Social Media Strategy for Small Business

Social Media use and Social Media Marketing (SMM) for businesses can be difficult to manage and produce effectively.  This situation is easily compounded for small businesses. It is our opinion, here at BartenMEDIA, that there are three (3) main categories of social media participants: individuals/personal brands, small businesses, and large businesses/corporations. Small business social media marketing is far and away the most difficult category to navigate and create for effectively. 

Individuals & personal brands are likely the easiest form. Essentially, you are marketing to your friends, family, and other like-minded people who believe in your vision, brand, product, service or whatever it may be you publish via the social media platforms. Your audience is easily captured and engaged as they already have a vested interest in you and your message.

Marketing large businesses and corporations via social media is not as easy as a personal page or personal brand, however these firms have the benefit of scale. Large businesses and multinational corporations have teams of talented people and budgets which allow them to constantly create, revise and implement multi-faceted marketing and advertising strategies which gain notoriety and create awareness, if via no other method outside market saturation. 

Smack dab in the middle of these two categories is the small businesses. If successful, the business is large enough that it has lost that personal feeling that allows a personal brand strategy to be effective, yet the firm is not large enough to afford the large team of talented people and budget to reach the scalability of a large corporation. To put it in simpler terms the business has lost the sexy, niche, rooting for the underdog, start up appeal of a personal brand, but does not have the size to ‘brand’ effectively and naturally stand out from a crowded field of competitors.  

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is hard, and being a small business can often magnify this problem 10x based on the constraints for most firms this size. As a small business owner, or small business manager, time is your most valuable asset. Often the business owner or manager spends their time on pressing issues that seem to creep into everyday.  Perhaps this is putting out operational fires that occur day-to-day, becoming caught up in personnel issues, or dealing with the ever growing burden of federal, state, and local government regulation or agencies that impact small business on a seemingly never-ending basis. Often what happens, people end up working “in” their business, instead of “on” their business.

When small businesses get busy, marketing and advertising are the first tasks to be eliminated. However, ‘busy’ is the time you need marketing and advertising the most. As your business grows, often does your payroll, necessary supply requirements, and other general costs of doing business. While we all welcome the increase in the top line, once this begins we have, as small business owners and social media marketers, to immediately begin sprinting to make this level of performance the new normal. Once the snowball starts rolling, it gets bigger and bigger. Your job as the entrepreneur and/or marketer is to make sure there is always enough hill to roll down and no big trees in the way. 

How do we accomplish this by marketing? In this case, specifically social media marketing. However, we need to take it one step further.  Social media marketing for small business. Social media marketing is a quick, easy fix to get and keep your name out there, but it can also be difficult to navigate and apply successfully.  Here are the tips and tricks:

First, people don’t buy products or services.  People buy people. In 2020, there are enough large corporations and huge franchises that easily come to mind for almost anything a consumer may need.  Tell your customers why they should choose you. A few reasons may include the fact that you are local to their community, perhaps you live in the same town or neighboring city.  Your firm is big enough to provide the customer the service or product they need, but still small enough to provide the peace of mind knowing the owner will be involved and accessible throughout the process.   

You’re involved in the community. Your children go to the same schools, play on the same teams. Your social media profile and strategy doesn’t need to always be an advertisement. In fact, most often it shouldn’t be. Post a picture of the little league team your business sponsored over the summer.  Share a video of you or your employees volunteering for a local cause. 

To provide a real life example, one of our clients, were able to utilize their large truck to help a woman battling cancer move a basketball hoop from one location to another for her children. This task was organized via a local charity, Stomp the Monster ( through a local Facebook group. After completing the task, our client received a glowing post of appreciation via Stomp the Monster, which they were able to share with their local friends, family and followers. Obviously our client did not do this for recognition or gratitude, they did it because they thought it was the correct thing to do, however it did end up working as a great social media marketing tool.

Second, tell your stories. People do not often engage with advertisements or commercials.  People engage with stories. Do you have a funny story from earlier in the day that others might relate to?  Post it, share it. Write it down, attach a photo or two. Better yet, record what you can. Videography and video sharing is a growing trend on all social media platforms right now.  Do not be afraid to put yourself out there, be the face of your company. You are what your customers want. Everyone wants to talk to the boss, everyone who is considering utilizing your offering is yearning to learn more about you. In the current digital marketing age, no one makes a hiring or purchasing decision without a quick Google search, Facebook review or Instagram scroll. 

A friend recently shared this via LinkedIn, and it applies nicely here. It is a post from Steve O’Dell Co-Founder, CEO at Tenzo. We don’t know him personally, but we like his insight. Think about what he has to say  and where you fit in versus where you would like to fit in.

“Have you ever heard of the 80 / 19 / 1 rule? It’s the most powerful rule on social networks. Ignore at your own risk. It goes like this: 

80% of people CONSUME content, 19% of people are on the fence. They comment, maybe post once in a blue moon, then there are the 1% – these are the drivers that CREATE all the content for everyone else.

This is the single most important rule to grow your personal brand or network. Post often. Post consistently. And lastly, be surprising. It’s a choice that we can ALL make, no matter our circumstances or social standing. Don’t let the society put you in place, tell society where you want to stand. And stand tall! Create! The world needs you.” 

Steve’s insight is exactly the type of mentality you need to have when you are looking to promote your small business. You are a small business, not a big business (at least not yet), you need to recognize your strength. Share your stories, demonstrate why you are different and who you are.

Lastly, share your knowledge.  Demonstrate your passion and let followers, friends, viewers or watchers learn from you and your teams. Sometimes you cannot help and make a plug for your product or service, and that is okay, but create content that demonstrates your knowledge and delivers value to your customers.  Even if you are giving away a few ingredients to your secret sauce, that is okay. Many, if not most, will realize while listening to you talk, or reading what you’ve written that they are far better off sticking to what they are good at and hiring your service or buying your product, because obviously you know what your doing.  

What may seem like a minutiae to you, may be a big question or someone not familiar with your craft. Think about that. As entrepreneurs, business owners, business managers, people who have to make decisions on a daily basis, how many questions do you struggle with?  No need to answer, we know the answer. Create content, publish videos, write a blog or film a vlog, the secret is to do it consistently and thoughtfully. If you can do that great, if you can’t do that, find someone who can. Your customers want to hear from you, they want to know you, and most importantly they would like to spend money with you, give them a reason, or better yet, give them hundreds of reasons. Each post, share, like, tutorial, PSA, sponsorship and good deed helps!

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