic and paid social media activity you can boost brand awareness and move potential customers all the way through the sales funnel.

Still not convinced? Here are the five reasons why your small business needs to show up on social media:

• Social media helps you to connect with potential clients and customers wherever you work (whether that’s in a specific local area or even globally).

• Social media helps you get to know your customers better, pinpoint their needs and challenges and find smarter ways to connect, convince and convert them.

• Social media helps you build social proof and trust with potential customers to make it easier to seal the deal.

• Social media helps you share and test ideas and validate products and services before you launch into the market.

• Social media even helps you grow and expand your team through professional social networking sites like LinkedIn.

Ready to get your small business set up on social media? Keep reading to discover eight expert tips to supercharge your success.

1. Get to know your audience

Get to know your Audience Plann Analytics

The first step to getting started on social media is deeply understanding your audience. 

One of the benefits of using social media for small businesses is that you can score in-depth analytics and insights into who is engaging and following your business. From where they live, to their age and gender, you can start to gain a better insight into your audience on social media. 

Plus, if you’re considering things like social advertising, you can target and serve advertising content to specific users based on their unique characteristics. 

But first, you must determine who your target audience is. Take your time to think about who your ideal customers are based on the following:

• Demographics (like age and gender)

• Location 

• Interests 

• Behaviors

Once you’ve got a clear idea of who you want to target and reach on social media, you can design organic and paid social media content that will resonate with this audience. This will help you cut through the noise and ensure every post you share will resonate with your target market.

2. Choose the right platforms

Social Media - Choose the right platforms

There are countless social media platforms to choose from to market your small business. But, not all of them will be right for your brand or your target audience.

Your gut feeling may tell you that if you’re trying to reach Gen Z, you should avoid Facebook and instead focus on Instagram and TikTok . However, stats reveal that roughly a quarter of Facebook users are between 18 and 24.

What does this tell us? Well, you need to carefully consider which social networks are the best fit for your brand . Here’s a quick guide to get you started:

• If you’re looking to target younger audiences: try platforms like Instagram and TikTok

• If you’re looking to target a B2B audience: try platforms like LinkedIn

• If you’re looking to focus on paid social advertising: focus your attention on Facebook

• If you’re looking to inspire audiences with visual content: give Pinterest a go

3. Craft a memorable social media bio

Craft a Memorable Social Media Bio

Once a user lands on your social media profiles, you want to give them a reason to remember and follow you. That’s why it’s essential to craft a convincing social media bio that clearly explains who you are, who you serve, what you do and what action you want profile visitors to take. 

Plus, you want to use your social bios to showcase your brand’s personality, so be sure to use strategic emojis, playful language and your brand’s tone of voice to grab attention.

To help you structure your social media bios (particularly on Instagram), here is what you should include as a small business:

• Your business name and what industry you work in 

• A punchy, memorable tagline that describes what you do and who you serve

• A snapshot of your key services or products 

• Where you are based (such as using a flag emoji from your country)

• A call-to-action that encourages profile visitors to visit your website, follow your business or even download a freebie from your bio link

4. Create a social media strategy and plan

Create A Social Media Strategy and Plan

Before you dive into posting social media content, keep in mind that any marketing activity should begin with a strategy and plan. And social media is not an exception. 

That’s why taking the time to craft a considered social media strategy is key to giving your content purpose and impact. 

So, what should your social media strategy include?

• Goals and objectives linked to your business objectives (such as increased revenue, a boost in website visitors or an uptick in app downloads).

• Key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you to track and quantify the success of your efforts over specific time frames.

• Content pillars that are aligned to the needs and aspirations of your audience and help you work towards your social media goals.

• Content posting schedule that explains how often you’ll be posting to each social media channel and why.

A social media strategy is a checklist of everything you want to do and hope to accomplish on 

social media. The more detailed your strategy, the more effective it will be.

Did you know you can build your own social media strategy, tailored to your business goals, with Plann ? No matter your level of experience, you can set content themes and customize content prompts to keep you on track towards your goals.

And remember this strategy should be reviewed and refined over time (but more on that in a minute!).

5. Bring your high-quality content to life

After you’ve chosen your ideal platform and made a plan, it’s time to develop content for that specific platform.

Need some inspiration? You’ve come to the right place. Here are a few social media  content ideas to spark your imagination:

• Run a contest or giveaway to boost your organic reach 

• Challenge your audience to take part in a user-generated content campaign

• Share a tutorial or how-to video that highlights your expertise

• Use a “This or That” poll to boost engagement 

• Host an Ask Me Anything live broadcast to connect with your audience

Batch-creating a week or even a month’s worth of content in advance can help you save time in the long run and ensure you’re posting consistent high-quality content.

While developing your content, make sure you keep your audience in mind. Think about what will resonate with them and inspire them to engage with your content. Also, make sure to include relevant hashtags in your post captions so high-value users can easily discover your brand.

6. Create a content calendar and track performance

Create a content calendar and track performance

Once you’ve batch-developed social media content for your small business, it makes sense to create a content calendar. Creating a content calendar with Plann can help you save time you’d otherwise spend thinking about what to post each day.

The key to creating engaging content that will resonate with your audience is to track the performance of your previous social media posts.

Analyzing your post-performance is easy with Plann . Our easy to use analytics feature can help you understand what type of content works best for you. That means you can focus your energy on what’s working (and ditch poor performing content pillars).

Psst… want to know exactly what metrics you should be measuring on Instagram? Check out which metrics you need to focus on instead of your follower count.

7. Proactively build relationships with your audience

The unique advantage of social media marketing for small businesses is that it allows you to communicate directly with clients and followers. Rather than asking for a sale right away, you can build connections over time using the power of content marketing.

When users interact with your organic content , it’s a good idea to respond and spark authentic conversations. Ask open-ended questions to generate interest in posts and make sure to respond to all of your DMs in a timely manner.

By creating conversations in your post captions, you’ll give the social media algorithms another reason to prioritize your content in the feed.

8. Sell using social commerce

Sell using Social Commerce

In recent years, social media marketing has grown to incorporate social commerce: the ability to sell your items directly via social networks. And business is rising, with a global market value of $89.4 billion projected for 2020.

By June 2020, 18.3% of U.S. people had made a transaction on Facebook, and 11.1% had done so on Instagram.

With social commerce, you may now sell your products and services using Facebook and Instagram shopping tools even if you don’t have a website. This is a powerful way to boost your revenue and tap into new markets to drive further sales.

Ready to get started on social media as a small business? 

Now that you know the importance of social media marketing for small businesses, it’s time to implement the eight tips included in this article.

The good news? You don’t have to go it alone!

Here at Plann, we’ve built your all-in-one social media suite, helping you go from building your strategy to posting your content to reviewing your post-performance in one handy dashboard. Go on, sign up for a free 7-day trial today .

The Social Media Manager's Guide

Learn how to manage multiple accounts without going crazy!

The Social Media Manager's Guide

Author:  Kate Starr

Get social media insider social media hints, tips & hacks straight to your inbox.

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Small & medium sized businesses

Maximize your impact with Sprout

With the right tools and partners, any business—no matter the budget—can extract real business value out of social media and turn their brand into a household name.

A smiling Sprout user shown with snapshots of the Sprout platform representing the full scope of social management capabilities.

Achieve more goals in less time

Sprout empowers nearly 10,000 small and medium-sized businesses to move at the speed of social media. Our platform is designed to grow with your brand—making your daily work simpler, even when your goals become more challenging. While every organization is unique, these are the pain points we hear most often:

“I want to engage more and get creative with content, but I have too much on my plate and not enough time.”

“We have specific goals and objectives, but the native platforms don’t have all the features I need to deliver results.”

“I struggle to convince leadership of the full potential of social, so getting buy-in for tools has been tough.”

Simplify your workflow

Social can be time-consuming—especially when you have to manually publish, engage and analyze data separately on each native platform. Sprout brings all those actions into one, streamlined workflow, giving even the smallest teams the tools they need to do the work of a larger team, and in less time.

Optimize your engagement workflow with Sprout’s Inbox Views, which enable you to build and save your own custom filter sets in the Smart Inbox.

Maintain oversight

Unify all connected networks and profiles into a single stream to monitor incoming messages and provide quick responses.

Be efficient

Plan posts up to 13 months in advance with a calendar then publish to multiple networks and profiles simultaneously.

Stay organized

Label and sort messages to easily access communications related to specific business objectives and strategies.

Take control

Save time and stay a step ahead using automation features and customizable workflows.

Build relationships

Nothing will build your brand—and your business—better than genuine engagement. But it’s daunting to manually track and respond to every message. Sprout helps you cultivate loyal communities through proactive conversation management and customized customer care.

small business social media plan

increase in engagements across Facebook and Twitter over a two-month period.

“Not only does Sprout make it easier for me to track the mentions or hashtags we’re using, but tracking people who are sharing our content from web links is huge. That allows us to engage with people even if they’re not tagging us or mentioning us in their post.”

Kevin Juliano , Digital Director, Pennsylvania Association of Realtors

Sprout’s tools offer an end-to-end social solution from publishing a social post, to measuring its engagement and overall content performance via our customizable reports.

Elevate your strategy

Whether you’re looking for initial guidance, or you’re ready to start implementing new strategies, Sprout’s all-in-one platform and superior support team equips you with the insights and confidence you need to see tangible growth—and show leadership why social media is worth the investment.

Understand your audience

Explore and analyze conversations to better understand your audience, their preferences and sentiment around relevant industry topics.

Track real-time results

Customize your social data in an omni-channel view to pull business insights and performance from a single source of truth.

Get inspired

Generate new product, service and content ideas by observing trends and gaps in the industry, and among competitors.

Why Sprout for your business

Onboard quickly.

Up and running and seeing results in days, not weeks

Award-winning service

Personalized, quick and reliable customer support

Highest average rating 

In satisfaction, support, usability and retention (per industry analysts and real user reviews)

Simple, intuitive layout

Designed around the fundamentals of social media management: publishing & engagement

Ample resources

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How to Use Social Media for Small Business 

small business social media plan

By: Tatyana Parham 

With over 4 billion daily active social media users worldwide, social media marketing for small business has become an essential part of many small business owners' marketing strategy. Although there's a lot of information available online about specific social media marketing campaign tactics and social media growth hacks, it's important for small business owners to understand how to fundamentally use social media as a part of a long-term marketing and sales strategy for small business growth. Incorporating social media marketing for small business into your business's long-term, big-picture vision will allow your business to remain competitive in the age of social networking. 

Social media marketing for small businesses allows business owners to increase brand awareness, build customer relationships, and complete online sales transactions directly on social platforms. However, learning how to use social media for small business is about more than casually posting a few times a month, or using the same ten general hashtags under every post. Begin to develop your social media marketing strategy by brainstorming exactly how social media can benefit your small business, and how to create content that competes amongst industry trends and attracts potential customers. 

Here's a few tips to begin to develop your online presence and learn how to use social media for small business. 

Create a Social Media Plan 

Every strong social media marketing strategy for small business starts with a clear, specific, and realistic plan that details what you hope to achieve while using social media to grow your business, and how you intend to get there. In order to fully see a worthwhile return on your investment in social media efforts, you have to commit to a strategic plan that supports specific goals that are tailored to your business's current growth opportunities. It is also essential to focus on building systems into your routine workflows to maintain an active and engaging presence across your business's social channels. 

One of the best parts about social media for small business is that it's completely free to begin. Once you've chosen the best social platforms for your business , take the time to map out a realistic plan to keep your team accountable for reaching your business's social media marketing goals. Focus on setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) goals based on metrics that will have a positive impact on your business. During the planning process, consider: 

  • Who is your target audience, and how will you reach them? 
  • What social media trends have proven to be successful in your industry, and what's working for your competition? (Ex: Using short-form video content to quickly grab your audience's attention and lead them to your website to eventually make a sale) 
  • What are attainable goals that you can achieve with the resources you have on hand, in a realistic but effective amount of time? (Ex: Gaining 100 new active Instagram followers in a three-month period) 
  • If you are unable to hire a social media manager, what specific responsibilities should be delegated to each team member involved in the social media marketing strategy, based on their strengths and availability? 

After you brainstorm some of these general ideas, you can focus on creating a monthly social media calendar to help you boost your productivity and automate your activity across your social channels. 

Speak to Your Target Audience 

Although your products and services may be available to virtually everyone, you can grow your small business more effectively by micro-targeting specific groups of potential consumers that you can directly engage with online. Learning more about how your target audience best consumes information, as well as their general wants and needs associated with your products and services, is one of the best ways to grow a dedicated following on social media. 

Begin by using social media analytics tools such as Facebook Business Suite to compile data on your current followers and further understand who is interacting with your business online and who is being converted into paying customers. Once you can identify who your target audience is, you can develop buyer persona profiles for specific groups of consumers that share common motives to engage with your business. 

For example, if you sell art supplies, one targeted buyer persona may be a kindergarten teacher looking for easy-to-use supplies for their classroom, while another may be a graduate art student that cares about long-lasting quality and precision. Understanding who your content is intended for will help you shape specific messages and themes that will resonate with each audience. Pay attention to what your customers are asking on your competition's social channels, and craft your messages to respond to those general needs. 

Focus on Building Relationships 

Social media for small business is an open-sourced customer service platform that allows small business owners to interact directly with their followers. Use this space to give your audience an opportunity to build a relationship with your brand over time, as you develop a loyal online community and attract potential lifelong customers. 

When you establish relationships with your audience and they consistently engage with your account, the algorithm will boost your posts and show them more of your company's content. Then, as your followers like and share your posts, your brand gains free exposure on the platform. 

Some ways to nurture customer relationships on social media include creating an active Facebook group, using built-in interactive tools like Twitter polls and Instagram Story Questions, consistently responding to comments and DM's, and connecting with your industry's network through hashtags and mentions. While customer acquisition is critical for small business growth, be mindful not to neglect the following that you already have. 

Produce Quality Content 

When incorporating social media as a part of your company's overall marketing and branding efforts, focus on creating quality content that will resonate with your target audience. Instead of pumping out generic posts that solely promote sales, consciously create content that offers some sort of value for your target audience. This will increase credibility for your company online and potentially position your business as an industry expert, which will ultimately attract more customers and grow your social media following. 

As you create your social media calendar, you can use the 80/20 Rule: dedicate 80 percent of your social media content to inform, educate, or entertain your audience, and use the other 20 percent to promote your brand and sell products. Successful social media campaigns prioritize customer intimacy and creating value as a brand. 

Emphasize a focus on creating high-quality content by using online tools to help you craft aesthetic, yet functional posts. Use apps like VSCO for simple photo-editing, and Canva to create eye-catching social media graphics. You can use social media to grow your brand by scheduling templated in-feed and story posts that help your audience quickly identify your brand's style, based on graphic elements, images, editing, brand colors, fonts, and more. 

Visit our extensive online library of UH SBDC Marketing Webinars for additional guidance for growing your small business. 


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></center></p><ul><li>Facebook Marketing</li><li>Instagram Marketing</li><li>LinkedIn Marketing</li><li>Pinterest Marketing</li><li>TikTok Marketing</li><li>YouTube Marketing</li><li>Twitter Marketing</li><li>Mastodon Marketing</li><li>Content Marketing</li><li>Email Marketing</li><li>Video Marketing</li><li>Champs Talk</li></ul><h2>Popular Keywords</h2><p>No Record Found</p><h2>Daniel Clark</h2><ul><li>April 1, 2024</li><li>Blog , Marketing , Social</li></ul><p>The way a business uses social media can make people like or dislike the brand. If a business shares posts at the right time, it can build strong relationships with the audience. Creative pictures and smart words can change how customers think about your organization. This is the real power of good social media management.</p><p>Over time, we’ve seen how a well-planned and maintained social media marketing strategy, especially when using efficient tools like a Social Media Scheduler , can make a big difference. It’s not by chance but because of careful planning and doing things the right way.</p><h2>What Is Social Media Management</h2><p>Social Media Management tips are important part of today’s business marketing plans. It means making, planning, studying, and interacting with posts made on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, X (Twitter), LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more.</p><p>This isn’t just about putting up new posts on your company’s social media pages. It also involves talking to your audience and finding new ways to get more people to see and interact with your posts.</p><p>You need to understand how different social media sites work and how your target audience uses them. In simple words, social media management helps businesses achieve their goals by using social media in the right way. Choosing the right platforms for your brand is another of the handy social media management tips.</p><p>Good social media management is more than just posting updates on your company’s social media pages. It also involves talking to your audience and finding new ways to get more people to see and interact with your posts. While it might seem easy, managing social media can take a lot of time. Because of this, many companies choose to hire a dedicated social media manager or use a tool that lets them plan posts ahead of time.</p><p>Managing social media accounts for clients is no small feat. It requires careful planning, consistent communication, and a deep understanding of each client’s unique brand and audience. From creating engaging content to tracking analytics, managing social media accounts for clients involves numerous tasks that require a strategic approach.</p><p>A key aspect of managing social media accounts for business is focusing on customer engagement and brand representation.</p><p>For instance, a company may use its Facebook page to share updates about new products or services, respond to customer inquiries, and engage with followers through comments and likes. These are practical social media management examples that help businesses connect with their audience and build a strong online presence.</p><p>Furthermore, managing social media accounts for businesses also includes monitoring trends, tracking performance metrics, and adjusting strategies based on these insights.</p><h2>Looking for an effective social media management tool?</h2><p>Look no further than social champ, an all in one social media management tool for publishing, scheduling, monitoring analytics, and more, 20+ social media management tips for your business.</p><p>We have compiled our top 20+ social media management tips for your business accounts to implement this year!</p><h2>Plan Your Social Media Posts Well</h2><p>Every post you share on social media should be useful or interesting to your followers. Think about what your followers might want at different times as they get to know your brand. Do they need information, fun, or inspiration? Your posting plan should be able to change to meet these needs, making sure your followers always find your posts helpful and enjoyable and making this one of the most practical social media management tips for beginners.</p><p><center><img style=

Use Pictures and Videos to Tell Stories

Use tools to help manage your social media, be regular and honest in your posts, talk and interact with your audience.

Engaging with your audience regularly is also among the most effective social media management tips. Social media is not just about posting stuff; it’s about making friends and talking to them. It’s a place for two-way chats, not just one-way messages.

Make Sure Your Posts Look Good on Phones

Lots of people use social media on their phones or tablets. So, it’s really important to make your posts look good on these smaller screens.

Keep an Eye on How Well Your Posts Do

Try out different things to see what works best, run social media advertisements, try to make your posts go viral, team up with micro-influencers, make your posts useful, relevant, & informative, know when to talk about trending topics, monitor growth & adjust your strategy, show people behind your brand, be smart with hashtags, pay attention to what people say on social media, leverage the benefits of user generated content, keep an eye on new updates & features, share reviews.

Related Article: 6 Social Media Engagement Ideas to Embrace Your Audience!

Following the social media management tips mentioned above can greatly improve your presence online. The secret to good social media management in 2024 is a good mix of data-driven insights, real human connection, and the ability to adjust to the ever-changing online world. To keep growing and doing well, your approach should be as changing as the audience you want to engage. By using these strategies, you don’t just increase your brand’s visibility and trustworthiness but also become a leader in your field. Get ready to take on the social media world. The tips provided are not just a simple guide but a starting point for taking advantage of the many opportunities offered by the social media world.

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How Can Startups Leverage Social Media for Brand Building?

Apr 5, 2024

In the fast-paced world of startups, mastering social media can be a game changer for brand building. We've gathered insights from brand managers and creative directors to bring you 15 expert strategies. From planning consistent, high-quality posts to leveraging user-generated content campaigns, discover how to make social media work for your startup's brand narrative

Plan Consistent, High-Quality Posts

We paved our way from a small startup to an international company with clients in over 150 countries. A huge part of it has always been social media. Before we started our blog and began appearing on webinars, we built our brand awareness on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The most effective way of building your brand on social media is through a simple strategy: Plan out when and how you want to post. Consistency is the most important part of creating a reliable image. So, think about how much time you can actually devote each week to each platform. Don't plan out too many posts per week if the tempo will be too high for you and you will have to eventually resign. It's better to post once or twice a week, but ensure that what you post is consistent with your brand, your color identification, and your needs.

Just because you're working on your own doesn't mean you can't create high-quality content. High-quality content is rich in information; it's engaging and memorable. So, each time you create a post, create a small checklist in your head: Is this content quality?

It's good to focus on building a very strong base audience when you're starting. You are going to achieve that by holding Q&A sessions and creating engaging posts and stories where you explain some concepts or ask questions to the viewers. You can quiz them on matters connected to your field of work. We used to ask our audience what were indicators of a strong brand in their opinion, answer some of the top comments, and then post research on the topic the following week. This way, our audience started to rely on us as thought leaders in the field. They would share the research with their colleagues, and suddenly, our following would grow more and more.

Waleria Pagowska , Product Marketing Specialist, Brand24

Showcase Behind-the-Scenes Content

One highly effective way for startups to leverage video marketing on social media is through the creation of "behind-the-scenes" content. This approach humanizes your brand, allowing your audience to connect on a more personal level. Showcasing the faces behind your products or services, your workspace, and even the process of how your goods are made, or services are executed can significantly enhance brand loyalty and trust. This type of content doesn't always require high production values, making it a cost-effective strategy that can yield high engagement rates. By giving your audience a peek into your brand's world, you're not just selling a product or service; you're inviting them into a story they'll want to be a part of.

Mike Vannelli , Creative Director, Envy Creative

Engage in Relevant Facebook Groups

A proven method of leveraging social media for brand building is to have members of your team join and engage in relevant Facebook groups. For example, if you sell cheese, you could join recipe groups, moms' groups, and, wait for it... cheese groups! Engage with the posts and group members through posts and comments, and try to elevate your profile to moderator status when possible to give you a bit more leeway with self-promotion. From there, start funneling people to your brand page and consider making a group for your brand once you have momentum.

Dennis Consorte , Digital Marketing & Leadership Consultant for Startups, Snackable Solutions

Be Creative and Take Risks

Honestly, the mistake most startups—and businesses in general—make on social media is taking it too seriously without being willing to take a risk. Be creative and have fun with it. Which brands do you actually remember for their social media posts? For me, it's brands that have fun with it, like Wendy's, or sports teams like the Chargers, who do cool stuff like turning their schedule reveal into an anime video instead of just dropping a screenshot of a list of dates, times, and opponents.

If all you're doing on social media is posting 'Here's our mandatory post celebrating (insert holiday here),' interspersed with sharing a blog post from your website because you read somewhere that you need to post on social media, you're not going to get anywhere.

Your brand on social media doesn't have to mesh perfectly with how you are perceived elsewhere. Just because Wendy's social media is sarcastic and witty doesn't mean I expect the cashier to make a quip about how my diet is going because I ordered a Diet Coke with my four Baconators.

So, if you're just starting out and don't already have a healthy number of followers, you need to actually get some attention somewhere. Start out trying to engage in a fun, funny, or creative way wherever and whenever you can in replies or trending topics. No one is going to find you if you're just posting generic content to your timeline or story every day with no followers, so you have to insert yourself where people are already engaged.

Travis Schreiber , Director of Operations, Erase Technologies

Tailor Strategy to Startup Nature

Social media offers a cost-effective way to not only increase brand awareness but also reach a global audience, thanks to the large user base of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The key to successfully using social media is to tailor the approach to the specific nature of the startup—be it a product (B2C) or a business-to-business (B2B) solution. This differentiation is critical because it dictates the strategy that should be used.

For B2C, direct interaction with the target audience is of paramount importance. One effective method is to use influencers. Depending on your available budget, initiating collaborations with micro-influencers can be a smart strategy. They can reinforce a brand's message by reaching potential customers in a way that is both authentic and engaging.

And for B2B, the most suitable platform is LinkedIn. The emphasis should be on demonstrating expertise and clearly articulating the startup's unique value proposition. Partnering with influencers who are respected experts in the field can also be beneficial, as their endorsement can increase trust.

Olga Natalchenko , pr manager, Wiserbrand

Integrate Channels into Unified Strategy

Reusing everything and integrating all channels into a single strategy, then adapting them to different channels, is what works best for us—and it's the most cost-effective approach.

Here's an example from my workplace: SEO is our most crucial customer acquisition channel, which is why it is the centerpiece of our strategy. Now, when we create an article on a certain topic, we ensure to also create an infographic that we share on social networks on that topic, make posts on X and LinkedIn, and produce a YouTube video.

This way, we cover the topic comprehensively and ensure we reach our audience, no matter which channel they prefer.

Marco Genaro Palma , Chief Marketing Officer, PRLab

Host Live Virtual Events

Start by doing live virtual events on social media! These days, social media platforms allow startups to easily go live. Startups can host AMAs on their social media channels to directly connect and speak with their community members on social media.

Brian Wong , founder, Spectrum

Build CEO/Founder's Personal Brand

The social media strategy used for your startup is critical to its success, and leveraging the right outlets is key. However, one often overlooked marketing tool is building the CEO/Founder's personal brand.

Leveraging the expertise of the leaders in the organization, showcasing their passion for the brand, and building their sphere of influence can take your startup to the next level. The human-to-human factor builds the 'know, like, and trust' factor that is nearly impossible for a faceless startup to reproduce on its own.

Also, for startups that are seeking funding, the saying is 'VCs fund the founder,' thus adding to the importance of building the CEO/Founder's personal brand.

Claire Bahn , CEO and Co-Founder, Claire Bahn Group

Create Engaging, Shareable Content

One effective way for startups to leverage social media for brand-building is by creating engaging and shareable content that resonates with their target audience. This could include behind-the-scenes glimpses, user-generated content, and interactive posts. From my experience, this approach helps foster a sense of community around the brand and encourages users to become brand advocates, ultimately leading to increased brand visibility and loyalty.

Jayen Ashar , CTO, Scaleup Consulting

Weave a Relatable Brand Narrative

Use storytelling. Storytelling on social media isn't just about sharing what your product or service does; it's about weaving a narrative that connects your brand's values, mission, and vision with your audience on a personal level. This method goes beyond traditional advertising by engaging potential customers in a narrative they find relatable, inspiring, or compelling.

For instance, a startup can share stories about the challenges it faced in the early stages of its business, the inspiration behind its products, or how its services are making a difference in customers' lives. This approach enhances brand visibility. It's about creating content that resonates on a human level, making its brand memorable and distinct in a crowded market.

When done effectively, storytelling can boost engagement rates, increase followers, and drive conversion rates, as people are more likely to support and purchase from brands they feel emotionally connected to. Additionally, leveraging user-generated content as part of your storytelling strategy can amplify your brand's reach and authenticity.

Encouraging your audience to share their stories about your brand or how your product has impacted their lives expands your brand's presence and credibility through genuine, customer-driven narratives. This approach enriches your brand's storytelling and builds a community that feels valued and connected to your startup's journey.

Kristin Kimberly Marquet , Founder and Creative Director, Marquet Media

Proactively Manage Online Communities

One effective way for startups to leverage social media for brand building is through proactive community management. This involves actively engaging with the audience on social media platforms by initiating conversations, responding to comments, and participating in relevant discussions. Proactive community management helps in creating a relatable and approachable brand image, fostering a sense of connection and loyalty among followers.

Engaging with the community doesn't just mean addressing queries or concerns; it also involves sharing valuable content, asking for feedback, and showing appreciation for customer interaction. By doing so, startups can build a strong, engaged community that feels valued and heard. This active engagement not only increases brand visibility but also provides invaluable insights into customer preferences and behaviors, which can guide future marketing strategies and product development.

Steven Picanza , Co Founder, ANEWBrand

Integrate SEO Keywords in Posts

Searching for products/services within social media is gaining popularity, especially with younger audiences. Startups can integrate SEO keywords into their social media content to make their posts searchable within the app and search engines. The brand should add keywords within their video content (spoken out loud and/or included within overlay text), captions, alt text, and image file names. This strategy can be effective for noting the products/services that the brand offers, where the business is based, and the core mission of the company.

Megan Gersch , Owner + CEO, Megan Gersch

Share Stories and Nurture Community

I think the best use of social media for effective brand building is, one, sharing storytelling content and, two, nurturing your community. Creating engaging content that tells a story and feels true to your brand and voice will resonate with (and attract) the right people.

Social media is a great way to have one-on-one conversations with your community and to build loyalty. Your community and brand will be shaped by their (customers') feedback. Nurture these relationships!

Ally Case , Founder + CEO, Uppercase Media

Analyze Competitors for Content Strategy

Startups leveraging social media for brand-building should rely heavily on a data-led approach. This means analyzing the performance of content published by their competitors and understanding what kind of content is working best with different audiences on different social channels.

In the ever-changing landscape of social media marketing, this kind of intel helps brand managers tweak and pivot their content strategy because what worked last month isn't necessarily going to work next month—trends move quickly!

Furthermore, utilizing competitor analytics on your target social media channels will de-risk your social content strategy overall. Doing so essentially shortcuts the test-and-learn process and enables you to execute content ideas based on competitive data insight. Why not utilize the communication techniques and media types that you know are already cutting through in the News Feed and use these to inform your next best posts?

Tim Hill , Co-Founder and CEO, Social Status

Leverage User-Generated Content Campaigns

Use UGC campaigns to build up customer relationships and leverage their recommendations to promote your new product. By releasing a product beta to unique customers and testers, you can begin to build buzz with their reviews, ratings, and video content before launch.

Customer videos using your product and similar UGC can become the marketing material to run in your social media campaigns, landing pages, and other content. UGC strategies are also easy to gamify to pump up engagement rates, or in hashtag marketing to encourage more views and interactions.

Feature users' content as your promotional material to inspire new customers, pique their interest, and get involved. Authenticity and social proof drive better purchase conversions, making UGC the natural route to onboarding customers and building new rapport.

Joanne Demeireles , CXO, Oula Health

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Craft Your Winning Social Media Strategy: A Blueprint for Success

Craft Your Winning Social Media Strategy: A Blueprint for Success

You’ve nailed the “basics” of social media and now you’re out to start your own brand and build your online presence.

A great idea and knowledge in a specific niche—check. Social media page—check.

Great content—check. But as soon as you hit post, you hear nothing but crickets. We get it. With 5 billion people scrolling through social media for around 2.5 hours a day , the opportunity to grow your business and reach more people is huge. But it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to get noticed.

To really make your mark, you need more than just random posts. You need a smart plan that helps you stand out, connect with the right people, and achieve your big goals. 

We’re here to help you do just that. We’re going to dive into what makes a strong social media strategy, including easy steps to plan your approach and tips on crafting content that grabs attention.

We’re also going to introduce you to a game-changer: using a social media template. 

The essentials of a social media strategy 

Your social media strategy is a blueprint for using social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram to get your message across, connect with people, and introduce your brand or business to the world. 

A well-defined social media marketing plan outlines what and when to post, what you want to achieve, how you’ll get there, and the metrics that signal success.

small business social media plan

However, a winning social media strategy transcends social media networks and can seamlessly align with your business’s larger goals.

By aligning your social media strategy with your business goals, you can use every tweet, post, and share for maximum impact, whether increasing sales, enhancing customer service, or improving brand loyalty.

A step-by-step guide to creating a social media strategy

Now that you grasp the fundamentals, it’s time to build a social media strategy that delivers. Let’s break it down into essential steps:

1. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals

Objectives guide every successful social media strategy. Before you start posting, ask yourself, “What do I really want to achieve on social media?” 

Vague goals like “get more followers” will not cut it. 

The S.M.A.R.T. framework is your weapon against fuzzy thinking. SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to accomplish.
  • Measurable: Set targets with numbers attached.
  • Achievable: Be ambitious but realistic.
  • Relevant: Tie your goals back to overarching business objectives.
  • Time-bound: Give yourself a deadline.

small business social media plan

S.M.A.R.T. goals eliminate ambiguity and give you clear targets to work towards. This increases your chances of achieving your objectives, provides a way to track progress and make adjustments. SMART goals boost motivation and set you up to celebrate your milestones along the way.

Some common social media objectives include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate new leads
  • Boost brand engagement

A good example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be to increase brand impressions on Instagram by 20% within the next 3 months.

2. Understanding and targeting your audience

A successful social media strategy relies on a deep understanding of who you’re trying to reach. This is where personas and focused targeting come into play.

Personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers on each social media platform. They go beyond basic demographics and encompass details like:

  • Pain points
  • Online behaviors
  • Motivations for purchase
  • Preferred social media channels

How to create online personas

Here’s how to create detailed social media personas to guide your strategy:

  • Gather data by looking at customer surveys, website analytics, and social media insights.
  • Analyze this data for any shared characteristics, behaviors, and pain points.
  • Go beyond age and gender. Consider their goals, challenges, and what influences their decisions.

Let’s say you’re a clothing brand or fashion influencer. Here’s an example of an online persona you’re bound to encounter:

Meet fashion-forward Fiona: She’s an Instagram-savvy, 28-year-old young professional.  Fiona’s all about sustainable fashion, the thrill of a good thrifting score, and keeping her look on-trend. Staying stylish on a budget, finding those one-of-a-kind pieces, and rocking a look that’s totally “her”—those  are Fiona’s fashion struggles. 

3. Choosing the right platforms: where does your audience live online?

Choosing the right social media platform can also impact the success of your online presence.

Finding the digital spaces where your audience hangs out and engages will ensure that the people you want to reach hear your message.

small business social media plan

This is why online personas are effective. These detailed profiles should include information on the social media habits of your target audience, such as which platforms they frequent and when they are most active.

This insight directs you to the right platforms without spreading your efforts too thinly across multiple, possibly less effective, channels.

In our case, fashion-forward Fiona enjoys Instagram. Next, consider the nature of your content and how it aligns with the strengths of each platform.

For instance, Instagram and Pinterest are highly visual platforms. This makes them ideal for brands that can showcase their offerings through images and videos, like, you guessed it, clothing brands. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is the premier professional network, making it the go-to platform for B2B companies or businesses looking to share industry insights and professional content.

Moreover, stay informed about trends in social media usage and shifts in platform popularity. People tend to move from one popular platform to the next.

4. Create the perfect blend of content

To develop a strong online presence, your content needs to hit the sweet spot: promotion to highlight your brand, information to provide value, and interaction to foster connection. Promotional content is the direct expression of your business, showcasing your products or services. It’s crucial for driving sales and conversions but should be used sparingly. The key is subtlety; your promotional content should feel natural and integrated within your broader content mix, rather than overwhelming or salesy.

small business social media plan

Informative content , on the other hand, serves to educate your audience about your industry, products, or services. This type of content positions your brand as an authority in your field, building trust and credibility. Informative content can take many forms, from how-to guides and tutorials to industry news and insights.

In the health and wellness space, we post workout tips, nutritional guides, and the science behind why your muscles hate you after leg day—and how to ease the pain. 

Lastly, interactive content is designed to engage your audience, encouraging them to participate and engage directly with your brand. This could be through polls, quizzes, contests, or simply compelling questions that spark conversation. Interactive content is a powerful tool for building community and loyalty, as it makes your audience feel heard and valued.

small business social media plan

To find your perfect balance, monitor your audience’s reactions and adjust your content mix based on what resonates most. Try using the 80/20 rule: roughly 80% of your content should offer value (inform and interact) and 20% can be explicitly promotional.

5. Engage and build a community

Engagement and community building aren’t just buzzwords in the playbook of social media strategy; they’re the secret sauce to making your brand feel more like a lively dinner party and less like a deserted island.

Here’s how you can master the art:

1. Be Consistently Active and Responsive

It’s simple: post regularly and talk back. Your followers took the time to comment, so a quick reply can go a long way in making them feel heard. It’s like acknowledging someone’s wave; don’t leave them hanging.

2. Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC)

Encourage your followers to share their experiences with your brand. It’s authentic, relatable, and gives your community the spotlight. Plus, it’s content you didn’t have to create yourself, which is always a win.

3. Host Live Sessions and Q&As

If your platform allows it, go live to add a human touch. It’s your chance to engage directly, answer questions, and share insights. 

small business social media plan

4. Create Interactive and Engaging Stories

Use stories for quick, engaging interactions. Polls, quizzes, and questions make your audience feel involved and offer you instant feedback. 

5. Organize Contests and Giveaways

Everyone loves the chance to win something. Contests and giveaways are like the social media version of a lucky draw. They’re exciting and a surefire way to boost engagement.

6. Use Hashtags to Create Conversations

Hashtags help thread your content into larger conversations. They make your posts discoverable and invite new followers into the fold. Think of them as your brand’s open invitation to join the party.

6. Analytics and the data-driven path to improvement

In your social media strategy, think of analytics as essential tools for steering your direction. Start by getting familiar with key metrics like reach, engagement, and conversion rates. These numbers indicate how well your content connects with your audience.

Set benchmarks to define what success looks like. Whether it’s past performance or industry standards, having clear targets helps you measure progress.

Regularly review your analytics to identify trends and adjust your strategy accordingly. Don’t shy away from experimenting with content, posting times, and platforms to discover what resonates best with your audience.

Listening to your audience is also important! Their feedback can shape your strategy. Based on your findings, tweak your approach. 

Taking advantage of social media strategy templates

While the concepts we’ve discussed are essential, sometimes you need a ready-made framework to get your plan down. Thankfully, there are excellent free social media strategy templates out there to streamline the process. A good template should include crucial areas like objectives (with space to define SMART goals), target audience descriptions, content themes aligned with your goals, a posting schedule, and prompts for the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you’ll track.

Some templates also include helpful sections for competitor analysis or outlining your social media campaigns.

Here are a few excellent places to start your search:

  • Hootsuite : Hootsuite’s social media strategy template covers all you need to develop a winning strategy, from auditing your social media presence to aligning your social goals with your business goals.
  • Socialpilot : Socialpilot’s template includes all the elements of a successful social media strategy, including identifying your target audience and goals, researching your competitors, and picking the best social media channels for your brand.
  • Backlinko : Backlinko’s template includes setting clear goals and selecting the right KPIs, using competitive research to choose the right social media platform, and setting up the right plant to maximize your engagement.
  • TeamGantt : TeamGantt’s template has all you need to succeed in social media. Plus, it offers flexibility and customization for your workflow.

Content creation and curation

Developing an effective content strategy starts with understanding your audience—their pain points, their questions, even the things that give them a little chuckle. 

Trust me, as a writer focused on neck and shoulder pain, I’ve seen some interesting search terms.

Consistency in your tone, visuals, and posting schedule also reinforces your trustworthiness and keeps your audience coming back for more. Now that you know your audience well, let’s dive into crafting the perfect content mix.

Crafting original content that shines

  • Tap into your unique voice: What sets you apart? Are you the witty explainer, the passionate advocate, or the detail-obsessed researcher? Let that shine through.
  • Solve problems: Your ideal reader has questions or needs. Anticipate those and create content that provides real solutions.
  • Offer a fresh perspective: Even on well-worn topics, can you present a new angle? Find an unconventional viewpoint or surprising connection.
  • Incorporate storytelling: Facts are great, but stories are how we remember . Use anecdotes, examples, and case studies to illustrate your points.
  • Elevate with visuals: Images, infographics, well-made videos – they all enhance understanding and shareability of your content.

The art of content curation

Curation is the skill of finding and sharing high-quality content from other relevant sources. Content curation can establish you as a resource for industry news and articles.

You can also open opportunities for collaboration and networking with other content creators. Most importantly, curation saves you time and fills your content calendar on days when you’re short on original ideas.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Be a selective guide: Don’t overwhelm your audience. Strive to share the best resources that align with your brand’s focus.
  • Add your value: Why are you sharing this? Offer a short summary, key takeaways, or how it relates to your original work.
  • Embrace variety: Curate different formats (articles, videos, podcasts) to cater to different learning styles.
  • Give credit where it’s due: Always tag creators, link to the original source, and show respect for others’ intellectual property.
  • Spark conversations: Ask questions alongside your curated content to incite a discussion and build community.

Amplifying your strategy with social advertising

While organic content lays the foundation by engaging your audience with valuable, relevant content, paid advertising enables you to break through the noise and reach a wider, more targeted audience.

The beauty of paid advertising on social media platforms lies in its ability to target users based on very specific criteria, including demographics, interests, behaviors, and even geographical locations. This precision ensures that your content reaches the eyes and ears of those most likely to be interested in your brand.

Paid social media ads are especially useful for promoting key initiatives like product launches or events, helping to achieve goals like lead generation or sales conversions more rapidly.

Managing your social media presence

Success on social media demands dedication and consistency. This isn’t just about the frequency of your posts but also encompasses the quality and relevancy of your content, and your engagement with followers.

Imagine your social media feed as a lively marketplace. Your social media platforms should regularly feature fresh, engaging content. This continuous flow of content keeps your audience coming back for more. 

But social media isn’t a one-way street! Set aside time daily to reply to comments, answer questions, and participate in relevant conversations. Over time, this consistent engagement strengthens the relationship between you and your audience.

Tools & practices to streamline your workflow

Juggling all these tasks can quickly become a hectic schedule. To make social media management a breeze , let’s look at some tools and practices that can save you time and effort.

  • Scheduling Tools: Platforms like Buffer let you create and schedule posts in advance, ensuring even coverage throughout the week.

small business social media plan

  • Monitoring and Listening Tools: Track brand mentions, industry keywords, and competitor activity to stay in the loop and be nimble in your responses. A good example would be Hootsuite .

small business social media plan

  • Team Collaboration Features: If you manage a team, tools like Socialpilot , allow for shared content calendars, task assignments, and streamlined communication.

Turn feedback and crises into opportunities

Your social media presence is an extension of your brand’s customer service and even the best brands deal with negative feedback and potential crises. Don’t shy away from these difficult situations. Instead, handle them gracefully to strengthen the trust between you and your followers. 

Have a plan in place to ensure you react swiftly and appropriately. This plan should outline how you’ll handle different levels of negative feedback (e.g., minor complaints versus a full-blown crisis) and include who is responsible for responding and how issues escalate internally.

Always respond with empathy. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, acknowledge their feelings, apologize where necessary, and express your commitment to resolving the problem. For complex issues or heated conversations, move things to a private channel like DM, email, or phone.

small business social media plan

If the issue affects a wider audience, a timely and honest statement on your social channels demonstrates accountability.  Let your followers know you’re aware of the problem and working on a solution.

Final thoughts

A well-crafted social media strategy is your ticket to success. It allows you to connect meaningfully with your audience, achieve concrete business goals, and solidify your brand’s presence.

By understanding your audience, defining clear goals, and creating content that resonates, you can drive your business forward.

Remember, social media is a long game. It requires patience, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from your successes and failures.

Use the insights and template we’ve explored to transform your social media presence. With dedication and a strategic mindset, you can unlock the power of social media and make it your proverbial oyster.

Why is a social media strategy important?

A social media strategy provides a roadmap for your online presence. It ensures your activities align with your larger business objectives and helps you pinpoint your ideal audience. With this information, you can craft more impactful content. With a strategy in place, you can track your results and see what works, giving you clarity rather than just randomly posting.

What are the 10 steps to a successful social media strategy?

The 10 steps to creating a winning social media strategy are:

  • Setting SMART goals
  • Outlining in-depth audience personas
  • Selecting platforms based on audience presence
  • Studying competitors
  • Creating a content calendar
  • Setting a posting schedule
  • Using a variety of content types and formats
  • Actively engaging with your audience
  • Tracking key metrics and analyzing results
  • Embracing flexibility to adapt and refine your strategy as needed

How do you organize a social media strategy?

 If you’re just starting out, using a social media strategy template is the best way to keep things organized. A good template includes sections dedicated to outlining your objectives, defining your target audience, planning your content, establishing a posting calendar, and tracking important metrics.

Are there any common social media strategy mistakes?

Yes, there are common pitfalls. These include not having specific goals, trying to be active on every single platform, posting without a content plan or schedule, ignoring engagement and failing to track your results and adjust your approach based on data.

How do I make my social media content stand out?

Focus on creating captivating content. Understand your brand voice, use it consistently and invest in high-quality visuals. Embrace storytelling for a more authentic feel, offer a mix of content types, and tap into current trends, humor (when brand-appropriate), and relevant news.

Should I use paid social media advertising?

Paid advertising can enhance your organic efforts. Consider it when you need to expand your reach beyond your existing followers, target extremely specific demographics and interest groups, boost the visibility of important content or campaigns, and drive direct traffic or lead generation.

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