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23 Insightful Tips On the Best Use of Social Media for Small Businesses

11 Mins read

To help small businesses maximize their social media presence, we’ve gathered twenty-three insights from Founders, CEOs, and other industry leaders. From hosting interactive “Ask Me Anything” events to focusing on niche-targeting and community building, these experts share their top strategies for leveraging social media effectively. Dive in to discover the best practices for your business.

Host Interactive “Ask Me Anything” Events

For small businesses looking to make the most out of social media, hosting an interactive “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) event can be a great way to engage with your audience in real time and build a meaningful connection. These events provide an opportunity for business owners to directly answer questions from their followers, making it easier to build trust and engagement over time.

The success of such an event depends on how well you plan and promote it ahead of time. Make sure you announce the session on all your social media platforms with plenty of lead-up time before the actual event.

Luke Kowalski, Founder, Watch Binge Repeat

Track Social Media Activities to Sales

If you are going to use social media as a small business, you should find ways to ensure you can track your activities to sales. Social-media management can take years to have a return on your investment, so if you are going to spend your limited resources on that marketing strategy, you should think of ways to use it that drive immediate sales.

Justin Silverman, Founder and CEO, Merchynt

Document and Share Business Activities

We document and share the things we do at our small home-improvement business, and it has resulted in an incredible increase in brand recognition within our local community. Because we share genuine content that includes our unfiltered thoughts and the challenges we face, we have found that customers who have seen our content trust and feel connected with us even before we do anything to help them.

We were worried that our content would be unappealing because we did not use a professional camera, but that was not the case. Customers do not care about the video quality; they only care about the substance within the content, as long as it does not look like it was made a decade ago. Smartphones nowadays can take photos and videos that are nearly indistinguishable from those captured on expensive cameras anyway.

We have seen a many-fold return on the combined 30 minutes we spend each day creating and posting content, and I would highly recommend every small business does it too!

Zames Chew, Co-Founder, Repairs.sg

Be Authentic on Social Media

In navigating the social media landscape for small businesses, I’ve found that being authentic is the secret sauce. Instead of treating social platforms as mere promotional billboards, I approach them like vibrant town squares where genuine conversations unfold. It’s more than just showcasing products; it’s about sharing the story behind each creation.

Through integrating our social media presence with the quirks, challenges, and triumphs of our everyday business life, we’ve created a virtual storefront with a welcoming, human touch. It’s similar to having a conversation with customers across the counter, building relationships that extend beyond transactions. Social media becomes a living, breathing extension of our business, resonating with people who appreciate the personality and passion behind the products.

The insight here is that, for small businesses, social media isn’t just a megaphone; it’s a two-way street for authentic connections that breathe life into your brand.

Stuart Bensusan, Business Development Director and Owner, Surewise

Follow the 80/20 Rule on Social Media

Audiences don’t follow brands for their advertising. While highlighting your offering is important, small businesses need to follow the 80/20 rule to truly make an impact. In this case, it refers to 80% value and 20% promotion.

Focus the majority of your content on providing valuable, relevant information, entertaining content, or solving problems for your audience. This positions your business as a helpful resource rather than just a sales pitch.

By sharing industry insights, tips, and engaging stories that resonate with your target audience, you build trust and credibility. This makes your promotional messages more impactful when they do appear. It’s a strategic dance of giving before asking, fostering a genuine connection with your audience.

Jess Rodley, Director of Operations, Dialed Labs

Craft a Relatable Brand Story

In my experience, the most helpful use of social media for small businesses lies in weaving a narrative that goes beyond just products or services. In contrast to bombarding audiences with sales pitches, I’ve found success in crafting a relatable and authentic brand story. Through sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses, highlighting the faces behind the business, and celebrating milestones, I’ve been able to humanize the brand and establish a genuine connection with customers.

Social media becomes a dynamic storytelling platform where the essence of the business isn’t confined to what it sells but extends to the people, passion, and purpose behind it. This approach not only builds customer loyalty but also transforms the business into a living, breathing entity that resonates with the audience on a personal level, ultimately driving sustained engagement and growth.

Nicholas Tate, Owner, Council Claims

Expand Customer Horizon via Social Media

Companies that are most successful today use social media to expand their horizon for potential customers in the future. We now live in an era that is governed and ruled by social media platforms. That is because the newer generations are connected to social media platforms. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are vying for the attention of the consumer base, so the way to stay alive during this hot market is to have personnel focused on social media marketing.

As a small business owner, my focus is selling Chinese 50cc scooters and 50cc scooter performance parts. So, I have to dial in my use of keywords by marketing through these outlets and reach the community around me and abroad. So, my advice would be as follows:

  1. Take time and research which social media platform will work best for the product or services you are selling. Some products are better marketed through Facebook Marketplace than Instagram.
  2. Make small videos for YouTube to drive more content.

Matthew Mccray, CEO, Hot Street Scooters

Humanize Your Branding on Social Media

Be human.

If you are a small business on social media, one of the best things you can do to stand out is to humanize your branding. Ditch any corporate script or hard selling, and instead, connect on a personal level with your customers.

As a small business, one of the main advantages you have is being able to really know and let your customers know you. AI is already becoming part of our everyday lives, and the last thing people want is to feel like they are talking and interacting with just another robot. Prioritizing authenticity in our social media strategy has not only helped my agency but also countless clients we’ve taken on.

Jessica Barzler, Owner, Barzler Social

Use Polls and Surveys for Feedback

Using polls and surveys to gather feedback from your audience not only helps you understand your customers better, but also engages them in decision-making processes. I find polls via social media platforms to be much more effective than email marketing campaigns, as they appear on your audience’s feed. This makes it easier to interact with, and most consumers like to give feedback when it’s quick and convenient. For a small business, this feedback is integral, and asking your audience can also help to build up your community of loyal customers.

Renan Ferreira, Head of Communications and Director of Sales, RealCraft

Repurpose Existing Posts for Consistency

While using social media, small businesses mostly focus on crafting creative and unique content to attract and engage their target audience. As I have observed, this results in an inconsistent digital presence on social media channels. Also, with an overdue focus on creativity, small businesses often neglect the potential benefits of repurposing their existing posts.

For example, repurposed posts on social media can be a great asset for small businesses. They can easily incorporate them into their social media content calendar to maintain a consistent online presence for maximum reach, saving time and effort. This not only ensures consistent content deliverability on social media channels but also helps small businesses reach a wider audience using various formats such as infographics, videos, or even blog posts, among others.

Besides consistency and wider outreach, repurposing existing posts on social media is a cost-effective and efficient way to attract leads.

Shivansh Bhanwariya, Founder and CEO, Shivansh Bhanwariya Digital

Leverage Instagram Shopping for Engagement

In my role, I’ve discovered the remarkable potential of social commerce for small businesses. For instance, when we integrated Instagram shopping with our content, showcasing our tarot decks and reading services, engagement and conversion rates soared. Unlike traditional ads, this approach felt more organic and interactive. Customers could explore our products through stories and posts, tapping directly into our shop.

This personal, seamless shopping experience boosted our sales and strengthened our connection with our audience. It’s a vivid example of how social media, when used creatively, can be a powerful tool for small businesses to grow their market presence.

Talita Moraes, CMO, Tarotoo

Promote Products with Informative Content

You can effectively promote your product across various social-media platforms by creating engaging and informative videos/photos. The key is not just to convince people to buy your product, but to show them how it can genuinely benefit their lives. It’s akin to sharing your personal story, demonstrating how your product has made a positive impact.

Social media provides an ideal platform for this approach, as it allows you to reach and connect with a vast audience. By sharing video content that highlights the real-life benefits of your product, you can capture the attention of thousands, or even millions, of potential customers.

Nick Eischens, COO, Popl

Maintain Constant Presence on Social Media

Small businesses understand that social media is part of their marketing campaigns today. As a business and technology expert, I know about many ways in which small businesses can optimize social media platforms to cultivate their brand. 

Maintaining a constant presence on social media platforms is the best way for small businesses to use social media. Success in social media requires time and patience to grow your presence. You should ensure every post is accompanied by your brand and image. However, many companies lack consistency in their postings due to assigning many people to post on their social media. 

It’s vital to limit the number of people posting content on your platforms as a way to bring a consistent personality to your posts. Automation tools can also be effective in saving time and enhancing your presence in networks you cannot reach.

Jack Vivian, Chief Technology Officer, Increditools

Demonstrate Authenticity to Stand Out

There are a lot of small businesses that use social media to post ads, but one of the best ways for them to use it is to demonstrate their authenticity. Keywords like “Is Brand Legit?” get a lot of traffic because so many marketers are creating fake business profiles. A small-business owner can share a lot of information, such as video clips, that’s easy for them to obtain and proves the business is authentic.

Eric Novinson, Founder, This Is Accounting Automation

Use Social Media as a News Hub

For my small business, social media acts as a mini-news hub. We share updates, new products, and special deals. It’s a quick way for people to see what’s new without needing to visit our website. This keeps our customers informed and excited. They often share our news too, which helps even more people find out about our shop. It’s like having a community bulletin board online where everyone can see what’s happening with us.

Adam Hawke, CEO, Myrtle Beach Home Buyers

Leverage Business-Networking Groups on Social Media

One insight on the best use of social media for small businesses is to leverage business-networking groups within social media platforms. By sharing updates, exclusive offers, and engaging content, members can drive traffic, increase brand awareness, and potentially convert group members into loyal customers. Additionally, using social media platforms to target specific demographics, run targeted ads, and collaborate with influencers can further expand the reach of a small business.

Loren Nelson, Co-Founder, H Superstore

Bridge Audience to Website Content

Mainly, we use our social media to bridge the audience to our new content posted on our official website. Our social media posts mainly consist of a summary of a featured article on our website. We add a link to the article as well. 

We also use social media to post relevant facts and trivia related to our business. It’s a way to interact with our customers. For example, we can post how an upcoming trend is being adapted to new financial models, and then ask our clients what they think about it as we also provide our insights.

Siva Mahesh, Founder and Finance Expert, Dreamshala

Focus on Engagement Over Volume

One key insight for small businesses utilizing social media is the power of engagement over sheer volume. Instead of spreading resources thinly across multiple platforms, choose one or two where your target audience is most active, and focus on building strong, interactive communities there. 

Engaging with users through comments, messages, and posts creates a loyal following and can turn customers into brand advocates. A personal touch, responsiveness, and consistency in these interactions are paramount for success. This approach can lead to higher conversion rates and a more personable brand image.

Mark Van Putte, CEO, Huge Supplements

Use Social Media for Direct Communication

Social media is great for talking directly to customers. Small businesses can use it to quickly answer questions and fix problems. This shows everyone that the business really cares about its customers, which can make people even happier with the service. Plus, when other people see this good service online, they might want to become customers too.

Jeremy Resmer, CEO, Value Land Buyers

Create a Distinct Brand Personality

Brand personality is something that most consumers look for when it comes to the content created and shared by small businesses. In a crowded marketplace, having a distinct brand personality sets your small business apart from competitors. It helps you stand out and be memorable in the minds of your target audience. This differentiation can lead to increased customer loyalty and preference, and simply makes it easier for customers to recognize you and your content. 

A brand personality that reflects authenticity and transparency can build trust with customers. When people trust a brand, they are more likely to make purchases and recommend the brand to others. You can create a brand personality with social media by making content that resonates with your audience and sets you apart from others.

Stipe Petričević, CEO, Master Charter

Turn Social Media into a Portfolio

If you’re a creative company, you’ll see the best results from turning your small business’s social media page into a dynamic online portfolio.

Showcase your best work through visually appealing posts, relaying the quality and uniqueness of your products or services. You can make your presence even more impactful by telling the story behind each project and making it a visual journey that not only markets your offerings but also narrates the passion and craftsmanship behind them.

This ensures your social media presence goes beyond just sales — it becomes an immersive experience, inviting potential customers to follow your journey and ultimately avail your services.

Marc Bjerring, Co-Founder, Spivo

Boost Metrics with User-Generated Content

TeamUp leveraged user-generated content on our social media platforms. We’ve worked with boutique gyms and gym startups who’ve shared testimonials about how our cloud-based calendar solutions have positively impacted their businesses.

We then took these testimonials and posted them across several social media platforms. This strategy not only validated our product but also built a sense of community among our users. The result was astounding—we saw an increase of 37% in user engagement and a 20% increase in new subscriptions. So, my insight is: never underestimate the power of user-generated content on social media. It’s authentic, relatable, and can significantly boost your business metrics.

Laia Quintana, Head of Marketing and Sales, TeamUp

Focus on Niche-Targeting and Community Building

One insightful strategy for small businesses to maximize their social media impact is focusing on niche-targeting and community building. Small businesses often benefit from honing in on a specific audience segment and creating content that resonates deeply with that group. This approach fosters a strong, engaged community around the brand.

In my experience, a small business I worked with shifted its focus to a niche market in sustainable living. By consistently posting content relevant to this specific interest, including tips, industry news, and behind-the-scenes looks at eco-friendly practices, the business saw increased engagement and loyalty from a dedicated community of eco-conscious consumers.

This experience underlines the effectiveness of niche-targeting in social media strategies for small businesses. By speaking directly to a specific audience’s interests and values, small businesses can build a passionate and engaged community, leading to stronger brand loyalty.

Ram Thakur, Founder, Solution Suggest

Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Featured, a Q&A platform that connects brands with expert insights.

Small business stock image by ESB Basic/Shutterstock

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