When does it make sense for a small business to invest in social media

4 Minutes Read

Social media: the watering hole for individuals and businesses to come together and share endless amounts of social and video content - at least, that's what it seems like. It's no secret that the social media environment has become very saturated throughout the years. These days, social media is prime real estate. With over 3 million users of various social networks, it can be difficult to create a social media strategy that leads you to establish an effective social media presence - especially as a small business.

So, how do you differentiate yourself and stand out from the everyone else? Let's look at it this way, if we calculated correctly, 3 million people equals a whole lot of opportunity for potential customers to become more familiar with your branding and social media content. Who knows, establishing an effective way to run your social media could ultimately lead to increased website traffic, conversion of more potential customers, and positive reviews. Plus, in the age of the Instagram influencer, anything is possible.

Small business owners, we know what you're thinking. You already have a lot on your plate when it comes to digital marketing efforts and small business marketing as a whole; is investing in social media really going to give you the ROI you hope for? We'll give you a hint, a confident "yes" is the answer we're looking to hear from you. We're here to teach you how knowing your "why", setting a realistic budget, and establishing the expectation that social media is a long-term play will set your small business up to uncover the best way to succeed on social media as a small business owner.

Know your "why" 

The first step to investing in social media is recognizing where your goals lay. Try to find your "why". Why do you want to get involved on social media anyway? Are you looking for leads? Are you hoping that brand awareness will increase followers and grow your customer base? Is your goal to make sales to potential customers? Maybe attract new hires? Whatever your goal is, there are different strategies and social content to be created for each. You're going to want to set some social media goals to be sure you'll reach social media users that match your target audience who will eventually become new customers - loyal customers if you’re lucky.

Knowing your brand purpose can help you establish what types of content are best to share. Since putting out relevant content is key to attracting your target audience, it's also a good idea to hop on the internet and conduct a competitive analysis to see what your competitors' marketing efforts look like on each app. In this way, you can determine which hashtags to use and learn what makes up great content (and not so great content). If your goal is to master the art of content marketing, figuring out the balance between creating too much and not enough content, establishing your brand purpose, and doing market research can give you a better idea where that sweet spot should be.

Set a realistic budget

Setting a digital marketing budget for your social media presence is a great way to help you be more realistic in identifying where you can afford to spend your money on things such as social media ads. Different social media channels are more affordable than others when it comes to promoting your ads. For example, ads on Twitter are likely to be more affordable than ads on Facebook or Instagram. Knowing the cost per social platform can help you create a budget perfect for your marketing strategy.

Investing in a content scheduling tool for your social media accounts such as Sprout Social or HubSpot is an effective way to help you not only stay organized on each social media platform, but put a visual in front of you as to where you're spending money on ads. Each platform offers different metrics and analytics so that you can track which visual content performed well and which need some touch ups.

Establish the expectation that social media is a long-term play

To put it simply, if you're looking for a quick win, social media and paid ads just aren't it. Instead, social media efforts are a long-term strategy. Think of it as similar to email marketing or customer service in terms of longevity and importance in your overall marketing strategy. While social media can't exactly follow the same customer journey as email or customer service, you can use different marketing channels to create content to attract all types of audience.

Since social media is becoming a long-term strategy for your business, let’s dig a little bit deeper into paid ads. Lots of small business marketers are utilizing paid ads on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Pinterest to help get their brand name out there and increase brand recognition. Chances are, it can benefit you to do so as well. Paid ads on social channels are similar to Google Ads in the sense that you are paying for a piece of your business to be shared with the world, except instead of on search engines, it's on social media. It can be daunting to know where to start when it comes to paid marketing efforts. If you've done some research, feel free to jump right into it. If you haven’t quite gotten all your research completed, don't be afraid to start off small. You could begin on Twitter by promoting a tweet of your blog post or something along those lines. It’s good to test things out so that you become more comfortable with the platforms. The goal is to be here for the long-haul, so you’ve got to start somewhere.

Now you know why it makes sense for your small business to invest in social media and set up a home for it in your marketing strategy. Setting up the right plan with the right people is the best approach to social media marketing for any size business with any budget. If you're feeling a bit lost as to how to create a social media strategy that works, we've got you covered. We'd be happy to share techniques for each social media marketing channel, so set up your discovery call with us today to get started.

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Stephanie Milne

Stephanie is a digital marketer passionate about storytelling and content creation.