Social Media can help you market your business to new clients, but it can also be a big drain of time for small business owners and sole-traders. So is it all worth it? In this post, I’ll break down what I’ve learned over the past four years about using social media for marketing your small business.

Social Media for Small Business Marketing

Social media can be a great way to engage with potential new business, to get feedback from your clients on your products or service, and to drive engagement back to your website.

It can also be a huge time-drain. Creating and posting new content, answering questions and responding to comments all take time. That’s time spent away from running your business, creating products, and ultimately making money. So is it all worth it, and how can you identify the best social media platforms for marketing your business?

I’m no expert on marketing, but I’ve been running my small business, Sonic Eye, for four years now, and I’ve learned a thing or two about marketing, getting customers to my website, SEO (search engine optimisation) and how to get rankings. All while operating on a shoe-string budget, while starting up what is really a new idea.

I spent a small amount of money on an SEO expert when I first started up the Sonic Eye website, to try to build a good search engine optimisation into the site structure. Aside from that small investment, for the most part, I’ve done all of this work myself by learning along the way. I’ve spent time reading blogs, watching videos, getting to grips with the basics and trying things out. Trial and error can be a dangerous business in marketing; you need income, but it’s also a great way to find out what works – and what doesn’t – for your small business.

I still spend very little on marketing, and I’ve never spent anything at all on Facebook or Google advertising, mainly because I don’t have the money to spend. It’s needed for equipment improvements at this point in my business, and that’s had to take priority.

Sonic Eye is also still very much a ‘start-up’ in the sense that we’re still building up awareness and a solid client base for our service. A lot of our clients are one-time-only, for big events such as honeymoon videos, or videos for playing at a special event such as anniversaries, 21st birthday’s, or 50th birthday celebrations.

What I’ve learned about social media so far is that unless you’re able to post regularly, a lot of your content is going to get lost in the sea of material out there. On the flip side though, I’ve also found that my posts are often the way that potential clients find me. They see a post on Google, and they follow it back to Sonic Eye’s website.

From that perspective alone, posting content is definitely worthwhile, as long as you’re able to write or create something your possible clients will be interested in. So if you’re pressed for time (and what small business owner isn’t?) my suggestion is to check the platforms for their key audience, and choose maybe one or two platforms to start with, selecting those which have the right audience demographics for your business.

This information isn’t hard to find, for instance, follow this link for a summary from Sprout Social

It gives you a breakdown of who is using which social media platform, which you can use to decide which ones to focus on. For example, if your ideal client is a woman in their 40s, Facebook could be a great way to contact them. If you’re marketing to a younger age-group, Instagram may work better for you.

For Sonic Eye, I found that posting on Twitter didn’t seem to do a lot for us with local audiences, but it’s useful for connecting to an international audience who are interested in our action videos. Facebook has been our best avenue for connecting with new clients, particularly since the addition of video tabs in 2016, and otherwise good old Google search is still where we get most of our traffic.

Don’t underestimate the benefits of your social media activities for boosting your website rankings. It’s a slow process, but there’s no doubt in my mind it has a big impact over time. Be patient when waiting to see results from social media, checking your Google Webmaster Tools constantly looking for traffic isn’t going to tell you much, but by comparing changes over time (months, at the least) you will gradually start to see which platforms are working for your business, and driving potential clients to your website.

If your efforts aren’t working, look into why. Check the demographics again (maybe they’ve changed), and compare your posts to those of your competitors, or of writers and bloggers who are targeting the same, or similar audiences. Take on that information, and try something different.

Over the past four years, starting from scratch with no knowledge of how to build websites, SEO or social media marketing, I’ve found these websites helpful, with consistently high-value content, and useful tips. If you’re just starting up your small business, check them out.

Sprout Social – good source for social media marketing guides.

Hubspot – good info on content development.

Mashable – good general info and news that may be relevant for your small business.

Moz – good for technical guides, and how-tos on SEO, Google Webmaster Tools.

Disclosure: I’m not a client of any of these businesses, I’ve never spent a cent with any of them, and I don’t get any affiliate marketing dollars. I just know that I’ve found a lot of good, useful info on these sites over the past four years. I hope you do too!

If you’re interested in more tips for creating content that will boost your website rankings, head to our post on  DIY Business Videos.

    • Thalia is the founder of Sonic Eye video editing service.

Which sites have you found the most useful for social media guides? Do you have time for social media marketing for your small business?