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Social media guide for small businesses

You're a small business owner. You have a thousand things to do every day. You have to oversee marketing campaigns, sell your product or service, and manage a team. The thought of taking time out of your day to post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn is exhausting. But your customers expect to see your company on social media. Plus, it’s a way for you to interact with your customers and build brand awareness.

In fact, social media marketing is more important than ever. The average person is exposed to more than 5,000 marketing messages per day—a 10X increase in the last 50 years. Additionally, a person will consume an average of 10 pieces of content before deciding to buy. Valuable social media content cuts through the noise and helps your business stand out from the competition and gain trust with your customers.

The question is: how do you get started?

We’ve been there. That’s why we put together this step-by-step social media guide for small businesses so you can begin your social media marketing journey today—without losing your sanity.

Here’s how you can develop a social media marketing strategy

1. Define your goal

Before you begin, it’s essential to ask yourself, “What’s the goal?” Your social media strategy depends on your business goal. If your goal is to improve your online brand process, you need to post on multiple platforms several times per week. If your goal is to become a thought leader in a certain space, you will focus your social media content on your proven track record and providing valuable industry advice. If your goal is to market a new line of products, you will focus your social content on how your products solve a problem for your customers.

2. Research your target audience

Once you’ve determined your goal, it’s time to take a look at your target audience. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what content you produce if no one wants to read it. Ask yourself, “Who is my audience? What problem can I solve for them?” Research them. Put yourself in their shoes. Figure out what makes them tick. Create customer personas. Your North Star is your audience. For example, Third Door’s audience is business owners and entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses. That means all of our content is focused on teaching you how you can grow your business using social media marketing.

3. Choose your social platforms

When starting out, we recommend you select 1-3 of the below social media platforms:

Instagram: Instagram is a major social media platform, especially for the millennial generation. This platform is highly visual, featuring images and videos exclusively. The Instagram Story feature is also an effective way to frequently connect with your followers. You should choose this platform if you are ready to invest time and energy into building a cohesive brand.

Facebook: Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform. It’s an ideal platform for direct-to-consumer businesses looking to connect directly with their customers. For business-to-business organizations, Facebook is a way to promote brand awareness and employee engagement. In addition, Facebook’s advertising tools are easy to use for beginners.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the king of business social media. If your business involves thought leadership or business-to-business sales, you must post on LinkedIn. You should connect with other experts in the space, invite them to follow your business page, or even create a LinkedIn group where you can share content related to your expertise.

Twitter: Twitter is one of the largest social media platforms—and for good reason! It’s a great palace to discuss niche topics as well as direct-to-consumer brands. But you’ll have to be brief. Twitter limits you to just 280 characters.

4. Create the social media content

Now that you know who your audience is, where to reach them, and how you can help them, it’s time to create your social media content. For many, this is the hard part. The trick is to just start. Decide on 3 content pillars. These are types of content that you want to frequently post. Examples include blog posts, thought leadership articles, product information, third-party articles related to your business, employee features, and inspirational quotes. The goal is to publish information that solves a problem for your audience.

5. Publish the content

With your content in hand, you’re ready to push out your content on your website and your social media channels. You can streamline your content publishing by using a content calendar and a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite. Remember, the most important part of your social media strategy is to so that your brand is at the top of your customer’s mind!

6. Measure success

This is where things get really fun. Once you publish your social media content, you can start measuring success and seeing what your audience responds to. What are people clicking on? What are they engaging with? The results might surprise you. Implement a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) tracker to see how the different content you put out compares over time. Then, double down on the type of content your audience likes and nix the content they don’t engage with.

7. Experiment

With your social media marketing strategy underway, you can now begin to experiment with new strategies and campaigns to see what works best. Try a social media giveaway or a pay-per-click campaign. Sign up for content marketing newsletters (like ours) to keep new and fresh ideas top of mind.

8. Get started today

By now, through our social media guide for small businesses, you know that you should be building your business’s online social media presence. How can you get started today?

Do it yourself

You can build out your social media marketing strategy for free by using the Third Door process outlined above. However, creating your own social media content is time-consuming, plus it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for your business.

Hire an in-house social media manager

Hiring an in-house social media manager is another way to start growing your business’s online brand. However, increasing your headcount can be expensive. Plus, your hire might not perform well or they might jump ship once you’ve invested in training.

Hire a social media marketing agency

Hiring a social media marketing agency has proven advantages:

  • Increased reach for your business: Hiring a social media agency with a proven track record will increase your brand’s exposure.
  • Expertise: Working with professionals will guarantee higher quality content, updated content, and unique campaigns. This means you’ll spend less time spinning your wheels while trying to get results.
  • Turnkey service: A social media agency will manage all your social media needs, saving you time and energy every single day.

Looking for support beyond our social media guide for small businesses? Check out Third Door’s monthly social media packages. Third Door’s franchise owners are top university students who are smart, hard-working, and reliable. You get a social media expert dedicated to your business. And you help a deserving student pay for school and learn entrepreneurship.

Open the Third Door today!