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Top 7 Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses 

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Whether it’s to increase brand awareness or drive sales, social media continues to have valuable marketing potential in 2021.

But why do 47% of small business owners rate social media as unimportant?

While we can understand that social media marketing can be challenging, social media is simply too impactful not to prioritize.

So here are some of our top social media tips to help make social media work for your business — no matter how much time, resources, or business know-how you have.

Top 7 social media marketing tips for small business

At its core, social media is all about human interaction and behaviors. After all, it was primarily created to share ideas and information, and connect with others.

So if you want to leverage your social media strategy, the most important thing you need to do is to understand and connect with your target consumer.

Let’s find out how to do that.

1. Define your social media marketing goals

The first step to using social media for business is to set well-defined social media goals.

We recommend following the SMART goals framework to help you break down what you want to achieve on social media. The acronym stands for:

  • Specific — be clear and specific. For example, instead of saying “increase engagement,” attach a clear percentage to it and on which specific platform.
  • Measurable — determine your target numbers to know what you’re working towards.
  • Attainable/aspirational — be realistic when setting your goals. A good balance of attainable and aspiration is to have the goal challenge your abilities while still being possible.
  • Relevant — your marketing goals should align with your overall business goals. So if your business goal for the year is to grow by X amount, your marketing objectives should reflect that too.
  • Timely — set a timeline to achieve your goals and have a clear deadline in place to help give you momentum and drive. You might want to set daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals for each social media platform.

You can follow this template to set your own SMART goal for social media:

“Increase [goal] by [target percentage] on [social platform] by [timeframe/deadline] to [purpose]”

If you want to set a stretch goal, you might want to try Google’s favorite goal-setting framework, OKRs. Unlike SMART goals, OKRs are meant to be ambitious and not 100% achievable. OKR stands for:

  • Objective derived from the question “where do we want to go?”
  • Key Results determined from the question “how will we pace ourselves to track whether we are getting there?”

Here are some great examples of social media goals and metrics you might want to use for your business.

Having clear goals will help you plan and execute your social media strategy, track your progress and make smarter decisions.

2. Understand your target audience

Knowing who you’re creating content for and where to post it, is key to social media marketing success.

For example, 65% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. So if you’re a small business that sells products to an older customer base, posting photos on Instagram may not be the top priority for your business.

There are two main ways to categorize your audience: through demographic or psychographic segmentation.

Demographic segmentation is a way of categorizing your audience through ‘tangible’ factors like age, gender, location, and socio-economic status.

Psychographic segmentation, on the other hand, classifies audiences through more ‘intangible’ factors like values, beliefs, opinions, and interests. Essentially through their personality.

From these pieces of data, you can combine and create what’s called a buyer persona or to put simply, a representation of your ideal customer, complete with rough income level and shopping behavior patterns.

For example, say your target consumer persona is a rational buyer in their mid-20s.

Based on this information you might want to post more factual, informative content. For example, polls and encouraging customer reviews on social platforms like Facebook can help your customers make a decision.

But if your target consumer is in their mid-20s and is an impulse buyer, you can post using scarcity tactics like, “Sale ends tomorrow!” posts on your Instagram. You can even further add an urgent call to action by posting on your stories — which disappears in 24 hours.

In short, putting together a buyer persona is a great way to improve your social media efforts and make better strategic decisions.

3. Pick the right social media platform

Now that you know who your target audience is, it’s time to pick a social media platform.

There are lots of social platforms out there and each one serves a different purpose to a different audience.

Facebook, for example, is home to 2.4 billion monthly active users with the average user being around the 40-year age mark. However, new stats show that users 65 years and over are becoming the fastest growing group on Facebook.

Users on Facebook typically ‘follow’ or ‘like’ business pages or groups because they want to receive updates on new products and promotions.

So when posting on this platform, make sure that you use an engaging but informational tone with your audience.

Instagram, on the other hand, boasts 1 billion monthly users with over 500 million using their Stories feature daily. It is the go-to platform for users aged 34 and below and is very popular among marketers.

It’s clear to see why Instagram is a must-have for most businesses. According to the platform, 90% of users follow at least one business account. About 72% said they have purchased a product through Instagram, either through ads or shoppable posts.

Twitter is one of the first social networking platforms out there and focuses on microblogging, or, ‘tweeting.’ It has 336 million monthly active users of which 550 million tweets are posted per day.

A vast majority of Twitter users are millennials or Gen Z-ers aged 18-34 who tend to be more ‘engaged and curious’ than other platform users according to their own website.

Twitter users spend 26% more time watching ads than on other leading platforms. Due to this high engagement rate, 53% of users are likely to be among the first to buy new products from companies.

While users on other platforms follow business accounts for product updates and promotions, Twitter users also follow businesses to have conversations with them.

From asking and answering customer concerns to giving real-time feedback, Twitter is a great platform for casual two-way communication between you and your audience.

As a small business, you should focus on having the best or strongest social media presence on just one or two platforms.

A great way to start is to take a look at which social platforms your competitors post regularly on, or have the most successful engagement with their audience.

Recommended reading: How to Create a Facebook Business Page: A Comprehensive Guide

4. Stay consistent with your brand

In a world flooded with thousands of businesses on social media, your posts need to stay consistent with your brand in order to thrive.

A brand is what makes your company or service unique. To make your company’s brand successful, think about these elements:

  • Company name — you want your brand name to be memorable. Keep it short, sharp, and sweet, and if you can, relate it to what you do or who you are. Great examples include Spanx, Disney, or Netflix.
  • Logo — you can think of your logo as the ‘face’ of your company. Customers are likely to remember your logo first, then your name, so choose a good one.
  • Brand slogan — a slogan is a short, concise, and usually catchy statement that summarizes what your company does or what it can offer. McDonald’s slogan, ‘I’m lovin’ it,’ and L’Oreal’s, ‘Because you’re worth it,’ are prime examples of what their brands promise to deliver to their customers.
  • Website and socials — having a cohesive online presence is important to establish credibility. Just take a look at how a professional site and social page can determine your first impression of this Swedish stationery company.
  • Tone — this is the way in which you communicate with your audience on your website or social media. Your tone will depend on your business or industry. For example, a university would likely have a formal tone, while a fast-food restaurant can have a more conversational tone.
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5. Build connection and boost engagement

Consumers of today are increasingly concerned about the businesses they’re supporting, so communicating with them is crucial to building trust and loyalty.

While it’s true that over 50% of sales come through social media, consumers primarily go onto social platforms to have fun and socialize.

With 71% of consumers being more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media, it’s important to make sure your content reflects your audience’s needs.

A good guide to follow is the 80/20 rule where you post 80% informational and entertaining content, and 20% promotional content.

Not every business is the same, however, so use this rule as a rough guide.

If you need some inspiration on how to balance informational, fun, and promotional content, here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Ask for feedback — if you have a new product coming out, you can invite your audience to let you know what they think about it.
  • Increase user-generated content (UCG) — encourage customers to post a photo with your product and tag you. Then re-post their photos to show your appreciation.
  • Rewards — you can reward customers and collaborate with other small businesses with giveaways and contests. These are extremely popular among audiences and can expose you to new customers just by participating.
  • Be responsive — more customers are taking to Twitter and Facebook to get support. In fact, 71% of Twitter followers now expect a response from you within an hour.
  • Use different features — use Instagram Stories to show a more fun side of your business with behind-the-scenes segments. Or use Facebook Live for product launches and real-time Q&As. Posting polls, quizzes, and stickers to your socials are also especially successful with millennials.
  • Use emotive language studies show that positive social media content that invokes awe, humor/wit, and amusement yields the most likes and shares. People want to share entertaining content with each other, spur reactions, and show friends they have great taste.
  • Humanize the experience — customers want to know that there is a human behind the account, not just some automated content robot. Showing who you are, telling your story and using everyday language with emojis and GIFs can increase engagement by up to threefold.

The great news is, social media success doesn’t necessarily depend on how many followers you have.

In fact, being a small business may even give you an advantage as you can give your audience personalized attention.

6. Use social media analytics

Evaluating your activities on social media is vital to help you figure out which types of posts work and which don’t. It will help to ensure you are on track to achieving your social marketing goals.

Luckily, most social platforms have free, built-in analytic tools to help you track your progress.

There are four main types of analytics you should be looking at depending on your goal: awareness, engagement, customer service, and, of course, return on investment (ROI). To help you get familiar with analytics, here are some basic terms:


In order for consumers to trust you and buy from you, they first need to know who you are. The metrics below help you measure your current and potential audience, whether you decide to use organic content or paid promotion:

  • Reach — this is the number of unique people who see your post.
  • Impressions — this is the number of times people see your content. Impressions are typically at a higher number than reach because even if a user sees the same post or ad twice, it still counts as two impressions.
  • Organic — this is content you did not pay to promote.
  • Paid — this is content that you paid to promote, a.k.a. ads or sponsored posts.


Social media engagement refers to how your audience interacts with your content on the platform.

It’s measured by metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and retweets.

For timed social media campaigns, it can also be determined by how many followers use your hashtag or repost your content.

Engagement rate is measured by the average amount of likes, shares, and comments on your latest posts. It is divided by the number of followers you have x 100. A good engagement rate for small businesses depends on the industry but is anywhere between 0.8% to 4%.

Using hashtags as part of your campaign increases your potential reach and engagement. A great example was Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign.

It prompted mass participation from consumers. The picture of Selena Gomez with a personalized coke even became the most liked picture on Instagram at the time.

When creating content, keep the audience sentiment in mind. It is the overall mood of your audience towards your brand.

It analyzes the mentions, tags, and comments of your post and determines whether it’s mostly positive, or negative. Knowing your sentiment can help you inform and adjust your marketing strategy if needed.


Possibly the most indicative measure of your progress on social media. ROI helps you see how your marketing efforts affect the bottom line.

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) — measures how often people click on your call-to-action link on social media.
  • Cost-Per-Click (CPC) — determines whether your sponsored post was worth the spend.
  • Conversion rate — measures how many conversions or successful purchases were made from social media.

7. Automation tools and professional social media managers

Social media marketing alone can be tough, especially if you’re just starting a business and there are other things you need to focus on.

However, it’s very important to post regularly and engage with your audience. If your social media accounts will be silent for extended periods of time, you’ll simply lose your audience’s interest.

Luckily, there are plenty of automation tools out there to help you create good content and post straight to your audience on the social platforms that you use.

Let’s take a look at the types of automation tools out there:

  • Lead generation — tracks how many people visited your page or website and collects their data.
  • Social listening — this tool helps you know what people are saying about your products and your brand on social media. This tool helps figure out audience sentiment.
  • Content creation — these tools can help you from the idea generation stage right to the content creation stage, all based on what’s trending and recommended for your specific industry.
  • Scheduling — with tools like CoSchedule, you can schedule content to be posted weeks in advance.
  • Monitoring — often used as a prerequisite for social listening, these tools help gather information and keep track of key social media metrics like mentions, hashtags, competitors and trends.
  • Analytics — these tools measure how well a social media campaign is going and how it relates to your goals.

If that doesn’t sound incredible already, these content automation tools can be completely free to use.

For example, the graphic design tool Canva, or Zyro’s AI content generator to help you publish great content for your website and socials.

AI content generator

Depending on your own business needs and your budget, you can also get reasonably priced plans for premium services so you can deliver the best content without breaking the bank.

Now if you’re ready to take your social media game to the next level, you might want to hire a professional social media manager.

Social media or content managers monitor and overlook all social media activities of a brand.

From building an audience and customer service to executing campaigns and analyzing content – a good manager has the know-how to use social media strategically in order to achieve your business objectives.

However, depending on their experience and how intricate your social marketing plan is, they can set you back anywhere from $25 to $200 per hour.

If you don’t think you’ll have that much work to hire a full-time social media manager, you can enlist the help of social media agencies.

Social media consulting agencies are dedicated and professionally trained to help businesses manage social media presence across all platforms, increase brand recognition and customer base, and do so in strategic and tactical ways to help you achieve your goals in no time.

These agencies are particularly skilled and experienced in capturing your brand voice and dealing with competition in your market to help you come out on top.

Agencies nowadays typically charge per campaign project and can range from $15 per hour for a consultant with 1-3 years of experience to $120 per hour for someone with a proven track record.

Wherever you are in your social media marketing journey, it’s important to understand that if you want your business to truly flourish on social media, you may have to fork out some money.

So set aside some budget so that you can make your life easier with automation tools and social media marketers.

Recommended reading: 13 Best Time Management Apps to Level Up Your Organization

So What is Social Media Marketing and Why Do I Need It?

Social media marketing is a great tool to grow your brand awareness and engage with your audience.

It helps businesses be discovered and reach a larger audience through five main pillars:

  1. Having a clear, actionable and measurable strategy.
  2. Publishing valuable content that meets consumers needs and expectations.
  3. Connecting to an audience by listening to and engaging with them in a genuine way.
  4. Analyzing results in order to improve and make better decisions to achieve goals.
  5. Growing the brand with social media tools like advertisements.

There are 3.8 billion users on social media in 2021, and thousands of businesses online. Social media is not an option anymore. It’s an essential tool to be a true player in the game and be a competitor in your market.

With our top 7 tips to achieving the pillars in mind, here are five benefits that social media marketing can bring to your business:

  • Increase brand awareness — social media is a great arena for people all over the world to discover your brand.
  • Humanize your brand — when customers can see what your business stands for and who you are, you’ll gain their trust, respect, and loyalty in ways traditional marketing strategies can’t quite replicate yet.
  • Generate leads — loyal audiences will support the businesses they are following. You can turn this support into conversions and repeat customers.
  • Cost-effectiveness — with all this being said, you can essentially start social media for free. And posting sponsored ads on Facebook can start from as little as $2.50 per day.
  • Keep improving — social media gives you access to inspiration, audience interaction, and you can even take a look at what your competitors are doing. You can use all this information and built-in analytics to improve your strategy so you can keep improving and growing for your audience.


In this article, we’ve given you our best tips about social media for small businesses.

Let’s quickly recap:

  1. Define your social media marketing goals with clear and strong goal-setting frameworks like SMART or OKRs.
  2. Understand your target audience to help you make the right decisions by developing a buyer persona with demographic and psychographic data.
  3. Pick the right social media platform for your specific audience so you can achieve your goals.
  4. Stay consistent with your brand to improve recognition, and build trust and credibility for your company.
  5. Build connections and boost engagement with your audience by doing things like using different features on each social platform, and listening to what your customers have to say.
  6. Use social media analytics, particularly around awareness, engagement, and ROI to help inform your strategic decisions and pivot your plan if needed.
  7. Use automation tools or hire a professional social media manager to take your business and social marketing to the next level.

We hope this article has been useful in helping you with your social media journey.

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Martina is an expert in writing about website building and eCommerce, but her real passion is helping others grow their small business online. From solid branding to punchy marketing strategies, you can count on her for the best growth tricks. In her spare time, Martina loves nothing more than a good scoop of ice-cream and a sweaty match of tennis.

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