Step-by-Step Social Media for Small Businesses & Start-ups

By | October 12, 2016
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Are you new to social media and have your own business?

Here are some easy steps to get you going and make social media work in your favour.


If you haven’t used social media for business before, try to look at it as a more effective Yellow Pages or business directory . Back in the day traditional marketing like this was the only way to go, but it can be a drain on your funds. Luckily nowadays this is not the only way to go, social media marketing is pretty low-cost and gives you a direct line to current and prospective customers.

Now if  you’re resources  are limited, but you’re willing to put in the time and learn how to establish and build your brand using social media, this guide will show you how…

1. Do Your Research

Strategy, strategy, strategy. I can’t say that enough. Any effective social media efforts starts with a good strategy.

To connect with your audience you must come across authentic. To do this, you have to understand your current and potential customers.

This starts by defining your audience. Identify you perfect customer avatar by knowing their  age, gender, interests, profession. Write this down and find images that represent your target audience.

Next, have a solid message based on your defined target audience. What are the key problems or concerns you can address or solve? You should then expand on and define these pain points for each character and write it under each profile.

For example: Problem – ‘Our customer’s tend not to have the time to  cook healthy foods’ Solution – ‘[Your company name] will strive to post content about quick, easy healthy meals’

Below that, write down key marketing messages you want to communicate to that audience, two or 3 should be fine.

basic online marketing for small business

The next step is to identify your audience and message, take the time to   find out which social networks they prefer. Where do they hang out online?

All social media channels are different. Each one has a   different type of primary audience and focus. It’s important to understand the differences so you can maximise your efforts where needed most. One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make in the beginning is trying to use every social media platform because they think they should.

2. Integrate Your Social media efforts

Another rookie mistake that small business owners make is treating social media as a stand-alone effort. If you do, your success will be limited. Your networks and all your other marketing efforts like events, speaking engagements, printed marketing materials etc, should all be uniform to help you achieve your goals. All sectors of your company should be working in harmony. If you are planning to do social media yourself, let all your other employees know or be aware of what you’re plans are on social media so that you are all on the same page.

Your website is your brand’s base. Social media efforts should aim to push people to your website where they can buy your product or service.

Use your blog to establish your brand’s voice and share useful content. It’s also a great opportunity to engage with your site visitors and lead them through your sales funnel.

Use social media then to leverage your website and blog

Your Growth Checklist…

If you are planning on having visitors follow your various social profiles, then display social icons prominently in your header or sidebar that link directly to your profiles making it easy for readers to be able to follow you immediately.

Make sure a call to action (CTA) at the end of your blog posts asking readers to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter (or whichever platforms you have found are best for your audience).

Add your live social media feeds on to your website so visitors can see your recent activity. Your readers are more likely to share your content and more likely to follow.

Sharing buttons should be on all your post (newsletters, blogs, videos etc) ensuring that your content is share-friendly. Remember, the easier you make your content to share the more likely your readers will.

3. Ready? Start Small

Don’t fall at this hurdle. Social media is a gradual process; avoid losing your vision by starting with a manageable workload. I suggest you choose one or two platforms to start with.

To remain consistent create a daily check list, make time on your calendar each day to do this, and dedicate time to managing your social media accounts. On average you’ll find yourself dedicating at least 15-20 minutes a day on social activities.

Keep those audience profiles and sample messages at the forefront of your social media activities. Use them to determine your objectives for each day and why you are posting.  Remember to share original and curated content, a good editorial calendar will help you to keep track of that and ensure you keep  a good mix of content at all times.

you readers need to find you useful, so give them help they can use and share – content that can help them solve a problem. When you give out relevant information, people come to view you as an expert.

Another great tips is to use social media management tools like  HootSuite  that offers monitoring, scheduling and analytic services. Klout is another cost-effective tool that helps you find and schedule content and track social media performance.

4. Engage and Listen

Conversations on social media- are happening all around in real time. its important to join in with those conversations as much as possible in order to know what your customers are saying about you. Respond to comments, mentions and feedback. Even when feedback is negative this is an opportunity to turn that negative around.

Google Alerts is a great tool for monitoring your mentions online, also most of the major social media channels have very effective search tools for mentions, check out Twitter Search .

Another stumbling block many SMBs and Start-ups struggle with is finding good content; endless internet searches can be slow and time-consuming.

Use tools such as Feedly  to organise and aggregate quality and up to date content that gives value to your audience.

Social media strategy

5. Your Daily Plan

Now you have enough places to curate content and and have a plan of engagement make a list of the activities you plan to do every day. For example, comment on and/or link content on three different  Facebook  pages. On  Twitter , tweet and retweet 3-5 times per day  these can be scheduled on you social media management tools.

If you’re using  Pinterest , pin and repin 3-5 images per day. If  LinkedIn  is the best platform for your audience, share a link and like other people’s links.

The next step is to,   join groups and communities to target specific audiences.   Create and engage in more conversations by asking questions and posting comments to updates by others.

Personalise your brand by welcoming new followers, thank them for sharing your content.

Above all, be intentional about your social activities. Success isn’t about chance, it’s about strategy and tactics.

6. Give Your Efforts a Boost With Social Advertising

Explore paid advertising options. Facebook offers amazing  advertising solutions  to help with sales, website traffic, brand exposure and audience engagement.

If Twitter is one of your main platforms, you have  two great advertising options , you can promote your content and promote accounts.

LinkedIn  also offers opportunities to reach specific audiences: paid advertising or  the  sponsored updates  feature to increase your brand’s visibility.

Even if you have a small bus get, don’t dismiss social advertising. Used strategically it can produce great results.

7. Monitor Your Efforts

Your last step is vital!  Monitor your results.

Tracking your performance is the best way to identify what is working and what is not. Growth, engagement and sharing are the best areas to watch.

Most social media networks have tools you can use to track and measure your performance. check out Twitter Analyics and Facebook InsightsGoogle Analytics  is also a popular option for monitoring traffic and interactions on your website or blog. Use these tools to keep track of which social media channels are driving the most traffic to your site.

Review your metric reports regularly (monthly) and make adjustments for anything not working, and try to recreate the things that are.


Remember if you are a startup or small business social media is a marathon, not a sprint.

Use this  guide to help with your social marketing efforts. Identify your audience and choose the best platform to reach them. If you do your research, integrate your social media,  share your, and others’ content, keep track of how things are going and be  consistent! Or if you prefer to take the easy route hire a social media manager who can do it all for you.

Best of luck!
Feel free to comment, share and like! We also welcome any questions or feedback – let us know what you what to learn about next…
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4 thoughts on “Step-by-Step Social Media for Small Businesses & Start-ups

  1. Alex Misan

    Wow, you can’t believe how much value I’ve found in your post. I think you’re definitely on point here, as social media has become one of the most effective online marketing channels, being able to reach millions of people with your content.
    Thank you for helping me understand better the benefits of using social media to promote my business.

    1. Lou Post author

      Well I’m glad it helped. Hope you’ll be able to use SM to your advantage going forward.

      Best of luck 🙂

  2. Chris

    I constantly see people getting their social media marketing campaigns wrong…..and just creating noise in everyone else’s timeline!!!
    People just seem to throw any old advert up there and hope for the best – this will never work!
    This step by step guide is an excellent resource – I will share it myself to my timeline! 🙂

    1. Lou Post author

      So glad you found this helpful, and I could agree with you more!

      Thanks Chris.


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