social media marketing for small business

social media marketing for small business

social media marketing for small business is no easy feat. It seems like most social media platforms are saturated with content these days.

And you never hear that the “algorithm” is making it easier on businesses, right?

In order to succeed on social media as a small business, you need to go in with a plan in place.

So, today we’re sharing the top 15 inexpensive ways to not only succeed but profit when marketing a small business on social media. Be sure to follow this step-by-step guide for some free tools!

Let’s get started!

15 Things To Do When doing social media marketing for small business

1. Nail Down Your Target Audience

If you don’t know who your target audience is, you’re not going to succeed as a business- let alone on social media.

Your target audience needs to be two things: specific, and identifiable.

Your target audience is not “everyone.” It’s also not “women ages 35+ in the U.S.” Descriptors like that are still too broad.

The best way to define your target audience is to identify what motivates them as it relates to your product or service. 

Why are they buying your product? Why are they using your service?

Is it to achieve a certain goal? Or to solve a pain point?

Write down at least five goals and five pain points your target audience has in relation to what you offer so that you can find the right people.

This will help you build relationships with your audience and understand exactly who they are and what motivates them to buy from you.

2. Find the Right Platform

Once you’ve got a grasp on who your target audience is, it’s time to figure out where they spend most of their time.

Is it on Facebook? On Instagram? TikTok? LinkedIn?

You don’t want to waste time investing your efforts and resources into a social media platform that doesn’t hold a high percentage of your target market.

You want to choose the social media platform that your target audience spends the most time on.

3. Run a Competitor Analysis

When marketing a small business on social media, performing a competitor analysis has become one of the best things you can do.

This means researching your competitors to see if they’re on social media and if so, how well they’re doing.

You can learn from competitors who are doing both well and poorly. You’ll learn what tactics to implement and which to stay away from.

The reason it’s good to run a competitor analysis is because you share a target market. Paying attention to what’s working well for them will tell you what your target audience likes and dislikes.

You should let this guide your social media marketing strategy.

4. Create a List of Content Ideas

Your list of your target market’s goals and pain points as well as your competitor analysis should inform the type of content you intend to create.

You don’t want to create content that’s about you. You want to create content that’s about your audience.

Posts that are centered around how great your business is will garner less engagement than posts that speak directly to your audience’s goals and pain points.

See also  How to Target the Right Audience and Boost Your Sales using facebook advertising

So, take the research you’ve done up to this point and list at least five topics or content ideas that you think will resonate with your audience. 

After you’ve tested those five content ideas out for 30 days, keep the top-performing topics in your calendar and rotate out the rest with some fresh ideas.

Continue doing this over time to keep your content fresh and your audience following you.

5. Create a Brand Guide

A brand guide is a document that details how all of your content should look. It holds your logo, brand colors, and fonts.

social media marketing for small business

It also instructs exactly when or how to use each of those items and in what combinations.

If you’re not sure how to create a visual branding guide, check out that blog post.

Having a brand guide in place will ensure that your content looks branded, identifiable, and cohesive no matter who is working on your social media content calendar.

Having consistent branding throughout your social media content helps with brand recall among your followers. 

And brand nurture leads to sales.

ALso Read: The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing

6. Post Short Form Video Content


Creating instagram hash-tags has been made easy with this tool @hasanaboulhasan #tiktok #business #entrepreneur #success #digitalmarketingtip #digital

♬ original sound – Somtoko

Short-form video marketing content such as TikToks, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, and YouTube Shorts are the most preferred media type right now.

Short-form videos are getting massive organic reach, and some small businesses are experiencing viral growth as a result! 

What would it mean for your brand to all of a sudden have thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of eyeballs on it?

Posting short-form video content makes that possible. Plus, short videos are better supported by the algorithm than static images now.

If you’ve never used Instagram Reels or Facebook Reels but want to get started, check out those blog posts. If you need help getting started with TikTok marketing, check out that blog.

7. Go Live

In this day and age, consumers care about brand transparency and authenticity. It doesn’t get much more transparent than going live.

Going live means you’ll be filming live in real-time, and viewers will be watching and responding live in real-time.

It makes consumers feel like they can trust and familiarize themselves with your brand in an otherwise filtered and edited world.

If going live intimidates you or if you’re not exactly sure what to go live about, check out our blog on live streaming to help get you started.

8. Post Stories

Most social media platforms now have the Stories feature.

Stories do not consume a permanent spot on your feed, but instead, they remain visible for 24 hours unless you dock them in your highlights.

Stories are another great way to post real, authentic content that remains a little less scripted than maybe your feed posts would be. 

You can also use Stories to content stack. Content stacking is when you use one piece of content to promote your other content.

A lot of small businesses use Stories to announce a new post on their feed, a new YouTube video out, a new blog post, etc.

Posting on Stories often helps break through the algorithm noise and ensures your brand stays in front of your followers often.

9. Create Content a Month in Advance

It’s no secret that small business owners are busy (to say the least).

Entrepreneurs, particularly startups, often have to wear many hats until they can solidify a team to help offload the work.

Save yourself a world of time and stress and create your social media content calendar a month in advance.

Even if you do have a social media manager handling it for you, make sure they produce your calendar a month in advance! 

Doing so ensures that you have content publishing consistently. Out sick one day? Struck with writer’s block? Run out of images to use?

You don’t have to worry about scrambling to push a social media post out the day of.

You already created it and scheduled it a month ago!

Plus, taking care of your content calendar in advance gives you wiggle room to change or edit things throughout the month as needed.

10. Cross-Promote Content

As you grow, you’ll likely start to take on multiple social media platforms if you haven’t already.

Work smarter not harder and make sure you’re cross-promoting your content! Make sure your YouTube subscribers are following you on Instagram and vice versa!


If you post exclusive content on LinkedIn, make sure your Facebook followers know about that!

Cross-promoting is one of the simplest ways to make the most of your follower base on every social media platform.

11. Be Intentional with Your Instagram Feed

Instagram in particular is one of the most (if not the most) visual and aesthetic social media platforms.

Countless businesses and creators are intentional with what their feeds (aka photos and video thumbnails) look like together on their profile page.

The reason is that it’s often the difference in whether you get a follow or not!

Even if your industry is not “artsy,” you can still ensure your feed looks put together and cohesive as opposed to outdated and sloppy.


Using too many stock images, photos that aren’t high resolution or photos of every color under the sun outside of your brand guide will result in an ugly feed.

And an ugly feed does not get followed. So make sure you’re intentional with the way your Instagram feed looks.

12. Use Paid Social Ads

Facebook has been a pay-to-play platform for a while, and other social media platforms are starting to follow suit.

Don’t get us wrong, short-form videos have made it a lot easier to get organic reach on every platform again.

However, a paid ad budget may still be necessary to see more than just followers and views.

There are ad campaigns available that specifically optimize for business online sales or lead form completions. 

You’ll want to take advantage of these campaign objectives to see maximum results from not just your followers, but your target audience in general on the platform.

13. Monitor Your Engagement Daily

The more you grow, the more engagement and lead generation you’ll receive. Engagement is more than just likes, reactions, and shares. It also includes comments and direct messages.

On some platforms, your DMs then break up into separate folders like “Request” DMs vs your already-accepted DMs and so on.

You’ll want to make sure you’re responding to every legitimate comment and DM you receive. If it’s a spammy comment, you can like it or “heart” it and move on.

If it’s an inappropriate comment or DM, you can delete and block it if necessary. For every legitimate message, however, you should be responding to it.

More specifically, you should respond within 24 hours. 

Some social media platforms offer an auto-response feature where followers can at least receive a message that says…

…“Thank you for sending! A team member will follow up with you as soon as possible.”

This is a great marketing automation option for business owners who don’t have a lot of time to answer messages every day…

…because the sender feels acknowledged at the bare minimum while they wait to hear from you.

Either way, you’ll want to carve out time to monitor and respond to your engagement daily.

Half of the appeal of social media for customers is that they have direct access to you as a brand.

If you’re not actively responding to your followers, you’ll likely lose out on them as both a follower and acquiring a new customer.

14. Get Familiar with Your Platform Analytics

Each social media platform comes with its own built-in analytics platform completely free.

Oftentimes, business owners can get lost in the fun and creative aspect of social media, but it’s important to get familiar with the analytical aspect as well.

Analytics will tell you how many followers you’re gaining each month, and of those, what your engagement rate is like.

It’ll tell you when the best time to post is based on when your followers are online and so much more.

When it comes to marketing a small business on social media, you want to let data over “feelings” guide your decisions.

Letting your social media analytics inform your social media marketing decisions will result in smart, profitable moves.

15. Measure Your ROI

Ultimately, you’re marketing a small business on social media because you’re hoping to make money from those efforts, right?

After the first three months of implementing your social media marketing strategy, measure your ROI.

Check Google Analytics and ensure that you’re receiving sales, generating leads or both directly from the social media platforms you’re active on.

If you’re not, you may need to pivot your strategy. If you are, then it may be time to scale and invest more into what’s working.

Either way, don’t fly blindly and continue on with your social media marketing business plan without measuring your ROI.

Make sure your efforts are paying off.

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