Let's face it: social media for small business can be a challenge! But it's also the most fantastic way for small businesses to grow and reach more potential customers. In this article, I'm going to share tips to use social media for small businesses that don't break the bank or take hours of your precious time.
Small businesses can use social media for the following:
- To connect with current customers
- Find new customers
- Respond to questions about their product or service
- Become an expert in their field
- Connect with the local community with geo-location
- Answer questions and become a resource
How to budget your time for social media
Time is short for small business owners so managing your time on social media is crucial. Social media can turn in a huge time suck if you're not careful.
Using some smart social media tools can help but you'll still have to find or create content to share on your social media accounts.
Start with one social media platform and grow from there. Your small business doesn't have to be on every social platform. Figure out who your target audience is and then find what social media platform is the best place to reach them.
You'll need to plan time once a week to schedule some content on social media. This frees up time during the week and reduces the stress of having nothing to share. It also allows for more time for engaging with questions and starting conversations.
Plan to go on social media two times per day in small chunks to respond to questions and have conversations with people. If your accounts are new or not too crazy yet, turn on your notifications so you'll know immediately when someone asks a question.
If you have a few employees, maybe you could rotate social media tasks amongst your staff so it doesn't fall on one person if you don't have a designated staff member.
Use the right tools
As a small business owner — the right tools can be your best friends.
They'll help you get organized and create a method to the madness.
Using the right tools will save you time, money, and a whole lot of frustration. Unfortunately, there's not one social media tool that does everything that you need so you'll need to create a social media tool kit that works for you.
I've tested and tried just about everything out there and these are my favorites:
- Trello – This organizes my social media and blogging life. They have free and gold plan for single users or team plans.
- Buffer – social media management with small business affordability – the free or awesome plan for $10
- Agorapulse – For community management, analytics, reports, and scheduling social posts
- Relay – Super graphics without a lot of fuss. Free 14 day trial with use of all features and then a “free forever version” with watermarked layouts. The monthly fee is $25.
- Canva – free version or Canva for Work $9.95 per month
Two sample budgets for social media for small business
You need a few different types of tools: a way to be organized, a tool for graphics, and a tool for social media management. I've created two different plans to give you an idea of where to get started.
Trello – free
Canva – free version
Relay – $25.00
Buffer – free or $7.00 per month
Social media ads – $10
Ready to rocket:
Trello – free
Canva Pro – $9.95 includes
420,000+ free templates with new designs daily
75+ million premium stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics free-to-use
Agorapulse – $79.00
Social media ads – $15
Where are your customers?
Instead of focusing on the demographic of the customers, you HAVE — consider focusing on the customers you WANT.
That information will tell you which social networks you should be spending time on.
As you learn more about how to use social media for your small business, the social sites you should be on will become almost obvious to you.
If you don’t have a clear understanding of which social networks to be on, I recommend you start with a presence on:
- Facebook (be sure to set up the geotargeting)
- Instagram (excellent for small business)
- LinkedIn (like an international Rotary Club!)
- Twitter (listening to the conversations on Twitter will provide valuable insight)
Once you decide which social networks you'll use — be sure to cross-promote that content in your other online marketing and PR pieces also!
I hope this gives you a few ideas to bootstrap fantastic social media for your small business. The infographic below has a lot more information and the webinar can provide some great actionable steps for you. Good luck with your small business social media!