It’s pretty safe to say that most small businesses are already using—or at least know they should be using—organic social media. However, a common challenge is either not having a clear social media strategy or dealing with one that's so complex that it becomes difficult to maintain.
The good news is that with the right systems in place, social media marketing can be straightforward and effective.
In this week’s episode of The Priority Pursuit Podcast, we are once again joined by our Content Director, Angel Tobey, as she gives step-by-step instructions for developing a simple social media strategy for small businesses that works.
Social Media and the Flywheel Marketing Method
As a quick refresher, the flywheel marketing method is a marketing strategy where your website and online marketing efforts are in sync and function as a flywheel to continually produce results.
The flywheel marketing method is a four-step strategy.
- Develop clear messaging.
- Build a customer-focused, SEO-optimized website.
- Develop content and sales funnels that educate and entertain.
- Promote your content, products, and services.
As social media is a large part of content marketing, this episode will be diving a little deeper into step three of the flywheel method.
Organic Social Media vs. Paid Social Media
More often than not, small business owners and leaders see organic and paid social media as one and the same, but it’s important to note the difference and how both fit into the flywheel marketing strategy.
First, organic social media is any social media activity that is free. These posts are great for creating engagement, building authority for your brand, showing that your company is active, and even boosting SEO.
Paid social media ads, on the other hand, are paid advertisements that you run on social media. Basically, if you’re putting any money towards promoting your content, that’s a paid ad. Paid social media ads fall into the fourth step of the flywheel marketing method, which as a reminder, is promoting your website and content.
Social Media Platforms
Before you start on your social media strategy, it’s important you complete the first three steps of the flywheel marketing strategy. This way, you know who you’re talking to and what to say, and you have content (e.g. blog posts) to share via social media.
Then, you’ll need to decide which social media platforms you’re going to utilize. A common mistake that small businesses make is thinking that they have to have a presence on every social media platform. But, you don’t have to be everywhere. You actually only need to use the platforms that your ideal client is using.
Here is a breakdown of some of the different platforms you can build a presence on so you can start deciding which ones make the most sense for your brand.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform worldwide with around 2.9 billion monthly users.
While new algorithms have made a point to suppress the reach of business posts, it is still a good platform to share your content, educate your audience, post relevant updates about your business, and collect reviews.
Because of its popularity and business tools, Facebook is often a good place to start with your social media strategy.
The age group that is most active on Facebook is 25-34. But, people of almost all ages use Facebook. In fact, more than 22% of Facebook users are 55+. This is just something to keep in mind as you determine how to fit this platform into your strategy.
With two billion monthly active users, Instagram is another popular social media platform businesses use in their marketing strategies—especially businesses that are product-, influencer-, or coaching-based.
Much like Facebook, Instagram does have quite a few tools to help businesses—and it can be a great place to share content that is not only informative and relevant but also creative and fun.
To thrive on Instagram, your picture and video development game needs to be strong because it is very image-heavy.
As far as demographics go, you can expect to find both Gen Z and Millennials surfing through Instagram feeds.
LinkedIn is great for businesses that offer professional or educational content and B2B services as it emphasizes career-related networking.
Companies that want to cultivate a following among professionals in a specific field can establish a business profile on the platform and post relevant content and important business updates.
LinkedIn can also be a great tool for engaging with audiences via likes, shares, and comments and building authority by posting relevant content that presents you as a leader in your industry.
TikTok refers to itself as “the leading destination for short-form mobile video”—so if you’re able to produce great content in the form of short, relevant videos, it might be a platform you’re interested in.
It’s reported that there are more than 150 million active TikTok users in the U.S. alone, and more and more businesses have started creating information content to promote on the platform.
The largest age group for TikTok still runs younger at ages 18-24. So, if you’re aiming at a younger demographic, be sure to check it out.
X (formally known as Twitter)
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Twitter, now X. And, many users have left the platform.
However, some businesses in industries like entertainment, politics, sports, technology, and marketing might still find the platform to be a useful tool in their marketing strategy and use it to increase brand awareness and engage with their clients or customers.
Threads is a text-based social media app that was released by Meta earlier in 2023.
According to Meta, Threads is intended to be a space “where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow.”
Essentially, Threads is a social media app designed to foster connection and conversation about anything and everything users are interested in in a casual, no-frills, mostly text format.
While Twitter and Threads certainly share similarities, many marketers speculate that Meta looked at Twitter and assessed what users liked and disliked about the platform and created a “better,” “kinder” version of the app.
Threads is still very new and is rapidly changing as the Meta team receives feedback from users—so it’s a little too soon for anyone to be able to say exactly how to use Threads as a small business.
However, to leverage this new social media platform, you should join and use Threads to engage and connect with clients.
Reports are showing that Threads users run younger in age. Think of Gen Z as the most common user of this platform so far.
Pinterest’s image-sharing social platform has around 444 million monthly active users.
Because it’s image-based, rich visuals are going to thrive on Pinterest—and industries like fashion, food, event planning, fitness, and decor are among the most common on the platform.
While posting content with relevant text and keywords anywhere on the internet can be helpful, SEO is easy with Pinterest posts because you can add your keywords to “pin” descriptions. This makes your content more likely to appear for clients who are searching for your products or services—via both Pinterest and Google.
The largest age group of Pinterest users is 25-34 year olds. This platform has a significantly larger amount of women, so that is something to keep in mind when determining if Pinterest fits into your marketing plan.
While those are the “main” or most popular social media platforms right now, be sure to do your research. There might be another platform your ideal audience is on, and if so, you’ll want to take advantage.
Ultimately, you want to put your efforts and energy toward the social media platforms that your ideal clients use. Looking at the demographic information for each platform is helpful, but if you know who your ideal client is, you can determine which platforms they’re most active on and then choose and use those platforms accordingly.
That being said, even if a certain platform isn’t part of your content strategy, you should still create an account on that platform so that nobody else can claim it, create unnecessary confusion, or impersonate your business.
You don’t need to be active on these accounts. That said, we would recommend creating a post or two that details where people can find you.
For example, you might make a post that takes people to your website or tells them that you’re regularly active on another social media platform and how they can find you. This way, you don’t miss out on prospects that do happen to go against the norm and check out those other platforms.
Social Media Content Plan
The third step in your social media strategy should be developing a plan for your content creation, scheduling, and review.
Social media is a form of content marketing. As a result, the goal should be to use social media to distribute valuable, relevant, and engaging content to attract and serve your ideal clients. This builds trust and brand authority and ultimately helps small businesses grow. As a result, when you plan your social media content, you want to create posts that:
- Engage, entertain, or help you foster connection with your ideal customers.
- Serve your ideal customers well.
- Educate your ideal customers.
- Lead your ideal customers to your sales funnel.
With these goals in mind, you can go on to create what we call “content pillars.” These are just different categories you’ll use to further inspire the types of posts you’re regularly creating.
Content Pillars in Action
Let’s use Treefrog as an example. Every week, we aim to create posts for the following categories:
In these posts, we’re looking to form a connection with our ideal customers. You’ll see us post questions, provide followers with non-marketing resources that will help their small businesses, or post funny and relatable content that relates to their lives as business leaders.
2. Treefrog-Produced Content
For Treefrog, this is where we share some of the content we’ve created to help educate and serve our clients. This includes blogs, past podcast episodes, marketing advice, downloads, and other Treefrog-created content.
Since all of our content is strategically part of our marketing plan, these posts also help us push people further into our sales funnel. If we share a blog and the audience clicks on it, the content will then encourage them to schedule a consultation, download a guide, or do the thing we want them to do to move them into the next phase of the buyer’s journey.
3. Weekly Podcast Episode
We post a new episode of The Priority Pursuit Podcast every week. To get that in front of our audience to educate and entertain them with our show—we create organic social media posts for every new episode.
Because this content also encourages people to learn more about our services, download Treefrog resources, and schedule a consultation with us—these posts also help us move people through our sales funnel.
As the name suggests, the content for these posts can be pretty open and flexible. Maybe we want to share something about a team outing or need to post an important update about our business or industry. This post does not have to be about your services or products, but make sure it’s relevant to your ideal customer.
Content pillars don’t have to be complicated. Simply come up with weekly categories that you can use to inspire your posts, align your organic social media posts with your overall marketing strategy, and serve your ideal customers well.
Once you know what you’re going to be posting about, the next step in your social media plan needs to be creating a system for batching your social media content.
We recommend developing two weeks to a full month of social media content at a time—at least a month in advance.
Determine how much and how far in advance you can realistically batch your social media content, and then make sure you block the time necessary on your calendar to develop this content.
We understand that small businesses often need to move fast—so you can always post more and even do so in real time as things come up. But, having a system in place that allows you to batch content ahead of time is going to lead to more consistent, better quality content.
Plus, if something happens—whether it be in life or in business—that prevents you or a member of your team from being able to focus on social media, you’ve given yourself buffer time by working ahead.
Next, create a system for scheduling your social media content. Many social media platforms we mentioned are compatible with third-party scheduling sites that can make your life much easier.
We at Treefrog currently use SocialPilot, but depending on your needs, you can also try working with Buffer, Hootsuite, or the actual social media platform’s scheduling system if they have one. Each scheduling software has its own pros and cons, so be sure to do your research to figure out which one is right for you.
Finally, review your analytics and make changes accordingly. It isn’t enough to just post on social media. You need to regularly assess your social media analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Most business accounts on the platforms we’ve talked about in this episode have free analytics available for organic posts. You can use these to see how each post is doing in terms of reach, likes, comments, video views, and more. This is all great information to have when reviewing post performance.
We’d recommend setting aside an hour on a monthly basis for review. If you see that a type of post or platform isn’t working, change it up. Find out what kind of content serves your ideal audience best and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Social Media Best Practices
Every social media platform is different, and to get the most out of every platform, you need to understand its best practices. In other words, you need to understand how each platform is meant to be used and then develop content and use the platform accordingly.
This includes what kind of content you develop such as text-based or video, how often you post, and more. Because, when you follow best practices, your posts will likely have more reach and be more effective.
Thankfully, today, there are Facebook experts, TikTok experts, and experts for nearly any and every platform.
After you’ve determined which social media platforms you need to use, find an educator or resource that’s specific to that platform. Check out their content. Take their courses. You don’t have to know every social media platform—however, you do need to know and understand the platforms that your audience is on.
Organic social media is a free form of marketing, and to get the most out of your posts, you need to utilize each platform as it was intended to be used.
Social Media Management
Most small business owners and their leadership teams don’t typically have time to develop their own social media content because there are other important aspects of business that they need to focus on.
With that in mind, in our experience, hiring an in-house social media manager—even just on a part-time basis—is the best option. With social media demands and how quickly things can change in small businesses, having a member of the team specifically in charge of social media is advantageous.
We used to offer organic social media services, and to an extent, we still do. However, we highly recommend hiring someone internally. This way, you have a member of your team who can easily grab photos and videos, create posts on the fly when needed, and simply help you get the most out of social media.
Want to learn more about why you should hire a social media manager in some capacity? Check out “Episode 098: 3 Signs It’s Time to Outsource Your Small Business’s Marketing.”
People spend a lot of time on social media. It’s part of our culture. That’s where your current or potential customers are, and it would be a shame for you not to take advantage—especially since it’s free.
Unless you already have more business than you know what to do with, you can’t afford not to have a social media presence.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Receive 50% Off Your First Year of HoneyBook
- Learn More About Treefrog’s Small Business Marketing Resources & Services
- Join the Priority Pursuit Facebook Community
- Follow or DM Treefrog Marketing on Instagram
- Follow or DM Kelly Rice on Instagram
- Follow or DM Victoria Rayburn on Instagram
The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.
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