Using Social Media to Grow Small Businesses

Whether you are starting a tech company, selling homemade candles as a side hustle, or launching a book subscription service, one key factor to getting your business off the ground is marketing. Likewise, social media needs to be one of the primary strategies to grow small businesses. Therefore, potential new customers and clients will find you.

We know it can be hard for entrepreneurs to source funds for external marketing support. Similarly, it’s difficult to find and hire someone internally right away. Taking advantage of free social media platforms is one of the most effective, immediate methods to grow small businesses and engage audiences.

A social media presence is a great way to bring in customers. You may end up getting so much work that you can grow your business substantially over the next few years. If your plan is to steadily grow the business and sell the company, a decent social media following is an attractive selling point. It sets you, and your business, up for success.

How do you start using social to grow small businesses? Follow our tips to begin.

1. Update Account Profiles

This is easier said than done. We’ve seen it happen so many times. You click the link in a brand’s Instagram bio only to be taken to a page that no longer exists. Or the business logos are different across a brand’s social media profiles. Some businesses even change their handle names and forget to update followers about their new names!

Follow these guidelines for consistent, up-to-date, social media bios:

  • Make it clear exactly what you do. Use emojis if appropriate for your business. This helps spruce your bio up and breaks it down nicely.
  • Include location information. For example, are you based in the United States? Do you have a worldwide presence? Share where you’re based and where your services or products may be used.
  • Be playful. Add a little humor or clever puns. People like to see the human side of your business!

These updates place your brand in a favorable light when new customers visit your profile. They will be look for more information about who you are and what you do. Your social handles, fully updated, will provide answers to these questions.

2. Plan Content in Advance

Some businesses are a bit more ‘Instagrammable’ than others. Consider trendy clothing brands and restaurants. They are literally designed to create photo opportunities! If your business has very Instagrammable products, or a cool, vibrant office space, you’re in luck. Visual platforms, for example Instagram and TikTok, will work well for you. Take lots of high-resolution pictures. After that, you always have content to post that engages audiences.

Are you a corporate business? Your content may require more thought. Perhaps you could design graphics with relevant data. For example, consider making infographics.

Are visual platforms just not for your startup? Create in-depth thought leadership pieces for different platforms such as LinkedIn.

However, before you begin creating content you need to get everyone on the same page. Schedule time to meet with the team. Create an editorial calendar for content. After that, you may create and schedule in content that helps grow small businesses.

3. Post Regularly

The last thing you want is to start up all your social media handles and then lose focus and delay posts or stop consistently posting. This causes businesses to lose engagement with their followers. Posting regularly engages audiences. It also brings in new followers and grows small businesses.

The rule of thumb for posting differs depending on who you ask and which platform you are posting on. For example, some platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook prefer lengthier posts. These are recommended for sharing 1-2 times per week. On the other hand, some content creators have recommended posting on TikTok as much as 8 times per day!

That can seem like a lot, especially for a small business owner who wants to focus on going out and making sales. Above all, plan ahead. Make sure you have a decent bank of photos and graphics to post. Using social media scheduling software to help to free up more of your time.

4. Engage!

There’s no point in posting on a social media platform and then leaving the app. It’s like getting on a soapbox to shout about yourself and ignoring everyone who comes to watch and support you. After all, if you’re not creating that relationship with your followers, why would they want to buy from you?

Show your human side. Reply to people in the comments. Follow back, if possible, for your business. In addition, engage with others in your industry. You may say something as simple as congratulating someone on their success or offer your opinion. Don’t just comment with emojis. Create a connection and have inspiring conversations!

Do you find it difficult to find others in your community? Try looking through hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Look up hashtags that are relevant to your business. Seek out hashtags that are frequently used in the #smallbusiness space.

Make sure you use these hashtags on your own posts. Aim for ones that have less than 500k posts as they won’t be as densely populated and the interaction rate tends to be higher. Any more than that and you get lost in the noise of everyone using the same hashtags. You can also ‘follow’ certain hashtags so that you see them on your feed, rather than manually searching for them every day.

Even if these hashtags are not directly related to what you do, their users understand your industry. They may provide mutual support to your growing business. Some of these connections may even become your customers! Above all, this can help you expand and grow small businesses.

Lydia German is a content writer for Hilton Smythe, who are experts in buying and selling businesses. Lydia covers everything from growing a business, how to value it and how to eventually sell it on. They can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.