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    A Social Media Primer for Small Businesses

    Let's go over how you can use social media to grow your small business!

    Social media marketing for small businesses is no small task! There are so many social media platforms that it can be hard to keep your head straight. We work closely with small businesses, and along the way, we help them understand how social media marketing works. That’s why we put this social media marketing primer for small businesses together.

    There are a lot of nuances when it comes to social media marketing. It can be tempting to throw “whatever” out there and hope that it sticks. However, by taking a bit of extra time to learn some basic social media strategies, you may be able to greatly amplify results. And by using the right tools, you’ll be able to cut down on the time it takes to manage your social media campaigns.

    So What’s Social Media Good For Anyway?

    As a small business manager/owner you probably find yourself wearing a lot of different hats any given day.

    In the morning, you might be acting as the CEO, delegating responsibilities and giving your team marching orders. Come lunchtime and you might be the operations manager, smoothing out processes and directing resources. And as the day unwinds, you may find yourself wearing the marketing hat, helping promote your brand and goods through social media and other methods.

    Stressful, right? Whether you’re founding a startup or managing a small brick-and-mortar store, running a small business takes a lot of effort. Social media has emerged as a powerful tool for SMEs, allowing you to market goods and connect with your audience. However, running your social media campaigns will take time and effort.

    Nearly 60 percent of people report that they’re more likely to purchase from a business that they follow on social media. So if you can connect with people via social media, you’ll greatly increase your chances of converting them into paying customers. But if you want to do it right, you have to learn how each platform is used and how best to communicate with your audience.

    It’s easy for social media to fall off your radar. Keep in mind, however, that social media can be used to grow your brand and customer base. In the long run, it can have a positive impact on your bottom line.

    Set Goals Based on Your Funnel

    Okay, so let’s assume you’re committed to using social media. Now what? You need to set goals! And you should do so based on your sales funnel. Setting goals will help you accomplish at least two things. First, you’ll be able to prove to yourself (or your boss) that social media is working. Second, you can use the data and insights gathered to improve your tactics.

    Ultimately, data is vital for just about any digital marketing effort. Without data, you’re left stumbling through the dark. You might get lucky but you’ll be at the whims of random chance.

    Pro-Tip: Don’t be overly promotional. Social media is about building relationships. If you promote yourself and your products too much, your audience will disengage and some fans may stop following your accounts.

    The exact goals you should set will largely depend on your business and industry. Most businesses will prioritize brand awareness. However, while an online business may want to prioritize conversions and direct sales, a college might focus more on gathering contact details so an enrollment officer can contact the student.

    Think about what “conversions” are most important for your business and the many steps you and the customer must take before converting. If you offer Software-as-a-Service, for example, getting the customer’s email address or having them sign up for a trial may both be important steps in their journey. If you can increase trial signups or get more emails, it may help you increase sales in the long run.

    Social Analytics Basics

    Most social media platforms now have analytical platforms built-in. These analytical platforms allow you to measure many different metrics. Let’s quickly look at some of the most common statistics offered on analytical platforms and why you should monitor them.

    • Impressions- How many people saw your post? This helps you determine how much awareness you’re raising.
    • Views- Shows you how many people viewed your page. This helps you determine how well you’re engaging people. Demographics, such as age, may be available.
    • Engagements- How are people interacting with your posts and page? Are people liking a particular comment or sharing a certain post? Generally speaking, the more engaged your audience is, the better.
    • Followers- How many people follow your page or profile? This helps you determine the size of your audience. You want to grow your audience but remember to focus on relevant audience members.

    Most platforms offer tons of different metrics you can use. Further, definitions may vary slightly from platform to platform. You should take some time to familiarize yourself with the various metrics available and should determine which ones are most relevant to your goals.

    Best Ways to Achieve Your Ultimate Goal (Increasing Sales)

    While you’ll likely have other metrics in place, most businesses will tell you that increasing sales is the ultimate goal. So how do you actually increase sales via social media? Give these tried and true methods a shot and then measure your results.

    • Be Responsive- If someone sends you a question or makes a comment that deserves an answer or reply, make sure you get in touch with them as quickly as possible! Simply letting someone know your business hours or prices could net you a sale.
    • Offer Promotions- People like getting a good deal. While you don’t want to constantly talk about yourself on social media, the occasional promotion, such as a discount or sale, can help drum up sales and will get your audience’s attention.
    • Have a Great Sense of Humor- People love to laugh. If you can get your customers laughing, or at least smiling, you’ll increase your connection with them. They will also associate your business with a positive emotion.
    • Educate Your Customers- Providing knowledge is another way to build a strong relationship with a customer. You can teach your audience about your products (just remember not to be too salesy), and also about your industry and other relevant topics.
    • Offer Great Visuals- A picture can be worth a lot of words! Good visuals will draw the eye and get people to pay attention. Once you have their attention, you can use the above strategies to convert them into paying customers!

    Use the Right Tools to Manage Your Accounts

    If you follow the above advice, you’ll be well on your way to building an effective social media strategy. Consistency will be vital for results. And one way to help ensure that you remain consistent is to use the right tools that will make managing your social media accounts easier.

    Perhaps the best social media tool for a small business owner is a social media dashboard. This dashboard will allow you to manage every social media account in one place. You can log into the dashboard and manage your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other accounts.

    This way, you don’t have to log into individual accounts. A dashboard can help you save time and will usually allow you to quickly and easily schedule posts.

    Another great tool is a chatbot, which can answer simple questions from customers, such as your business hours. Chatbots will help you be more responsive while also reducing your workload.

    Ultimately, you want to reduce the resources used up by your social media efforts while increasing results. You can achieve this by implementing the above strategies and using the appropriate tools.

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    Social Media

    Matt Stephens

    Co-Founder & CEO of OnePoint Rewards

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