Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business: Refresh Your Approach

Kim PierceallMarketing, Social Media Marketing

social media marketing tips

Is your social media marketing feeling a bit sluggish like a muggy summer night? If you need to stir up a breeze and refresh and increase your connections online, it’s time to re-engage with a better grip on how to assess the environment in which you are posting, your social media content and helpful statistics.

You likely already have some kind of posting schedule either in mind or mapped out. Depending on your audience—and your To-Do list—you may aim to post weekly or multiple times per week. And if so, you should also have some ideas about the type of content you want to announce, discuss or promote. Whether it’s a link to a compelling story, an original photo or a text-heavy conversation starter, craft a cool post with these fresh ideas.

Read the Room: Being Aware, Considerate and Connected

You know it when you see it. A cheery post about a sidewalk side when you know a thunderstorm sent everyone to shelter earlier in the day. Or the tone-deaf response to a comment that sounds positively robotic. It’s a cringe-worthy moment and we all would rather avoid being in one.

When we “read the room” in a meeting or at a party, we are listening carefully (especially when we can’t also watch body language) to take note of what is happening at different levels. The meeting may have been called to discuss a new project or opportunity. But if one person can’t stop talking about problems and pitfalls, you may need to put a pin in the original topic to address something that is happening in the moment or that would threaten the success before moving ahead.

Reading the room on social media can be done in a few ways. Obviously, keep an ear to news in the great big wider world. You don’t want to seem insensitive if something bad has happened that day and your post is whimsical or otherwise “out of touch.” In fact, if you posted something only to learn that an injury or other serious event has occurred, you may consider deleting or editing the earlier post so that’s it’s not taken out of context. (Find and use that edit feature where you can.)

If you use social media regularly, you may also have a decent grasp of how people communicate differently on the different channels, as well as how your target audience engages. Clientele for a local brewpub will likely use slang and silliness, while people will usually be more formal with an account for a healthcare provider. You may get more of a conversation going in Facebook comments while your Instagram followers simply toss out an emoji and move on. Respond often but as close to the same style and spirit as the users there (when it’s appropriate).

See Finding Your Voice: Who Are You on Social Media? (an oldie but holds up) and Understanding the Language of Social Media for more juicy examples of how it is evolving.

Accessorize Your Social Media Content

Are you using hashtags? Emojis? Linktree? Now you don’t want to go nuts with all the add-ons, but definitely get them into your quiver. I usually set up a hashtag spreadsheet and hunt for similar organizations to get a baseline set of words that will help describe what the account and the content will be. These terms help people find information they are interested in and help the platforms organize and deliver it more effectively. The trick is to use hashtag terms that have a reasonable number of posts without being so popular that your content is likely to get lost.

For example, one of my clients published her first book and we used hashtags such as #newbook and #chicagowriter. We’re also adding ones more specific each individual post and with fewer (but not too few) related hashtags, like #livingwithchronicpain or #taichiclass. Search on and follow some hashtags yourself to get a better idea about how they can work.

See How to Use Hashtags in 2022: A Guide for Every Network for more info.

With Instagram’s bio section limited to one website (or URL), add multiple links and fine-tune them to your content with something like Linktree ( with a free option). Keep your primary important links in that mix, but update the list of links along with some of your social media posts. You can rename and reorder the links to fit your needs or promotions. You’ll want to keep it as lean as you can, but it can help direct people to specific content more quickly than your website might be able to do.

hashtags instagram

Study Your Social Media Stats

If you haven’t checked out Meta’s Business platform yet, it’s got some useful features to help you manage and assess your Facebook and Instagram activity (ads, too, if you use them). You can see trends in how people saw and responded and compare days of the week, times and other metrics. Much like open rates and click-through percentages for email campaigns, you can begin to glean some habits of your followers.

See How to Set Up Meta Business Suite and Business Manager for Clients for tips on setting up and using your account.

You can also work with apps like Hubspot, Sprout Social, etc., to manage your content across all platforms. Then experiment with posting on different days and different times. Try mixing up the type of content you post with original photos and videos (often the best options), but links, graphics, and quotes, too. If you are selling actual wares, do you include a clear call to action in the graphic or copy? Do you ask people to share? Do!

If you are posting on multiple channels, keep track of how your audience is growing or changing. Even a simple spreadsheet with a monthly tally for number of followers for each one and how many posts were posted can show you progress at a glance—or make it glaringly obvious that not posting for a while will impede growth.

Build in ways to check your progress regularly while keeping your tone, content and extras working for you and evolving to meet changing times and needs.