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February 24, 2021

8 Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Small Business

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that everyone knows how much ecommerce has boomed just in the past year. With more people online than ever, now’s the time to boost your social media marketing and take it to the next level. Whether your social media presence is good, eh, or no bueno, brand awareness is important if you want your business to be successful, and social media is the best place to start. Let’s look at a few ways to grow your small business using social media.

1. Know your audience

I’m telling you, your audience will not be the same on every platform. Without knowing who your target audience is, you could be spitting out content that doesn’t even interest them. It’s wasted time on your hard work and wasted time for your followers, which could lead to an unfollow. Think about your brand and products – who do you cater to? Pulling these demographics together will help you identify who your audience is and which social networks they interact with most (more on this later). If you’re trying to grow your business, you need to grow your audience – start by getting to know your followers so they’ll want to get to know you.

2. Find your brand’s voice

Probably one of the most challenging things to learn and might take some time, but I promise you’ll figure it out! Personally, this was one of the hardest tasks for me. It seems so easy, but you have to learn how to consistently speak (or type) in your brand’s tone on every one of your social channels. Figure out what your brand is like – fun? Hip? Serious? What are your company values? How do you want to come across to followers and prospects?

Also, be prepared to change up your messaging when posting on different social platforms. Just think of how different Twitter and LinkedIn are, as an example, even their character count is completely different. The same content could definitely work for multiple channels but that doesn’t mean the messaging will too. 

Just remember that you’re a human (I hope) and not a robot, so make sure to sound like one when posting on your social media.

3. Create an editorial calendar

Staying organized and planning ahead is a MUST to keep your social media platforms consistently interactive. Start by researching blog posts, webinars, and courses on how to create a social media strategy. You’ll need to have a plan because this is more than just writing 280 characters on Twitter. Next, set aside time to focus on creating shareable, high-quality branded types of content, such as videos, articles, case studies, weekly posts, (ex. #TestimonialTuesday, #ICYMI, #EmployeeAppreciation) and more.

After creating a calendar full of content, strategically add it to your social media scheduling platform so you’re not relying on publishing posts manually. You’ll always want to be prepared for ad-hoc posts, but don’t plan on creating your social post content the day-of or before it’s scheduled deployment. That could lead to mistakes, lack of engagement, and poor results.

4. Run paid ads

Paid ads are your new best friend. Start out by tracking your top performing social media posts to see which one can get a little “boost.” They’ll help increase brand awareness, generate more engagement, and drive more traffic to your site.

Story time: I actually fell victim to a paid ad recently, which was a date box company subscription that I’ve never heard of. I was intrigued because it was perfect timing for Valentine’s day, the continuous indoor dates, and as always, the great marketing (I’m truly a sucker for some GREAT marketing and branding).

If it weren’t for their paid ad popping up on my Instagram feed at that moment, I would’ve never purchased from them. You just never know when someone’s going to see your ad, especially at the right time. But this also doesn’t mean that you should start paying for boosted ads on every platform you’re on. Review your analytics and see where you’re thriving most. Maybe you have more of an audience on Instagram over Facebook – you can try paying more for Instagram stories/reels/ads and bring down the quantity of paid campaigns you have for Facebook. Experiment, review, learn, then run it back!

5. Use metrics to measure effectiveness

This can be so time-consuming, especially when you want answers right away. Studying your social media analytics could take weeks and sometimes months to fully understand how your content is resonating with your followers. I’m someone that once I have ideas about something, I want to execute those plans ASAP because I get so giddy thinking about the outcome, especially when it comes to social media. What if my idea that I’m so proud of doesn’t get the love I’d hoped for? Why didn’t it? What if it eventually skyrocketed our engagement rate as time goes on? Why would it? That’s the power of social media analytics – reports that show you all the goodness, as well as where you’ll need to make improvements. Checking your metrics can tell you a lot, just make sure you’re using the ones that matter most to your brand. The proof is in the puddin’!

6. Invest in the right channels

I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m not sure if you already knew this…but…not all social media channels are the same.

*MIC DROP* 

But really, this means you shouldn’t plan to post the same thing on every single channel, which also means your company might not belong on every single social media site. Remember when I mentioned knowing your audience? Now that you’ve met them, where do they live on social media? Did you create content curated to them? How are the existing traffic and engagement reports coming along? I know it seems overwhelming, but there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right channels for your brand. Once you’re ready, pick your channels.

7. Leverage influencers

We now live in a time where influencers can literally take your brand from 0 to 100. How many of you have been influenced by some sort of celebrity to purchase something? I’m guilty, I admit it! To be fair, consumers find it way more personal to get feedback about a product from an influencer who engages with their followers. It’s someone they trust. They want an honest opinion over a traditional ad that always says how amazing that brand’s product is. Start researching top influencers in your brand’s niche and try partnering with them. If you want to boost your reach, engagements, or even your brand in general, there’s probably no better way than this.

8. Monitor your accounts daily

Last but definitely not least, always monitor your social media accounts. It’s always a great feeling to see praise from your followers but unfortunately, that won’t always be the case. Sometimes you’ll receive negative feedback on your channels. It’s important to publicly reply with the best customer service so that your followers (who could also be potential customers) are aware of how quickly you’re able to handle the situation.

Hot take: Create a plan and process for handling these types of situations ahead of time and always make sure to be communicative with your team. Is there specific messaging in place for how to respond? Do you know your next step for getting this resolved? Are your team members aware of this process too, so they know what to do/prepare for? Also try putting yourself in the customer’s shoes – how would you want an issue to get handled? 

Conclusion

Social media plays a huge role in every company’s marketing strategy – whether it’s big companies that are maintaining their brand or small businesses who are trying to grow theirs. Investing in social media marketing for your brand is crucial. Trust me. 
Now, I may not be an expert since I’m still learning the do’s and don’ts, but isn’t that what a social media marketer is all about? Constantly learning new trends, figuring out which metrics actually matter, and forever researching how you can improve your social media strategy. Start from the top – create a social media account (or a few) for your brand, try out these 8 tips, and I’m sure you’ll see improvements for your business.