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What Is Social Media Marketing?

It would be an understatement to suggest that social media has evolved since its inception. It changed from a means for friends to communicate to a significant part of daily life for businesses and individuals. According to Kepios, “there are more than 4.62 billion social media users around the world in January 2022, equating to 58.4 percent of the total global population.” These users use social media to locate almost anything they need, be it games, jobs, information, recommendations, lost pets, and even local businesses.

But on the other hand, there are now numerous platforms. Kepois says that there are 17 social media platforms that have at least 300 million active users, as of January 2022. Each has its own set of features, post types, and best practices. Keeping up with your business is difficult enough, let alone several platforms that can’t seem to keep up with themselves!

So, if you’re not sure where, to begin with, social media marketing or even how to get your head around it, contact us. We will be glad to help you sort through the maze of social media and help your local business grow!

Social Media Marketing Defined

Social Media Marketing (SMM) can be defined as:

the use of social media platforms to connect with audiences to build the company's brand, increase sales and drive website traffic. This involves paid, owned, and earned media efforts, including publishing great content on social media profiles, listening to and engaging with followers, analyzing results, and running social media advertisements.

(Source: Gartner)

According to various reports, the average time spent on social media is two hours or more every day.

Let’s take a look at some social media stats:

96% of small businesses use social media in their marketing strategy.

41% of local businesses depend on social media to drive revenue.

80% of consumers use social media to engage with brands.

74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions.

It all comes down to two things:

  1. If you’re not using social media for promotion, you’re doing your local business a disservice. 
  2. With so many businesses already on social media, you must find strategies to differentiate yourself from the competition and stand out to your clients.

If you want to learn more about how we at Cube Creative Design help our clients accomplish just this then contact us to get started!

What Are the Top Social Media Marketing Platforms for Local Businesses?

Some social media platforms are more suited for specific marketing objectives and business types than others. Knowing which one is best to reach your target audience and which ones you might want to take a break from is key to achieving your social media marketing goals. 

Here are the big seven that you need to be aware of (in order of founding date):

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Pinterest
  5. Instagram
  6. Snapchat
  7. TikTok

LinkedIn

In 2002 LinkedIn was launched, and they currently have somewhere around 790.4 million or about 14.3% of the world’s population aged 18 years or older. LinkedIn defines itself as “the world’s largest professional network on the internet.” In other words, it is more business-to-business (B2B) focused.

LinkedIn Stats:

  • Recent data published in the company’s self-service advertising tools show LinkedIn’s advertising audience reach grew by 8.8% in 2021.
  • The United States of America has at least 180 million LinkedIn members.
  • 43.4% of LinkedIn’s global users are female, 56.6% are male

(Source: Kapis)

Profile of LinkedIn(Source: Kapis)

Facebook

In 2004, Facebook was launched and, as of Q1 of 2022, has the most extensive amount of active users of all the social media platforms, with 2.910 billion monthly active users worldwide. 

Facebook Stats:

  • Facebook’s monthly active users are around 36.9% of the world population. In other words, their user base is now larger than the total populations of China and India combined. 
  • The United States of America has at least 194 million active Facebook users.
  • 43.5% of Facebook’s global users are female, and 56.5% of Facebook’s global users are male
  • The average Facebook Page engagement rate across all post types is about 1 engagement for every 1,429-page followers.
  • The average Facebook Page engagement rate for photos is about 1 engagement for every 833-page followers.
  • The average Facebook Page engagement rate for link posts is about 1 engagement for every 2,500-page followers.
  • The average engagement rate for Facebook pages with fewer than 10,000 fans is about 1 engagement for every 345-page followers.

(Source: Kapis)

Profile of Facebook(Source: Kapis)

Facebook is best used to build relationships, keep clients and consumers updated, and connect with your local niche.

Twitter

In 2006, Twitter was launched and, as of Q3 of 2021, it has 436.4 million users ranking 15th of the world’s most “active” social media platforms. They limit you to 280 characters or less and are generally considered best for businesses that need to post real-time updates such as news outlets. It should also be noted that Twitter’s demographics skew to more urban-dwellers than suburban and rural residents.  

Twitter Stats:

  • The United States of America has roughly 77.8 million active Twitter users.
  • 70.4% of Twitter’s global users are male, with 29.6% female.

(Source: Kapis)

Profile of Twitter(Source: Kapis)

Pinterest

In 2009, Pinterest launched, and as of October 2021, it had 444 million monthly active users. Pinterest is best described as a “visual discovery engine for finding ideas like recipes, home and style inspiration, and more.” (Source: Pinterest)

Pinterest Stats:

  • The United States of America has roughly 90.5 million active Pinterest users.
  • 77.1% of Pinterest’s global users are female, with 14.8% being male

(Source: Kapis)

Profile of Pinterest(Source: Kapis)

Instagram

In 2010, Instagram was launched, and it quickly surpassed both LinkedIn and Twitter for market share. As of October 2021, there were an estimated 1.393 billion users on the platform.

Instagram Stats:

  • Instagram is currently blocked in China, meaning there is approximately a 28.3% adoption rate worldwide.
  • India has the most active users at 201 million, followed by the United States at 157 million.
  • 48.4% of Instagram’s global users are female, while 51.6% are male.

(Source: Kapis)

Profile of Instagram(Source: Kapis)

Instagram is an excellent platform for developing your brand’s image, reaching out to others with similar interests, and promoting your products.

Snapchat

In 2011, Snapchat was launched, and as of Q3 of 2021, it has 1.393 billion users ranking 12th of the world’s most “active” social media platforms. Marketers frequently dismiss Snapchat as a platform for teenagers, although the platform’s greatest age group (75%) ranges from 13 to 34.

Snapchat Stats:

  • Snapchat had 306 million daily active users around the world in October 2021.
  • India has roughly 116.0 million active users, whereas the United States has approximately 106.2 million.
  • 44.6% of Snapchat’s global users are male, and 54.4% are female.

(Source: Kapis)

Profile of Snapchat(Source: Kapis)

Snapchat is a great channel to show your creativity, reach nearby audiences, and demonstrate transparency.

TikTok

In 2016, TikTok was launched and became a powerhouse a few short years later in 2018. As of September 2021, they have 1 billion global monthly active users. 

TikTok Stats:

  • In 2020, TikTok was the most downloaded app globally (850 million downloads), followed by WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. (Source: Apptopia)
  • TikTok Users Spend More than 850 Minutes Per Month on the App (Source: Statista)
  • In 2021 it was the most popular iPhone App Downloaded in the U.S. in 2021(Source: Apple App Store)
  • The United States of America has 120.8 million active TikTok users aged 18 and above. (Source: Kapis)
  • 56.1% of TikTok’s global users are female, with 43.9% being male (Source: Kapis)

Profile of Snapchat(Source: Kapis)

TikTok is an excellent channel for brands to express their personality, keep up with the trends, and make memorable impressions.

What Are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses?

1. Social Media Marketing Helps You Connect With Your Audience Anytime, Anywhere

Because social media is mobile-friendly (if not mobile-based), you can market your business no matter where you are and reach your clients no matter where they are if you have a smartphone.

Are you waiting to see the doctor? Post a promotion or provide an update on a contest you’re holding. Inline at the coffee shop, did you happen to meet a potential client? Show them examples of your work by bringing up your Instagram album. It doesn’t get any easier than that for mobile marketing!

2. Social Media Marketing Is Affordable

Not only is social media one of the most powerful marketing methods, but it is also one of the most cost-effective strategies available.

  • Creating accounts on each platform is completely free.
  • Numerous free tools are available for creating content, shortening links, scheduling postings, and reporting.
  • Social media management tools range in price from free to $0-175+ per month.
  • It is one of the top three marketing channels in terms of ROI.

which marketing channels provide the best rol for your business

(Source: Contentive: 2018 B2B Marketing Survey Findings)

3. Social Media Marketing Humanizes Your Local Business

Social media not only enhances the look of your brand; it personifies it, laying the foundations for an emotional connection with your clientele.

Your social media activity and the historical feed you create generates a complete persona for your local business, including:

  • how you interact
  • what you look like
  • opinions you express
  • causes you support
  • values you stand for
  • interests you have
  • products and services you offer

In other words, it doesn’t just create your brand; it brings it to life by providing people with something concrete to connect with, engage with, and remember.

4. Social Media Marketing Amplifies Your Reach

The attractiveness of the “social” in social media marketing is that it can help to amplify your small business’s reach. Clients, fans, and followers will promote and market your business for you! They may: 

  • Make a post about your company and tag you in it.
  • Repost your posts.
  • Share links to your content on their feeds.

Your local company is now visible not just in your network but also in the networks of your followers!

5. Social Media Marketing Strengthens Your Online Presence

Of course, having profiles on these massive online networks ensures more digital exposure, but social media marketing enhances your online presence in more ways than one.

Here are three ways social media can help with your online presence:

1. Social Media Can Increase Your Website Traffic

With the ability to publish posts that link to your website or blog posts and include a website link in your profiles, social media marketing can drive traffic to your website for FREE! In fact, according to the Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 88% of all marketers surveyed indicated that their social media efforts had generated more exposure for their businesses.

benefits of social media marketing

2. Improves Ranking

While Google has not explicitly identified social media as a ranking component, there is little doubt that social signals increase your organic rankings.

3. Enhances Your Appearance in Search Results

Google includes some social media accounts on its search results pages, so if someone searches your company name on Google, you might be on the first page!

6. Social Media Marketing Lands You More Clients

Your social media marketing will undoubtedly result in more clients if you focus on communicating with your clients anywhere, expand your reach, humanize your brand, and increase your online presence.

In the Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 60% of marketers saw improved sales from social media, up from 59% in 2020.

How to Get Started With Your Local Social Media Marketing Plan

While you may be anxious to start reaping the benefits of social media marketing, your best bet is to move slowly and cautiously as your long-term success necessitates carefully laying a solid foundation.

The following are the four most critical stages to get started:

1. Define Your Target Audience on Social Media

Your marketing success is contingent on how well you know your target audience. This isn’t just their age and where they live, but also:

  • How they live
  • Their lifestyle
  • Their pain points
  • Their desires
  • Their concerns
  • Their interests
  • Their fundamental beliefs
  • Their hobbies
  • Their habits

Make sure you have a good handle on the details listed above, and then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Which groups in my buyer personas use social media?
  2. What platforms do they use?
  3. When do they sign on? What time of day? What days of the week?
  4. How much time do they spend on the platform?
  5. What device are you using?
  6. What do they see on their feeds?
  7. What do they search for and explore?
  8. What are they posting about?
  9. Who else do they follow?
  10. What topics and content forms are they interested in or engage with?

Answering these questions will help determine what to share, when to share it, and on which platform to share it on in order to generate emotional connections with your audience, increase engagement, and build a devoted following.

2. Determine Your Larger Social Media Audience

One of the unique aspects of social media marketing is that your prospective clients make up a big chunk of your target audience, but not all of it. Because social media platforms are massive communities, your target audience may also include:

  • Businesses have similar audiences that are not competitors.
  • Individuals and businesses in your community.
  • Around the world, fellow business owners or industry professionals.
  • Influencers in your physical or virtual niche.

Keep in mind that each of these groups will interact with and share your material and vice versa, so keep them in mind while posting and engaging on social media.

3. Choose your platforms

While each social media platform has its own set of advantages, engaging your audience across all of them will not necessarily result in increased results for your local business. Several factors, including:

Your Target Audience

It is critical to understand your ideal clientele’s favorite platforms.

Your Marketing Objectives and Goals

Do you want to increase traffic? Facebook and LinkedIn are excellent resources for this. If you are concentrating on brand development? Instagram will become your best bet.

Your Time

Because social media is a real-time marketing platform, you must be active in order to see results. How much time can you fit into your weekly schedule?

Your Existing Content

TikTok is a good option if you have a lot of videos. Stick to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter if most of your content is blog entries and thought leadership pieces.

Although social media marketing is free, it does require time and effort. Frequent and concentrated attention on one or two platforms is preferable to sporadic efforts on all; therefore, choose the social media platforms wisely.

4. Set up Your Social Media Profiles

Complete profiles are required for social media marketing success! Visitors are more likely to go to your website, explore more of your content, contact you, and/or choose to follow you if you have more information readily available for them to consume.

A complete profile also ensures that your company appears in search results for any relevant searches, including local searches!. Fill out every section possible, keep the information up to date, and keep an eye out for new options and features.

Social Media Marketing for Local Small Businesses: Profile Setup

There is good and bad news when setting up your profiles on the various social media platforms. First, the bad news is that the specifications for every platform are different, and they change often. The good news is that the good folks over at Sprout Social have an informative post that is regularly updated. Be sure to check their social media image cheat sheet.

If you need help setting up your profiles and making sure they are optimized, reach out to us, we will be happy to help!

Local Social Media Marketing Tips and Tricks

Social media is a dynamic marketing channel that can convey your brand identity and personality. While establishing your expertise, you can interact on a deeper level with your audience and ultimately achieve your local marketing goals and objectives.

This will look different for every platform and business; however, there are some universal tips and tricks that you should follow to ensure you reach your goals while maintaining proper social media etiquette.

1. Engage with your followers

Because social media is just that, social and conversational, you can't just publish content or make a post and expect people to follow you or become clients. You need to be an active participant in the conversation.

It's crucial to give helpful content to show your knowledge and expertise, but you should also interact with your followers. Post polls, ask for their opinions on a topic, and ask for personal suggestions, books, or vacation spots, for example.

You also need to be prepared to engage back. Respond to their posts, like and follow them. There again, the social aspect of social media.

People want to be heard. Genuine engagements like this will automatically attract followers, keep them engaged, and transform them into clients and possibly brand advocates.

2. Acknowledge and Tag Others

Because social media platforms are ultimately communities, your local business is not the only one that can contribute valuable insights to your audience. Experts, specialty influencers, and reliable data sources should all be featured as part of your social media posts and strategy. You need to always be a contributor rather than just a consumer, reducing the pressure to create fresh content—lastly, tag clients, affiliates, and people in your posts. If you share an article on Twitter or LinkedIn, tag both the writer’s company and personal account. This extra step goes a long way.

3. Publish a mix of content

With social media marketing, your primary goal should be to serve your audience with helpful and engaging content, which will naturally promote your business.

This involves publishing content with a purposeful blend. The 70-20-10 rule applies here. Your posts should be:

  • 70% informational: Selflessly benefit your clients and followers with advice, education, news, updates, and insights.
  • 20% emotional: Connect with your followers by expressing your core values, company culture, fun or funny content, or inspirational content.
  • 10% promotional: Directly promote your business, goods, or services.

70-20-10 rule

This balance helps your visibility, credibility and profitability, not to mention making you more likable. When someone in your target market requires your product or service, your company is the first to spring to mind!

Of course, when producing informational content, you may (and should) represent your brand, culture, values, and even humor, but it’s also OK for a portion of your postings to be just fun or inspiring.

4. Stay Consistent

Every platform is different, but your tone of voice and fundamental messages should be similar across all social networks. Brand consistency makes it easier and allows your prospects to recognize, recall, and trust your brand more easily.

It’s also critical to maintain a consistent level of engagement and activity. You should avoid sporadic activity by scheduling your posts and scheduling time for real-time engagement. You’ll have a decreased danger of disappointing your followers if they have some concept of what to expect.

5. Rely on Analytics, Not Assumptions

Although intuition and follower feedback can provide a general idea of what interests and engages your audience, statistics and analytics will always be the source of truth you need to inform your local social media marketing plan. Most social media networks have analytics tools that provide impression, interaction, and share metrics, as well as audience insights. With this information, you can: 

  • Ensure that you continuously publish the most relevant content that people want to see or read.
  • Identifying top-performing posts to repurpose, reuse or reshare in the future.
  • Test and discover new content types with confidence.
  • Develop baselines and define measurable goals.

Analytics are essential if you want to improve your social media engagement constantly.

6. Monitor Other Accounts

As with any marketing strategy, it’s critical to pay attention to what other companies and brands are doing on their social media channels. This means following or monitoring accounts belonging to:

  • Your competitors: What are some of the things they do well that you could incorporate into your business? What do they lack so that you can fill a void?
  • Industry authorities: Keep up with current events and look for helpful content to share..
  • Non-competing businesses with similar audiences: What are the most popular topics or information? What else is going on in your followers' life that your social media marketing could address?
  • Other brands you like or share your values: This is a great way to get visual and emotional marketing inspiration.
  • Your clients/fans: Return the favor! Join a group. It is impossible to know too much about your target market. Furthermore, this is an excellent approach to stay current with trends.

Following these account types will allow you to stay competitive in the industry, stay on top of the industry and social media trends, and gain new ideas and inspiration.

7. Use Design and Automation Tools

As a local business owner, you’re probably already wearing a lot of hats to keep everything going well. Rather than managing your accounts manually, use social media marketing tools to save time.

  • Use social media automation tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Social Champ, or SocialOomph, to pre-schedule your post. The good thing is most of these offer a freemium model, so you can try it before you subscribe. They will also let you view your analytics all in one place and post to multiple platforms at once.
  • Creative tools like Canva or Adobe Creative Cloud Express (formerly Adobe Spark) can help you create appealing and branded visuals, which is a must for social media marketing.
  • If you are looking for industry influencers and exciting content, curation tools like ShareIt can help.
  • Link shorteners like bit.ly can keep your posts clean and shorter.

Learning a new tool may take some time at first, but in the long term, it will help you get the most return on your investment and free up more time for you to focus on operating your business.

And if you think social media platforms are solely for social media managers who spend their days staring at screens or influencers with large followings, think again! They’re just as crucial for the small-business owner who may interact more closely with a smaller audience across platforms.

8. Repurpose

Coming up with and developing content, in general, may be time-consuming, let alone doing it for social media. For this reason, repurposing is your best friend when it comes to social media marketing. Here are some examples of how you can repurpose your content for social media:

  • Create posts that link to your blogs and guides.
  • Make a post out of stats, brief lists, or noteworthy excerpts from your long-form content.
  • Make a video of yourself summarizing the main elements of a post.
  • Republish posts that connect to your evergreen blog content regularly.
  • Reshare past posts that have performed well.
  • Repost seasonal content
  • Repurpose TikTok videos for Instagram Reels or vice versa.

Not only is repurposing one of the top time-saving social media strategies, but it will also assist you in driving home critical messaging and engaging new followers without alienating your existing ones.

9. Add a Mix of Hashtags

On social media, you may search any topic preceded by the # sign to find any sites, posts, and profiles that use that hashtag across the entire platform. Furthermore, merely tapping on a hashtag initiates an automatic search for you. Using various hashtag types to increase your reach while targeting a specific audience is best.

10. Prioritize Visuals and Video

We always hear that Pinterest and Instagram are the two most visual platforms, but all social media platforms are visual in all reality. Clean, eye-catching, and uncluttered posts are the key to garnering engagement and standing out in your followers’ feeds. As part of LinkedIn’s best practices page says that “Images typically result in a 2x higher comment rate. We've seen custom image collages (3-4 images in one post) perform especially well for organizations.”

Here are some ideas for making your social media postings more visually appealing::

  • Make sure you have good featured photos published for your blog and website pages so you can utilize the image that automatically populates in posts that include links to your blog and website.
  • You could get creative with emojis or create an infographic with the information for posts without links.
  • Make sure that your profile and cover photographs are high quality.
  • When it comes to video, you can either post it straight to the site or record live sessions on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or TikTok.

11. Get Social With Your Website

Here is where and when your SEO strategy comes into play! You can use social sharing buttons to convert website visitors into followers and even promoters of your company. One way to do this is to add social icons to your site that link to your profiles. These icons work best when placed in the footer of your website (you don’t want users getting lost on the social media platform and forgetting why they were on your site), but you may also want to include them prominently on your contact us page or blog.

12. Be patient

Your social media marketing should not be aimed at gaining followers. Build an audience that will benefit from, engage with, and share your content. Your followers will value your content while bringing you new followers and insights, ultimately helping you achieve your marketing goals.

However, this does not happen overnight; it is only achieved by constantly providing high-quality content, expressing your brand’s voice and value, engaging with followers, and connecting with individuals.

Social Media Post Ideas for Local Businesses

There are seven main categories that small businesses should think about when it comes to posts. Those are:

  1. Self-promotion
  2. Company success
  3. Company culture
  4. Tactical and practical
  5. Educational
  6. Engaging
  7. Entertaining and creative

Be forewarned that not every one of these posts is suitable for every business; therefore, do what you think is best based on your industry and business.

1. Self-promotional Post Ideas

These social media posts are self-serving and aimed at buyers. They usually contain a call to action, such as “give us a call,” “click here,” with a link to a landing page or product or visit a physical location. Post types in this category include:

  • Promotions: discounts, deals, flash sales, promo codes, or limited-time offers
  • Products/services: product demos, product/service launches, feature releases, or current offerings, 
  • Social proof: case studies, success stories, reviews, or testimonials, 
  • Events: encouraging followers to visit at a trade show, visit your location for a special event, or other local events
Crenshaw School
Monitto Chiropractic
Asheville Performing Arts Academy

2. Company Success Post Ideas

These posts are self-serving and related to your products and services but less about sales. Instead, they celebrate your wins and invite your fans to join in. These include posts about and/or that contain links to:

  • Galleries: before-and-after photos, images of your completed projects, or of you/your employees on a job site
  • Achievements: Awards or reaching milestones such as reaching your Nth client
  • Client spotlights: Feature clients with unique or inspiring histories or follow up with former clients to see where they are today

Cube Creative Design LinkedIn Johnston Casuals
johnston casuals

3. Company Culture Post Ideas

Instead of self-serving, these postings are meant to promote your brand and personal connection with your audience.

  • Personal takes/experiences: Share your values or thoughts related to news and industry topics
  • Company history: Founding stories, fun facts, or blasts from the past
  • Behind the scenes: Share day-to-day work, experiences from office or company-only events, etc.
  • Employee spotlights: feature employee Q&As, anniversaries, new hires, and award-winners
monitto chiro instagram
crenshaw school instagram

4. Practical & Tactical Post Ideas

These social media posts have actionable content that shows your niche expertise. It helps to show your audience that your ultimate purpose is to help them solve their problems, not just earn a profit. They include posts about and/or that link to:

  • How-tos and tutorials
  • Tool and resource lists
  • Ideas and templates
  • Tips and strategies
  • Hour/location changes
  • Job postings

tonguethrust instagram

5. Educational Post Ideas

These posts don’t necessarily have to be actionable but are very useful. They show your industry knowledge and that you are up to date with current trends. The goal with educational posts and content is to build trust with your business and help your audience grow and make informed decisions. These type posts should include:

  • Industry statistics
  • Thought leadership
  • Industry news and insights
  • Best practices
  • Professional development or personal development tips
  • Conference or event takeaways

martha cogdill linkedin

6. Engaging Post Ideas

Your social media postings should be engaging, but some posts specifically invite and facilitate engagement, often directly within the post itself. These are:

  • Contests or giveaways
  • Questions, fill in the blanks, or caption contests 
  • Polls, feedback, or surveys
  • Recommendation requests
  • Discussions
  • Event invites

cube creative design linkedin quote

7. Creative and Entertaining Post Ideas

As stated earlier, social media is ideal for building a 360-degree profile of your small business. This includes your lighter side. These posts let your audience engage emotionally with your brand. They don’t have to be business-related, but they can be about your company values or your personality. These types of posts might include:

  • National day posts
  • Stories
  • Quotes or captions
  • Experiences
  • Memes and GIFs
cube creative design facebook may the fourth
cube creative design facebook content marketing

Final Thoughts

Social media has numerous platforms consisting of massive networks. To say that social media can be overwhelming is an understatement. If you are overwhelmed by all the options and opportunities, fill out the short form below. We will be happy to have a free no-obligation consultation and evaluate your social media to see if we can help you!