In 2020, social media marketing for small business is a given. It’s a safe bet that most small-business owners are using social media platforms to hawk their goods and services, build brand awareness and reel in new customers because it’s extremely cost effective. You can spend as much or as little as you want on a campaign, and it only takes a few minutes to set up social media profiles.
Despite its fervent availability, effective social media marketing still needs a strategy. Yes, signing up for Yelp and creating a Google My Business profile can bring you visibility on the search engine side, particularly if you’re a local business with a brick-and-mortar location, but true social strategy helps you get a foothold in the global market.
Social media tips will help you make the most of your marketing efforts whether you’re a seasoned social media management pro or a beginner.
Go Where Your Audience Is Located
In order to have the most success with a social media marketing strategy, you need to go where your target audience is located. You won’t have much luck reaching potential customers if they don’t have social profiles on the platforms you’re using.
- Facebook: This has a great mix of users of all ages. It is generally less effective in targeting Generation Z and those older than 65.
- Instagram: The largest swath of Instagram users are age 13 to 29.
- Twitter: Twitter reaches more men worldwide and is a favorite among urban and suburban college-educated individuals.
- Pinterest: There are 25% more women than men using Pinterest.
- Snapchat: Users are generally under the age of 49, but 79% of 18- to 24-year-olds use this platform.
- LinkedIn: This is geared toward users with college degrees, advanced degrees and higher income brackets.
- YouTube: Like Facebook, most people in general use YouTube. This is a must for all small-business owners.
- TikTok: This emerging video platform is poised to be the biggest social media trend of 2020. It’s a winner for targeting Gen Z and millennials.
Make sure you build your social media strategy around your existing consumer base. You can lead a horse to water, but there has to be a horse in the first place in order for anyone to want a drink!
Social Media Marketing for Small Business Is About Timing
People aren't online 24/7 even if it does feel that way. This is why the time you release your posts has a serious impact on engagement. The best times to post are generally:
- Facebook: Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. are the best times to post, but weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. have the most consistent engagement.
- Instagram: The best time to post is Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. has the most consistent engagement.
- Twitter: The best time to post is Wednesday at 9 a.m. and Friday at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. has the most consistent engagement.
- LinkedIn: The best time to post is Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Engagement is consistent Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- YouTube: Posting is best on Saturdays and Sundays between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
- Snapchat: Snapchat users engage the most on any day between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
- Pinterest: Weekends are for Pinterest. Go for Saturday or Sunday at 2 p.m., 9 p.m. or 2 a.m.
Micro-Influencers Build a Brand
Influencers have long been ruling social networks. We saw a couple of posts from Kylie Jenner make the fast-fashion brand Fashion Nova a success seemingly overnight. Brands have increasingly collaborated with influencers – largely users from Instagram and YouTube – to make everything from branded videos to branded eyeshadow palettes and clothing lines. It’s a big industry, but 2020 has seen a shift toward micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers, users with 10,000 to 50,000 followers depending on which marketer you ask, actually provide a better return on investment. They get three times more likes per follower for sponsored posts than traditional influencers and have 47% more engagement. Plus, they’re a huge value compared to celebrity-level influencers who generally see a massive drop in comment rates on sponsored posts but charge thousands of dollars per post.
Get on TikTok
You haven’t heard of TikTok? This Vine-adjacent social media platform used to be called Musical.ly and has positioned itself to be the next big trend in social media. Even though it currently has more than 1.5 billion users — with two-thirds of those under the age of 30 — only about 4% of marketers currently use the platform. This is an opportunity to jump on the iron while it’s warming up.
In 2020, TikTok has e-commerce capabilities that allow users to browse shoppable products through a sponsored hashtag challenge. Though the options currently available to marketers are slim, brands should use this social media site to build awareness now because the company is currently working on rolling out new brand features. It’s only a matter of time.
How to Use Facebook in 2020
Most social media marketing for small business involves some pretty hefty Facebook usage, so it’s important to know the best ways to work with rather than against Facebook’s 2020 algorithm. Though Facebook is limiting the number of posts seen by pages, it does value a certain type of content: video. As of May 2019, Facebook started giving preference to videos that:
- Are longer than three minutes
- People watch past the one-minute mark
- Are those for which people search and return
- Are original rather than repurposed
In other words, Facebook values original video content that’s handcrafted for your target audience — the kind of video they’ll want to watch in its entirety, whether it’s a tutorial, guide or some other form of insight. Beyond regular video content, Facebook Live videos generally have six times the engagement of a regular video, so that’s one of the best types of social media content to work into your marketing plan.
Though video remains the key to building brand awareness on Facebook, you can expand your reach by:
- Using Facebook ads on content that first performs well organically: Facebook offers a “boost” option where you can expand reach on particularly well-performing posts for a small fee. This will help you make the most of your marketing budget.
- Posting consistently and frequently: Facebook favors pages that are most likely to be meaningful to social media users, so a strong social media presence helps foster engagement and raises your ranking with Facebook’s algorithm.
- Starting a conversation: Posts that flaunt your goods and services are great, but Facebook values conversation. Use this social media channel to build a discussion, and you’ll be bumped up in users’ news feeds.
- Utilizing like-minded groups: These can help you reach potential customers more directly.
How Not to Use Facebook in 2020
Facebook has been slowly decreasing the percentage of followers who organically see posts from a Facebook page, which is a clear effort to make brands shell out money for Facebook ads. Toward the end of 2019, reach was down by about 2.2 percent, meaning that only about 5.5 percent of a page’s followers saw a post. In other words, if your brand has 50,000 Facebook followers, you can expect that only 2,750 of them will see each update. This figure was even lower for brands with large followings.
So, is there any way to get around it? Some content does get a page down-ranked, which means your posts will be given an even more limited reach. This includes:
- Links to low-quality websites with stolen content and no added value
- Content on the borderline – this isn’t distinctly against the rules, but it is offensive
- Fake news and misinformation – this could include things like severely biased news
- Misleading or dangerous health information – this could include claims that aren’t verified by the FDA
- Deep fakes – any video that’s been flagged as fake by Facebook’s army of fact checkers
Facebook also doesn’t like any instance of voting used to push engagement. For example, all those posts saying “heart react for yes” and “sad react for no” can get your page down-ranked.
How to Use Instagram in 2020
Not all Instagram efforts yield the same results, but this is one of the key social media platforms to successfully build brand awareness. About 53 percent of active users follow the brands they love, and about 44 percent of active users specifically use the platform to discover new brands. This is a huge network of potential customers, and a few things will help you stand out in the fray. You should:
Have a certain aesthetic to your grid: This can be anything
like using the same filter, color tones or lighting – as long as it is consistent. Weirdly enough, the filters Mayfair, Hefe and Ludwig were found to bring the most engagement.
Utilize hashtags wisely: A hashtag campaign where you repost customer images helps build brand awareness and loyalty since active users on this platform want to feel like they’re members of a community.
Always include location-specific tags: This can increase engagement and bring in customers who are local to your business.
* Use IGTV: This platform was created for long-form videos lasting longer than 60 seconds, though most brands post videos between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. Instagram Live Q&As are an easy way to show the inner workings of your brand, raise engagement and increase consumer trust.
How Not to Use Instagram in 2020
Instagram is owned by Facebook, which has led some people to speculate that creating a business account will thwart organic traffic, like what happens with Facebook business pages versus personal social media accounts. This is definitely false, and your brand is best served by using a registered business account because you gain access to:
- Analytic tools to help measure your post’s real-time success
- The ability to post links within Instagram Stories
- The ability to post direct links to e-commerce products within grid posts
- The ability to run more effective campaigns across all Facebook-owned social channels
- An added contact button with directions to your brick-and-mortar location
It should also be noted that Instagram favors faces. This means that shots of people generally get more engagement, but it may be impossible to always work people into your posts depending on the nature of your small business. If you’re posting a photo that’s mostly text, it’s also best left in an Instagram Story.
Utilize Twitter Listening
In 2020, it’s all about social listening, and Twitter is one of the best platforms to analyze when you’re doing this. Social listening is essentially a two-step process where you:
- Monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand, product or relevant keywords
- Analyze the information
- Take action based on your analysis
While Twitter lets you save searches for certain keywords, like your brand name, external marketing tools like Sprout Social or Hootsuite help you collect this kind of data more effectively. You can find out which conversations are trending so you can engage more effectively.
Yes, Email Lists Still Work
Email lists may seem old school, but they may actually be more effective than social platforms in reaching your current customers. Beyond that, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter and generally has higher click-through rates than tweets. Entice current and potential customers to sign up for your email list by offering a reward, like a 10 percent discount on the first order or special, email-driven sales.
- Mediakix: 20 TikTok Statistics Marketers Need to Know: TikTok Demographics & Key Data
- Shopify: How to Get More Followers on Instagram: 13 Reliable Ways to Grow Your Audience
- Buffer: A First Look at New Instagram Business Tools (And What They Mean for Your Business)
- Quartz: Instagram's Algorithm Favors More Realistic Content Because That's What Users Want
- Sprout Social: Social Media Demographics to Inform Your Brand's Strategy in 2020
- Sprout Social: How to Survive (and Outsmart) the Instagram Algorithm in 2020
- Sprout Social: Best Times to Post on Social Media for 2019
- Brafton: Best Times to Post on the Top 8 Social Networks [Gifographic]
- Klear: Micro-Influencers Show The Best ROI For Brand Partnerships [Research]
- Hootesuite: What is Social Listening, Why it Matters, and 10 Tools to Make it Easier
- Campaign Monitor: 7 Experts on Why Building Your Email List Is So Important
Mariel Loveland is a small business owner, content strategist and writer from New Jersey. Throughout her career, she's worked with numerous startups creating content to help small business owners bridge the gap between technology and sales. Her work has been featured in publications like Business Insider and Vice.