Ultimate guide to small business marketing

Channels

Social media

Social media channels are excellent outlets to utilize to engage with your customers and continue to build your brand. Your customer will always be your most important audience on any social media platform.

Before you get started, know your audience and do your research about which social media platforms will be the most effective to reach your target customer. If a social media platform is not a fit for your target customer, your time is likely better spent elsewhere. For example, research has found that Pinterest is largely used by women. If you are marketing a male-focused product, it may not be necessary for Pinterest to be a significant part of your social strategy. The platforms on which you choose to engage should work together to achieve your overall social media goals.

Tips for getting started

Plan ahead. Build out your content calendar for the upcoming week or month for each channel. Having a clear content plan in place helps create a picture of the types of content you have planned and your overall messaging. It can also help you stay on track with your goals. From day one, establish a strategy for how often you plan on posting and stick with it. The strategy should strike a balance between posting much too often and overwhelming people, and posting so infrequently that users could potentially forget about you. Many social media platforms allow you to schedule posts in advance, which can help keep you on track with your posting plan.

When developing your content, focus on creating things that your customers will be most likely to engage with and share. Get creative with the types of content you are posting. Whether it be an image, a video, or a shared article, your end goal should always be user engagement. When considering what to post where, remember that all social media platforms are not created equal! In addition to tailoring your message for your target customer, you should also be tailoring for the specific social media channel that you are posting on. Through trial and error, you will be able to figure out which types of content work best on each platform. It can be helpful to look to similar brands’ accounts for inspiration as to what has worked well for them.

Keep in mind that an effective social media strategy is a big time commitment. Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Confirm that you have the time and bandwidth to maintain and be active on all of the social media platforms you choose to engage before you get started.

Metrics that matter

Depending on the social media platform you’re using, you’ll want to track different metrics to help gauge the level of user engagement. For any type of social post you will want to track the number of likes and shares you’re receiving. If that number is low, you’re not resonating with your target audience and should rethink the types of content you’re posting. In some instances, the goal of your post will be to drive customers to your website. Installing Google Analytics on your site will allow you to track all traffic coming in through social media.

We’ve included some tips on how to get started with the most commonly used social media platforms. While these are the most commonly used channels, depending on your industry it may also make sense to get involved in more specialized social networks (Inbound.org, Houzz, etc.) For example, Houzz is a platform for home remodeling and designs that brings together homeowners and home professionals. If you’re an interior design business, Houzz would be a good fit.

Tips on how to get started on the most commonly used social media platforms

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Facebook

What should I post?

Any content relevant to your business—photos, videos, articles.

How often should I post?

Post new content as often as twice a day to stay visible on your followers’ newsfeeds.

Tips for success

· Encourage customers to like your page to stay in the know.

· Use Facebook as a platform to build relationships with your audience. Engage with them by asking questions to start a conversation and responding to comments quickly.

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Instagram

What should I post?

Photos and videos of your products, services, and employees. Keep text to a minimum, as this platform is intended to be driven by visuals.

How often should I post?

Aim for once a day. Post less than that and you might get lost in the feed. Post more than that and your followers might feel spammed.

Tips for success

· Use hashtags. Users can filter their feed by hashtag, which can lead to new followers.

· Be social. Follow accounts similar to you. Like and comment on posts. This can help reach new followers.

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LinkedIn

What should I post?

Business-focused content with a more professional tone.

How often should I post?

Limit to one post per day maximum.

Tips for success

· Include a link back to your website in posts when possible to drive traffic.

· Encourage your employees to create and maintain profiles to help build your business’ presence.

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Pinterest

What should I post?

Mostly photos, but don’t make it all about you. Pin a healthy mix of your own products and other related items to build your brand’s personality.

How often should I post?

Pin as often as you see fit, as long as the content aligns with your brand’s personality.

Tips for success

· Organize your pins in boards to help Pinners seamlessly navigate your content.

· Link pins of your products and services back to your website to drive traffic.

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Snapchat

What should I post?

Photos and videos of products, services, and employees. Give followers a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

How often should I post?

As long as your content is fun and engaging, snap as often as you’d like. Since posts to your story only live for 24 hours, keep a steady stream of content coming to keep the story alive.

Tips for success

· Be creative! Take advantage of all of the fun lenses and features. Use geofilters, draw on your photos, and have fun with it.

· Create custom filters for events and encourage attendees to use them on their snaps.

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Twitter

What should I post?

Post pictures, videos, articles, and even retweet content you believe is interesting and relevant to your business.

How often should I post?

Post several times a day, but space your tweets out throughout the day so you’re not overwhelming followers.

Tips for success

· Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so the small message you are sending must be impactful and to the point.

· Use hashtags. By hashtagging particular keywords, your tweet can fall into a list of what is trending and is therefore more likely to be seen.

Channels

  • Set up your social media business pages
  • Fill out the basic information, making sure it’s consistent and accurate across all channels
  • Upload a high-resolution version of your logo to use as your profile picture
  • Follow, like, or connect with 50-100 users or businesses on each channel. This will encourage them to follow you back, helping to establish a follower base
  • Plan out and, when possible, schedule your first month of content to include a variety of types of content like images, videos, and relevant articles to share
  • Determine a KPI for each channel to measure performance
  • As your follower base grows and users begin to interact with your posts, stay on top of them and make sure you’re commenting back, liking posts, etc.