Use Social Media to Market Your Business

If you own a small business, you can save money by transitioning more of your offline marketing efforts to an online presence. Starting a social media account is free, easy, and can help you effectively boost your company's online presence. Learning how to market your business via social media can help you reach your current customers while also targeting potential future customers.[1]


Setting Up Your Social Media Platform

  1. Identify your target audience. Generally speaking, your business has a split target audience: there are your business's existing customers (your current assets), and your potential customers (your target customers).[2] A successful social media marketing campaign should make current customers feel heard and appreciated while also reaching out to potential customers in a way that promotes your business.[3]
    • Start by recognizing your current customer base. Are they generally young adults or middle-aged? Younger?
    • Think about the kinds of social media your existing customer base might be using. You can conduct an informal survey by asking customers, while they make their usual purchases.
    • You will need to make some predictions about your potential customer base. Look at the social media platforms of your biggest competitors, to see what demographics follow them online.
    • Start generating content that appeals to your customer base and includes specials and sales. You can also make content that explains your brand and how you're different from the competition.[4]
  2. Sign up for your social media platform(s). Once you have identified your target audience, you are ready to sign up for a social media account. Social media accounts are free and are generally easy to manage, but you will want to check each platform's guidelines and user terms as the relate to business accounts; they may be different from those for personal accounts.[5] Some of the most common social media platforms include:
    • Facebook: This platform is best if you are trying to reach a broader audience across multiple demographics.
    • Twitter: This is another popular social media platform, but predominantly popular with millennials and other younger generations.[6]
    • Google+: As it is linked to Google, Google+ is considered the best social media platform for increasing your business's search engine optimization (SEO) results.
    • Instagram: This image-based social media platform is very popular among adolescents and adults under the age of 35.
    • Pinterest: This visually-themed platform works best if you have relevant images to share. It can be highly effective at targeting a female audience between 30 and 50 years old.
    • Yelp: This website allows customers to post photographs, rank your business, and leave reviews based on their service and experience. It is also a great way to advertise.[7]
  3. Consider using a social media manager. Many people think a social media manager requires the hiring of additional staff to manage online accounts. You can manage your online presence, however, without having to hire any additional employees, and still maintain control of your business's online presence. Online social media managers are generally free and can help you improve your business's social media presence while also tracking your online outreach.
    • Online social media managers like HootSuite and let you manage all of your social media accounts across all platforms on a single website.
    • You will be able to schedule posts and messages, review how successful your posts are at reaching your audience, and view any mentions of your business by users online.
    • These online social media managers are free, but there are also paid subscription managers.
    • A paid service like SproutSocial will allow you to create contacts from your social media followers to track how successful you are at engaging them.[8]

Reaching Your Customers

  1. Let people know you are on social media. You might gain some traction with people searching blindly for your social media page, but the best way to promote your online presence is by letting people know about it. Tell your customers that you are now online, or consider putting a little sign up next to your cash register or in your window. You can also provide the username or handle for your social media accounts on your business cards.[9]
    • Let customers know that you are increasing your online presence.
    • Make sure you follow or send friend requests to your regular, loyal customers.
  2. Find friends and followers online. Once you have established an online account, you will need to attract followers and friends who will view your posts. Start with current customers, and work towards reaching an increasingly broad audience of potential future customers.[10]
    • Try to reach out to current customers first. You want them to know that their loyalty is appreciated.
    • You should also reach out to your local distributors, including any businesses that sell or promote your goods.
    • You can expand your audience online by searching for keywords and trending terms, then liking and sharing those posts or following the local people or businesses who posted them.
  3. Start posting on social media. Your posts on social media should be more than just a self-promotion.[11] You can post information about your business, relevant information about the industry you work in, and share (or post your own) photographs of customers frequenting and enjoying your business.[12]
    • Post photographs to showcase your product. If your business involves a service instead of a product, take pictures of your employees working, or of satisfied customers smiling.
    • You can offer some type of deals for your followers. Hold a raffle where users have to share a post to be entered to win.
    • Keep your target audience in mind. If your customers tend to be retired, they may not know what hashtags are or what internet slang or abbreviations mean.
    • Remember that your social media platform is a representation of your business. You can have fun, but keep your posts professional.

Making Social Media Work For Your Business

  1. Listen to your customers. One of the best ways to foster a network of customer support online is by listening to what your customers say. Read the feedback that your customers give you and take it to heart. This can mean the difference between a returning customer and a former customer who will tell friends and family not to support you.[13]
    • Respond positively to all feedback, even if it’s negative.
    • Thank customers for their reviews and input. If multiple customers are saying the same things, you will need to consider implementing those changes, if possible.
    • Make sure you like and comment on any customer posts to your social media page.
  2. Specialize your social media presence. As much as you may want to appeal to every single person who views your social media page, that may simply not be possible. If that is the case, you may need to decide whether to keep a generalized social media presence, or one that specifically appeals to your target audience.[14]
    • Never willfully alienate anyone, whether they are a customer or not. However, do recognize that not every single person in your town will find your business appealing.
    • Remember that if you run a specialized business, you may simply be unable to tap into some potential customers.
    • If you tend to have a niche audience, share posts that will appeal to them.
  3. Be consistent with your web presence. You may be hoping that a social media presence will instantly boost your business overnight, and that does occasionally happen. However, overnight success is generally the exception to the rule. You will need to be patient and consistent with your online presence.[15]
    • Recognize that building an online presence and an online following takes time, and you'll likely need to take steps along the way to Boost Social Media Presence and attract followers.
    • How long this all takes will vary, depending on your customers, your target audience, and how much time and effort you spend online.[16]
    • Be consistent. Try to post updates every day, and take some time each day to like, respond to, or share customer posts.
    • Be patient. Having an online presence will not hurt your business. It will only help you, but you will only get out of it what you put into it.
  4. Use search engine optimization (SEO) methods. Search engine optimization, or SEO, involves altering your website and social media platform in order to better promote your business.[17] When you use SEO, your business's website and social media pages will show up higher in the search results when a customer uses Google (or any other search engine) to search for relevant terms.[18]
    • Start by identifying keywords and terms that a customer might search for. You can use plural words, but try to avoid too much repetition.
    • Include any common misspellings of your business name in your keywords, so that someone looking for you will still be able to find you easily.
    • Create meta tags on every single page of your website that incorporate those keywords.
    • Audit your SEO effectiveness on a regular basis. You can use auditing tools, like DeepCrawl or Search Console, to assess how effective your SEO efforts have been at reaching customers.[19]


  • Though not as popular as other options, Use Snapchat for Business can also be used to effectively promote your business.
  • Consider developing a mission statement and including it on your website and social media platforms. Communicating a focused, concise message to your customers can help them understand the function of your business and how it appeals to them.[20]