How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Small Business

Erin Michie Creative Director at Creative Growth Agency

Erin

Creative Director

Be honest, do you use social media to grow your small business? Or does the mere thought of using social media make you want to howl?

Sure, it’s a no-brainer that social media is essential to growing your online presence as a small business. But every time you blink there seems to be a shiny new platform just waiting for you to weep over (no exaggeration). 

You’re already stretched thin running a business, to be trying to figure out your engagements from your conversions, your Stories from your Lives, the difference between reach and impressions… 

It’s overwhelming, we hear you. 

But what if we told you that it doesn’t have to feel like that? That you can easily harness the power of social media to grow your small business organically? No, we’re not barking mad. 

By being strategic about how you use social media, you can skyrocket your reach and results as a business, delivering value and staying true to yourself, all whilst achieving the time freedom you deserve. 

So grab a cuppa (or something stronger), get comfy and let’s dive in.

Step One: Be smart about your social media strategy

The secret to social media success is relevance. Sure, there are a lot of social media platforms out there and it’s tempting to join every single one to maximise your audience. But it won’t be effective if the audience you’re reaching isn’t relevant to you and what you sell.

Because they won’t be the kind of people you want to be a part of your community, and they won’t give you those coveted conversions. 

Being present on every platform won’t mean diddly-squat if you’re not getting in front of your ideal customer and blowing them away with your stellar content. For one thing, that’s a whole lot of precious time and energy wasted!

Instead, take a step back and evaluate each platform and what it can do for your business. Ask yourself: 

  • Does my ideal customer use this platform? 
  • If so, how do they use this platform? 
  • Does my product or service even suit this platform? 

Above all, ask yourself if you really enjoy using the platform for your business. Does it come naturally or does producing content for this platform feel like pulling teeth? 

There’s no quick way to grow your business on social media. It takes time, dedication and consistency. If you find yourself dragging your feet over a particular social media platform then consider putting it to bed for now. You’re far more likely to create authentic relationships with your customers if it comes naturally to you. Remember, quality over quantity is key. 

So do a little bit of digging and find out where your audience hang out online. Certain demographics are more active on Facebook and Instagram, for instance, in comparison to Twitter and TikTok. Discover which social media will work best for you.

Step Two: Don't reinvent the wheel

Content feeds the social media machine, but how do you keep up with it all? By working smarter, not harder. You need to offer value and consistency across platforms, but that doesn’t mean you should reinvent the wheel. Keep it simple. Use the resources at your disposal.  

What we’re talking about here is repurposing old content. We promise it’s not cheating. For example, if you have an archive full of brilliant blog posts on your website that set you up as an expert in your industry then don’t let those blogs sit there and gather dust… maximise its full potential!

One single blog post can be turned into an infographic that highlights your most compelling points, which can then be shared across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter (just make sure you get the dimensions right for each platform). Video footage could be edited into Stories, Reels, Video Pins… you name it. 

This ingenious tactic breathes a new lease of life into old content, encourages further engagement with your audience, drives traffic to your website and helps you stay consistent across your social media platforms. 

But it doesn’t have to stop there. Your content doesn’t need to be all about your business. Turn your platforms into a powerhouse of valuable and relevant content in your niche by linking to and sharing other expert resources as well as your own. This will help establish your brand as an authority in your industry and you will become a go-to source for trusted information. Pretty neat, right?

Step Three: Optimise your website for social media

Social media is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website and grow your online presence as a small business, but it’s also a two-way street. It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking about the content that you put on your platforms that you sleep on building your existing brand authority on your website. Not a good idea!

Remember those utterly brilliant blog posts you had? The ones that show you really get your ideal customer and provide solutions to their pain points? Make sure they’re easy to share. 

It seems dead simple, right? 

Having something as basic as prominent social buttons on your website encourages your audience to share your content which means instant free publicity for you!

Let’s say you’re a dog groomer who has some amazing tips on how to keep a poodle’s coat in tip-top condition. Or perhaps you’re a vet with expert knowledge of elderly feline nutrition. Inviting your audience to share your nuggets of wisdom at the click of a button or a Click to Tweet feature will get your content in front of new people you might never have reached otherwise. 

It’s a sure-fire way to boost brand engagement and get people talking about you and your business. Not bad for brand awareness!

Step Four: Use social media to learn from your competitors

Social media is a great way to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to and monitor their performance. It’s not just for “keeping your enemies closer”, as the saying goes.

Study how your competitors interact with their audience. Figure out what’s working for them and what isn’t, to gain inspiration for your own strategies. To be clear, we’re not saying you should copy your competitors. What works for them won’t necessarily work for you too. 

Instead, learn from them. Use competitive analysis tools to improve on their mistakes and evaluate tactics that they’re better at than you. Monitoring where you stand with your competitors is a great way to keep on top of your industry and identify areas you need to improve on. 

Competitors don’t have to be your enemies on social media either. 

… Get ready for a lightbulb moment… 

…If you have gaps in your products or services, you could team up with a small business that offers what you’re missing and vice versa. That way, you can both grow your businesses at the same time.

For example, if you’re a dog trainer you could collaborate with a small business that sells dog training and behaviour aids, offering exclusive prizes and giveaways on social media. 

This will not only promote your services but also increase your audience reach and skyrocket your engagement rate as potential customers interact with your brand in the hope of winning. Genius, right? And you won’t be stepping on each other’s paws! 

Step Five: Build trust with your customers

We’ve spoken a lot about how social media can be used to market your small business, but it goes much deeper than that. 

Here’s one word to take away from this entire blog: trust. 

If your potential customers don’t have trust in your business, then they won’t buy from you. It’s as simple as that. If you do social media well, you can nurture your customer’s trust and transform them into dedicated fans. 

So what’s the key to unlocking this gold mine? It’s simple really. Show that you’re human. No, it’s not a trick. Your customers want to know the people behind the products or services you sell. 

According to Sprout Social, a whopping72% of consumers feel connected to a brand when employees share information about it online.” So, use your platforms to share the behind the scenes of your business. 

Celebrate wins, share milestones and encourage your followers to feel like they’re part of your journey. Get in front of the camera, show your face and let your personality shine. 

You could even take it a step further by drawing your audience’s attention to values that are important to you and your business. Take the time to listen to them and unite them on causes close to your heart. It will help them feel both understood by your brand and loyal to your business. Growth will follow. 

So there you have it. These are the keys to unlocking your social media success. 

To quickly recap: don’t try to conquer every social media platform. Be strategic and work out where your ideal customer is. 

Your competitors are not your enemies. Keep them close, learn from them and when it suits, consider joining forces with them.

Don’t try to reinvent the content wheel. Concentrate on becoming a value powerhouse that will make you a go-to expert in your niche. 

Above all, if there’s one thing you take away from this and implement today, let it be staying true to your authentic self as a brand. Your customers want to know the real you and what you stand for. 

To go back to Sprout Social again,67% of consumers believe brands should raise awareness around social and political issues on their platform.It’s now not enough for brands to sit back and twiddle their thumbs. Consumers expect them to lead and unite. 

Feeling daunted? Yup, we get that. You don’t have to try and change the world. Listening to your audience, raising awareness of matters close to your values and being true in your actions is a solid start.

Sure, social media can be divisive, but it’s also a space to build communities and have meaningful conversations. If you leverage your platforms beyond the products or services you sell, you will naturally build strong relationships with your audience and your business will grow.  

Something for you to think about at least. And on that note, we’ll leave you with one final question: 

How are you going to use social media to grow your small business?

Reach out and let us know, as we’d love to hear from you! Or simply get in touch to spitball ideas for your social media strategy with us today.