The Best Social Media Platforms for Small Businesses

Are you on the right social media platforms for your business? Small Business BC connected with Mhairi Petrovic, founder of Out-Smarts Marketing, to learn more about the best platforms small businesses use for success and how to create a social media strategy that works for you.

According to Mhairi, most small businesses in BC are using Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Pinterest and TikTok. Other niche social media platforms can help businesses hone in on specific markets, too.

How do you decide which social media platforms to use or focus on?

“It’s best to choose one or two platforms and focus on high-quality content, rather than four or five and spreading yourself too thin,” said Mhairi.

The platforms you choose depend on your target audience. “If your customers are professionals in other businesses (B2B) then LinkedIn is a great platform to use. If your audience is older, Facebook will give you the best potential audience reach. For younger millennials, Instagram is great. For a male-centric audience, you might consider X,” said Mhairi.

Mhairi recommends checking your social media metrics and insights regularly to find out what’s working and not working with each platform to ensure you’re engaging your target audience effectively and adjusting your strategy where needed.

Why should a small business have a social media presence/strategy?

“First of all, it’s 2023, if you aren’t on social media, your audience is wondering why or what’s wrong,” said Mhairi. “If they can’t find you, they will find your competitor down the street who uses these platforms.”

For Mhairi, social media gets the word out about your business and offers a way to connect and build meaningful customer relationships.

Also, “by sharing valuable content and engaging with your followers, you can position yourself as an industry expert and gain the trust of potential customers,” said Mhairi.

What’s the best thing about social media marketing that small business owners might not know?

“As a small business owner, I like to connect with customers on a personal level on socials, by sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses of my business and responding to comments and messages personally,” said Mhairi. This strategy builds trust with her audience.

“I’ve learned that this can result in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations,” said Mhairi.

If someone is just starting a business, what should they do first for their social media strategy?

Mhairi shared a basic social media strategy that small businesses can use to focus their marketing efforts:

1. Define your goals

What are your main goals? Examples can include:

    • Increase brand awareness
    • Generate leads and sales
    • Grow your brand’s audience
    • Drive traffic to your site

2. Research your target audience and choose your social media platforms

Keep in mind that different platforms attract different audiences; decide which platforms you’re going to go forward with.

3. Figure out what metrics you want to track

How will you measure your results? Examples include measuring and tracking:

    • Reach
    • Clicks
    • Engagement
    • Hashtag performance
    • Organic and paid likes
    • Video views
    • Follower growth
    • Follower growth rate
    • Impressions
    • Brand mentions
    • Conversation rate

4. Develop a content strategy and content calendar

With the groundwork laid, it’s time to create a content strategy and a calendar. Moving forward, you will:

    • Find your brand voice
    • Post at the best times to engage
    • Engage with your community
    • Track and measure results

What are some low-investment ways to streamline processes and drive results?

Luckily for business owners, many free or low-cost tools will help you drive better results with your social media marketing. Using a scheduling tool to plan and post content (like AirTable and Sprout Social) can help immensely.

Also, a graphic design tool like Canva can help you create image templates you can reuse for graphics so you don’t start from a blank post each time.

Finally, a good way to drive results is to engage with your audience. “Prioritize engaging with your audience by responding to comments and messages as quickly as you can, which can help build trust and loyalty,” said Mhairi.

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