small business social media

The Beginners Guide to Small Business Social Media Marketing

It takes a few minutes to create a Twitter account for your small business. It’s just as easy to create a Facebook page or Instagram account too. These issues are easy; the challenges are in creating an active, engaged following to eventually turn into loyal customers.

Online audience engagement should be a top priority for any business, regardless of size. In this article, we share a few ideas on how to make your social media strategy more efficient and effective.

Build a good rapport with your followers

According to Sprout Social, more than 50 percent of consumers (across all age demographics) follow a small business before purchasing a product. Therefore, your small business‘s content can make or break a customer’s decision to conduct business with you.


Many businesses approach social media as a one-way street and inundate their potential consumers with transactional messaging in efforts to drive sales. To remedy this, companies must think [about the] customer first … to determine what the consumers would want out of their relationship on social, and work from there.

Sprout Social also says 60 percent of baby boomers look for promotions on social media. As you’d expect, customers become disappointed seeding through an array of tedious promotional content without any type of discount to be found.

Prioritize one-on-one customer communications

If a customer reaches out to you on social media with a question, don’t let it go unanswered, especially for more than 24 hours. Sprout Social says 30 percent of millennials engage with a small business on social once a month, which means your interaction has the potential to make an even larger impression – either negative or positive, on your small business social media.

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While crafting an individual response takes time, it’s all part of providing top-notch customer service in a timely fashion. Writing up a promotional post can wait if it means getting a customer the answer they need, said Andrew Caravella, vice president of strategy and small business engagement at Sprout Social.

The expectation is that, just like email, telephone and even in-person interactions at brick-and-mortar locations, customers want and need to be acknowledged on social networks.

That ability to be seen and heard, in turn, works in favor of marketers, because people are actually much more receptive to small businesses that take the time and effort to answer their queries on social [networks].

Small businesses should indeed allocate customer service resources to the platform where their customers are most vocal, but they shouldn’t let that attention compromise effort on another channel.

Know and own your small business voice

Social media experts often talk about defining your small business‘s voice. This means finding a tone and personality that suit your small business, its mission and its values, and making sure all of your social media posts embody it.

A common mistake I see is when a business tries to go beyond their natural small business voice and try to be funny or edgy [about] current events.

Oftentimes, this small business social media tactic totally falls flat and does not align with a business‘s overall small business. The best small businesses on social media have a voice that is authentic to who they are and who their fans perceive them to be.

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Companies need to be very careful about this; otherwise, they risk alienating their customer base.

Don’t use slang language in marketing messages, especially when it doesn’t fit the audience. Businesses should speak the same language as their audience.

Focus on a few channels to curate a special community

New social networks and apps seem to pop up all the time, but that doesn’t mean your business has to be on every single one of them. It’s better to have a well-executed, active presence on two or three social networks than a mediocre presence on each popular channel.

Sprout Social reminds small businesses that every generation is now on Facebook, so small businesses should prioritise their presence on that network above others.

Being on social is about building a community. If you’re just getting up and running, pick a network or two that best fit your audiences, and devote time and energy to cultivating a community on those networks.

Rather than unattended profiles and scattered responses across your small business social media, customers will appreciate the dedicated efforts, communication will persist, and your organic following will grow.

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Lauren Clarke

Lauren is an experienced freelance writer, content manager, word wrangler and fine wine aficionado.

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