Social media is a powerful way to stay connected, and adults of all ages love it. It is no longer just for cat pictures and status updates. Today, people turn to their favorite social media platforms for news, lifestyle tips, celebrity updates, and shopping. In fact, the average person spends an impressive 151 minutes each day on social media — more than the length of most movies!

What does that mean for your brand? It represents immense opportunity. Social media is an ideal way to gain traction with your target audience. Once you develop a loyal following, you can use your platform to share critical content that can increase sales, attract new customers, and build lasting relationships. 

This article will cover the seven C’s of social media marketing — community, content, curation, creation, connection, conversation, and conversion. It will also explain how social media is one of the best marketing tools available for any brand, no matter what industry you’re in. Let’s get started with some practical social media marketing tips for small businesses.

Developing a strong social media strategy

Like most things in business, effective social media marketing requires a strategy. You need a plan for what you want to achieve and the steps you’ll take to make it happen. 

To do that, it’s important to understand the seven C’s of social media marketing and what they mean:

  • Community: Your target audience, who you aim to foster that engagement with
  • Content: The kind of posts, videos, or graphics you share with your followers.  Can include infographics, text posts, Reels, and more, depending on the platform you’re posting on
  • Curation: Sharing other people’s content — re-post tagged content from your followers and user-generated content, and collaborate with other brands or influencers
  • Creation: Planning your social media posts with a content calendar and taking the time to create the posts
  • Connection: Content that resonates with your audience and reminds them of shared values
  • Conversation: Your audience talks about your brand and shares your content with others
  • Conversion: Transforming those relationships and engagement into sales

Read More: What is Social Media Management: Everything You Need to Know

Social Media Marketing Tips

Now that you know those key pillars of social media, here are some of the best social media marketing tips for beginners and seasoned pros alike. 

1. Define clear marketing goals

The biggest mistake brands make when beginning with social media is posting without a plan. You don’t want your first posts to be random occurrences that fail to align with your brand’s values or mission. Instead, set a few goals you want to achieve.

Some examples of goals might be:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Boost sales by a specific percentage
  • Attract a certain number of new followers
  • Increase response rates on your posts
  • Drive traffic to your brand’s website

It’s vital to set realistic goals and a timeframe to achieve them. If possible, define a metric you can use to track your progress. For instance, if you aim to attract 500 new followers, you could baseline your current audience numbers and compare them in the next week or two. 

2. Determine your target audience

Most brands cater to specific groups of people, known as their target audience. The audience may share characteristics like age, location, interests, or behaviors. Knowing who your audience is can help you define the content you’ll use in your social media marketing strategy. 

3. Choose the right social media platforms

There are several major social media platforms, but you don’t need a presence on every single one — especially if social media marketing is new to you and your brand. Instead, pick a platform that best fits your brand and focus on growing your audience there. 

If you’re not sure which platform aligns best with your brand, consider this list:

  • LinkedIn: Ideal for B2B and software as a service (SaaS) companies and industry-specific content, such as manufacturing companies and financial planners
  • Instagram: Great for visually-oriented content, including pictures and short videos
  • Facebook: Best for connecting one-on-one with customers or building interest communities
  • YouTube: Excellent for long-form informational video content. Musicians can also use it to promote their songs. 

4. Define your content game plan

Next, determine what type of content you’ll share with your audience. Product or service promotions are a must, but your followers will grow bored if that’s all you share. Instead, mix things up with non-promotional compelling posts that align with your brand’s vision and your audience’s interests. 

5. Establish a social media content calendar

Once you commit to social media marketing, determine how frequently you’ll post. Generally, one to two posts per week make sense for most brands, especially when starting out. However, some platforms are conducive to more frequent posts. 

If you’re creating lots of time-consuming posts, such as videos, it’s a great idea to plan, film, and edit content a few weeks in advance. That way, you won’t have to scramble to produce content, and you’ll have a library of content to turn to during busy periods.

Content creation and curation

Now comes the fun part — crafting creative content that turns heads. Content creation is your opportunity to convey your brand’s vision to your audience in a unique way. Here are a few social media marketing tips and tricks to make your first posts a rousing success.

Master the art of storytelling

At the heart of most social media posts is a good story — especially if you’re using video. A short video post can draw eyeballs and capture audience interest. The key to success is to have a purpose for the video. What are you trying to convey? 

Holderness family Youtube channel video carousel
The Holderness Family uses fun videos and creative storytelling to resonate with their audience. Image Source: Holderness Family – YouTube

Some ways you might use storytelling in your posts include:

  • A trip around your office to showcase products and professional services
  • A behind-the-scenes look at how you create your products
  • A customer sharing a positive experience with your brand
  • Product demonstrations or how-to’s
  • Clever videos that relate to your brand’s offerings

Some platforms allow you to post videos as stories that appear at the top of a user’s feed. Sharing stories in addition to your regular posts ensures followers aren’t at the mercy of the platform’s algorithm to see your content. Instead, they can simply click on your story to see it. However, these posts don’t live on your profile feed forever, so it’s best for timely content or to promote a feed post and give it a chance to appear in front of more eyes.

Curating quality content to engage followers

A dull, unengaging post is unlikely to inspire likes, shares, or comments from followers. While an occasional dip in engagement is unavoidable — either due to algorithm changes or trying a new approach — you risk losing valuable time and a hit to your ROI if it occurs frequently. 

Rather than posting anything and everything, aim for high-quality content that reels in your audience. If you have to post a little less frequently because crafting quality posts is time-consuming, that’s okay. It’s better to be known for your creativity than to be the most frequent poster on the platform with content that users scroll past. Just remember that consistency is key. Your followers will begin to expect a certain volume of content in addition to quality. Too much and they might be annoyed; too little and they could start to lose interest. 

Utilizing visual content for better engagement

Humans are highly visual creatures. We’re naturally attracted to pictures and animations more than big blocks of text. That’s doubly true for social media posts, where text is sometimes limited to a few sentences. 

Most social media platforms favor picture and video-oriented posts. In fact, that’s all you can post on Instagram. LinkedIn and Facebook are more accepting of text-based posts — platforms where long-form content can shine — but all three allow you to include images, too.

Even if your posts are text-heavy, including a visual helps you attract the attention you seek from your audience.

Emoticons and their role in humanizing brands

Emojis are a quick and efficient way to convey emotions and moods without including lots of words. Many brands (and consumers) include them in their posts and captions to give them meaning. For instance, you might use a laughing emoji alongside a funny post or a red alert to draw the viewer’s attention. 

Do not go overboard with emojis. Too many may make your post look unprofessional. 

Learning from engagement and analytics to inform strategy

As your social media marketing campaigns gain steam, you’ll learn a lot about your audience through their engagement. Pay attention to the number of likes, shares, and comments you attract to your posts. The details tell you what type of content your audience likes to see the most. 

However, when a post doesn’t attract engagement, it doesn’t mean it’s lost in the social media ocean. Some posts are meant to be informative, not necessarily to go viral. For instance, if you plan to close your storefront for a day, notifying your followers via social media benefits anyone who might have otherwise stopped by. But that post might not get the same visibility as a 30-second promotional video. 

Engagement and community management

Social media is ideal for building long-lasting relationships with your audience. Once someone decides to follow you, they’ll regularly see your posts, allowing you to eventually turn them into a paying customer (or get them to come back if they’ve already made a purchase with your brand). 

However, it’s important not to view social media exclusively as an advertising medium. Instead, use it to learn more about what motivates your customers and to connect with them.

Olive Garden instagram post
Olive Garden encourages followers to comment on its posts to boost engagement. Image Source: Olive Garden

Here are a few of the best social media marketing tips to manage your community:

  • Check your direct messages frequently, and always try to respond promptly.
  • Take the time to engage with the comments you receive on your posts. Even if the comment doesn’t warrant a text response, you can like it to show your followers you read it. If it suits your brand, emojis can also be a great and quick way to respond.
  • Include posts that encourage audience engagement, like surveys.
  • Try out each platform’s unique tools, like Instagram Live, to connect with your audience in real-time.

Best practices for social media marketing

Building a social media following can take some trial and error, but embracing these tips for effective social media marketing can expedite the process.

Adapt content for each unique social channel

Before introducing your brand on social media, spend some time learning each platform and the types of content that perform well on each. Follow some top-performing accounts — especially those relevant to your industry — to view the content they share and how they engage with their followers. 

Personalize Your Social Media Presence

You don’t want to appear as just a brand to your followers. You want to feel like someone they can connect with! Infuse personality into your posts with a unique voice and feature your team in content to make things more personable.

Maintain brand consistency across platforms

As you grow your social media presence, consider expanding to other platforms. However, it’s important not to post the same content on both channels. Instead, try to repurpose your content in different ways. For instance, if YouTube is your primary social media platform, you could create short clips from your existing videos and share them on Facebook or Instagram.

Analyze competitor strategies 

Your competitors can be a tremendous source of content inspiration and help you define your own social media strategy. While you don’t want to replicate their posts — authenticity is essential — you can use them to understand how they engage with their audience and attract new followers. You can also look for ways to improve upon their strategies.

Embrace mistakes and learn from them

Few brands hit the social media “nail on the head” early on. Building a following may take some time, and it may take some trial and error to figure out what kinds of posts really resonate with your audience. Don’t take it personally — turn it into an opportunity to improve your social media presence and know your audience on a deeper level. 

Tools and resources for efficient marketing

Social media marketing can be a time-consuming endeavor. If you’re short on resources or want to automate some of your work, investing in a few tools is well worth the expense. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Constant Contact: With Constant Contact, you can easily create and preview posts across different platforms. Plus, you can interact with customers directly within the software. It includes automation and AI tools to schedule and create your content. 
Constant Contact's social media scheduling tool
Constant Contact includes tools to preview your social media posts. Image Source: Constant Contact
  • Canva: Canva is a simple, easy-to-use tool that allows you to create and edit images for social media. You don’t need to be a graphic design pro to create compelling visuals with Canva.
  • Mention: Mention is excellent for tracking keywords and monitoring your competitor’s posts. You’ll receive notifications on any keywords you track, and you can request a summary of updates delivered to your email. 
  • Native tools: Most social media platforms include native tools you may find helpful. For instance, Instagram offers a scheduling feature through advanced settings, which is great when you have a time-sensitive post or a couple of one-offs. 

Enhancing social media sales and conversions

Some of your social media content may be aimed at making a sale, driving traffic to your website, or generating email marketing leads. If you’re targeting conversions in a post, take a few simple steps to enhance your results. 

  • Include a clear call-to-action (CTA) within your post.
  • Communicate the value of converting to your audience.
  • Tag any products you include so that clients can click on them.
  • Include additional information in your bio or post caption.

Keep in mind that your post may perform better at certain times of the day when your audience is on social media. Use your analytics to determine what times and days your posts perform best.

Measuring success and making adjustments

Most social media platforms provide analytics tools that highlight post engagement. Some provide details about your followers, such as when they post and their interests. Built-in social media analytics are free for business account holders. 

If you invest in social media marketing software like Constant Contact, you’ll be able to access enhanced analytics to help you grow your audience and improve post-performance.

Social media marketing can help you build a loyal customer base

There’s no doubt that social media is a fantastic way to generate brand exposure and attract new leads. To get started, choose a platform that best aligns with your content strategy and vision. Then, work on developing compelling posts that resonate with your target audience. You’ll see the fruits of your efforts as followers connect with your posts — and your brand. For more social media marketing tips, check out Simple Strategies for Finding New Customers on Social Media and download our free ebook: Own the Social Sphere: Your ultimate guide to social media.

Constant Contact's free ebook download "Own the Social Sphere"