You’re going to read tons of articles and blogs about exploring your audience, creating a content calendar, and hashtags (don’t forget those hashtags!). These are great and very important to a marketing strategy. But you’re a small business owner, time is valuable and you’re simply trying to get your marketing efforts off the ground. The guidance and advice in this blog is based on an understanding that you don’t have a marketing team behind you, you might not love social media, or you just do not have a lot of time.

The key to getting started on with your small business social media marketing is to simply create a presence on the social media channels where your customers are active. Yes, this might take a little bit of research, but you can also rely on your gut to guide you. If you are not in a professional industry, don’t worry about LinkedIn. Does Twitter makes your head explode trying to keep the character count low? Skip it. If you have the opportunity to showcase your business visually, Instagram is ideal for photos. Facebook is a catch all, and a business page on Facebook can serve many as a small website.

This is all to say, you can do whatever makes sense to your business. So, here are three simple steps to getting your small business active on social media.

@runviably Super easy post ideas for your #businesssocialmedia accounts. #smallbizownersoftiktok #smallbizmarketingtip #smallbizsocialmedia ♬ Summer day – TimTaj

Step 1: Name your social media pages.

One of the most common small business pain points with social media is simply knowing where to begin. You know social is a powerful advertising tool for many businesses, but you don’t know how to get started. So let’s make it easy: create your social handles and page names.

As I’ve mentioned before, when selecting your page names and handles make sure they are consistent. If you do decide to get going on multiple channels, you want it to be easy for customers to find you, so use the same handle for everything. It should incorporate your business name. Whatever you do, do not change the spelling of your business name to fit a handle. If your business name is long, consider an acronym–like LKG for Lake Gaston or OBX for Outer Banks. These initials resonate well within the area the business resides.

If your business name is taken (and there is a good chance it is), think through some variations. Do you need to add an _ to show spaces in your name? Can you add an action to the front of your name like “go” or “run” or “get”? If your business is an “inc” or “llc” would adding that help you get your business name?

Step 2: Update your “About” sections on social media.

Ensure the details of your business are accurate and updated in the “About” areas of each profile. If you get going on social media, there is a good chance that if someone searches your business name on Google, one of your business social channels will pop up in the top of the search results. It is imperative to update the About section on your social media profiles. This includes (but is not limited to) your full business name, website, phone number, hours of operation, and a short business description.

If you want to take it a step further and use Facebook (for example) to engage with your customers, make sure the direct messaging is set up to route to your phone (and that you get a notification).

Step 3: Start posting! (Here are some ideas.)

Post. It’s that simple. Determine what level of consistency you can maintain because social media cannot be a “set it and forget it” strategy. Once you’re there, you have to keep things going. If once a week is all you can maintain that’s ok! The key is that when someone comes to your profile, the last post they see isn’t from 18 months ago. They shouldn’t be wondering if the business is even operating anymore.

I know, I know…It’s all easier said than done. Get started with some very simple social media ideas for small business:

Weekly employee spotlights

Once a week, highlight someone from your staff. Not only does this keep you active on social media, but it’s a morale booster for your team and a chance for customers to get to know them.

Specials or promotions for the week

If you’re a restaurant owner, share drink specials or meal specials for the week in a post. If you are a shop or a service-oriented business, share a promo code or discount for customers who follow you on your social media pages–this doesn’t have to be weekly, but monthly will keep them coming back for more.

Photos of the business in action

It might not seem like you do something worthy of a photo, but customers just want to see who they are doing business with. This business is your passion, so you own the opportunity to showcase in whatever way you’d like. Take a picture of the front desk team welcoming people in on a Monday, a beautiful meal, or freshly completed lawn maintenance. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a way to show your business.

Customer reviews/testimonials

Almost every digital channel has an opportunity to collect reviews. Facebook and Google My Business are easy ways to collect reviews, so make sure you are sharing the good ones! Take one sentence and put it on a vibrant background, then you have an image post that you can share across multiple channels.

Share content

Maybe long form writing is more your speed. Maybe you’re an avid reader. Share news articles that are relevant to your business–just make sure you add to the post why you think it’s relevant. Share blog posts that you’ve written or website updates that you’ve made.

Taking these first steps to getting your small business social media off the ground will be beneficial to not only growing your prospective base of customers, but give your team something to work on together.

You don’t have to do this all on your own, ask for customers or team members to share photos. Follow other companies, competitors, or even those you aspire to emulate, and see what kinds of posts generate shares and likes. There are social media ideas for small businesses all around you. You might be a one-man band, but what you might think is mundane in your day could be a really amazing share for your brand. And, if you’ve completed these and you’re ready to broaden your reach, we will talk about budgeting and advertising in an upcoming blog post!