A guide to social media marketing for small business owners

A small business owner on their phone organizing social media marketing while bending over a desk with a notepad, pen, laptop, and a cup of coffee

For small business owners, social media marketing can be a powerful tool for connecting with customers and growing their businesses. Over 50% of consumers learn about new brands and products on social media.

With the right social media strategy, you can use social networks to build brand awareness, engage with customers and prospects, drive traffic to your website, and boost sales.

This complete guide covers all aspects of social media marketing for small business owners, so you have the knowledge to get started. By the end of this guide, you should have everything you need to build a successful presence on social media.



Why social media marketing is important for small businesses

Social media marketing is a powerful tool that small business owners can use to build their brand, connect with their target audience, and compete in today’s digital landscape. Here are some reasons why having an effective social media marketing strategy is a crucial part of any digital marketing plan:

The best social media platforms for small businesses

When it comes to promoting your small business and connecting with your target audience, social media platforms can be powerful tools. With so many options available, deciding which platforms are best for your business can be overwhelming. Here are some of the top social media platforms that small businesses can leverage to their advantage.


Facebook is undoubtedly one of the most popular and versatile social media platforms out there. With over 2.9 billion monthly active users, it provides an excellent opportunity for small businesses to reach a wide audience.

Facebook allows you to create a business page, engage with customers through comments and messages, share updates, and even run targeted Facebook ads to reach specific demographics.


If your business thrives on visual content, Instagram is the perfect platform for you. With its emphasis on photos and videos, Instagram allows you to showcase your products or services in a visually appealing way.

Use hashtags to increase discoverability, collaborate with influencers, and leverage Instagram Stories, Reels, and live streams to engage with your audience in a more interactive manner.


TikTok has exploded in popularity in recent years, especially among younger communities. Businesses of all sizes can appeal to Gen Z customers by offering products in a visually engaging manner.

This platform allows you to create short, entertaining videos that can quickly go viral. It's an excellent opportunity to showcase your brand's personality, creativity, and engage your audience with a sense of humor. Brands can even set up a TikTok Shop to drive sales out of the platform.

X (Twitter)

X (Twitter) is known for its fast-paced and concise nature. It's an ideal platform for businesses looking to provide real time updates, share news and announcements, engage in conversations, and participate in trending topics.

With its character limit, you'll need to craft compelling and concise messages to capture your audience's attention. X’s hashtag culture also makes it easier for your content to be discovered by users interested in similar topics.


YouTube is the go-to platform for video content. If your business can create engaging and informative videos, YouTube offers a vast audience hungry for content. It's an excellent platform for tutorials, product demonstrations, vlogs, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into your business.

YouTube also allows you to monetize your channel through ads and sponsorships, providing an additional revenue stream.


Pinterest is often overlooked but shouldn't be underestimated, especially if your business is visually oriented. Creating your own Pinterest pins will help users discover and save ideas, products, and inspiration.

Creating visually appealing pins can help drive traffic to your website, increase brand awareness, and potentially lead to sales. It's particularly effective for businesses in industries such as fashion, food, home decor, and DIY.

Remember, not all social media platforms will be equally effective for every business. It's essential to understand your target audience, their preferences, and the nature of your business to choose the platforms that align best with your goals. Experiment, track your results, and adapt your strategies according to each social media platform’s algorithm to make the most of your social media presence.

How to use social media for small business marketing

More sales, better reach, and improved customer relationships are great benefits of using social media for small business marketing. But how do you get started?

Whether it’s the first time logging in or looking to take your marketing campaigns to the next level, here are some social media tips to get started and optimize your impact.

1. Set up your social media accounts.

The first step in using social media for small business marketing is to choose the right social platforms for your business. This depends on your target audience, demographics, and preferred engagement style.

For example, if your target audience is primarily young adults, platforms like Instagram and TikTok might be more effective than Facebook or LinkedIn. If your target audience is primarily business-to-business (B2B), LinkedIn would most likely be more effective than Instagram or TikTok.

It’s important to research and understand the different demographics of each platform before choosing which to use.

Different types of content work better on different social media channels. Visuals like photos and videos work best on Instagram, while stories or snippets of information work better on X (Twitter).

2. Develop your content strategy.

Once you’ve chosen the platforms right for your business, develop a consistent content marketing strategy. This includes creating a consistent visual brand identity, tone of voice, and brand messaging across your social media profiles.

Plan your content to support your business goals by sharing promotions, special offers, and relevant content. The goal is to create valuable, high quality content that resonates with your target market.

Potential customers want to know what your company can do for them. Speak to their pain points and show how your products or services offer solutions. Use native social media marketing tools, such as Instagram Analytics, to gain a better understanding of your customers. Research what influencers they follow, brands they like, social media trends they engage with, and content they enjoy. Engage in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) research and competitive analyses to optimize your content and increase the chances of reaching your target audience.

Additionally, consider content that aligns with your business goals and products. If your business is a clothing brand, creating fashion-related content for Instagram Stories and Reels might be more effective than a tweet that lists the features of your new product.

Finally, create a content calendar to organize your strategy and frequency. Use a content scheduler to preplan and automate posting. Post when your target audience is most active and create content that drives clicks and conversions.

You have less than 50 milliseconds for people to form a first impression about your brand. If you want to stop them from scrolling, you need a strategy.

3. Build and engage your audience.

Once you have a consistent brand strategy and a content calendar, focus on building and engaging your audience. You’re already making social media posts in the formats your target market enjoys. What else can you do?

Social media is a great way to engage with your audience in real time. Comment, interact, and respond to comments and messages. Reshare posts in which you’re tagged. Almost 80% of consumers are more willing to purchase from a company after having a good experience with them on social media.

Also consider influencer marketing. Influencer marketing involves working with influencers in your niche to promote your brand. Influencers have a large following and are often seen as experts in their field, so partnering with them can help increase your reach and credibility.

Try promoting user-generated content (UGC) to increase authenticity, word-of-mouth marketing, and community building. Try encouraging customers to share their experiences, running contests or campaigns that incentivize UGC creation, creating branded hashtags, and actively engaging with customers who have created UGC.

Stay on top of your metrics. It’s important to measure the success of your social media marketing efforts and adjust your strategy as needed. This includes analyzing engagement rates, follower growth, and conversions.

Use tools like Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter Analytics, and Instagram Insights to understand your audience better, which type of content they engage with, and the best time to post.

4. Consider advertising on social media.

More than 90% of executives plan to increase social media marketing budgets in the next three years. Why?

Because social media marketing works — 93% of marketers worldwide use social media for marketing their businesses, and 49% of internet users are likely to purchase from brands they see advertised on social media.

Take advantage of the advertising options available on social media. This includes sponsored posts, boosted posts, and ads.

When advertising on social media, set a budget and create ad campaigns that align with your business’s social media goals. This includes identifying the target audience, selecting the appropriate platforms, and creating compelling ad copy and visuals.

Over 70% of businesses use social media data to make business decisions. Keep an eye on your campaign and budget to adjust your ad spend as needed. If one ad variation performs better than another, consider increasing the budget for that ad and decreasing the budget for the other variation.

Whether you’re advertising your e-commerce store with a carousel ad or sharing video content outlining how your marketing team can help businesses grow, you need to measure your return on investment (ROI).

This includes tracking metrics like click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and revenue generated from your ad campaigns. Businesses investing in social media marketing see an average return of $2.80 for every dollar spent.

If you aren’t getting results, tweak your campaign and adjust it as needed.

How much do small businesses pay for social media marketing?

Most businesses typically spend between $500 and $10,000 per month on social media marketing in the United States, including advertising. The cost of social media services varies depending on whether you outsource the services or use an in-house team.

Outsourcing is typically more cost-effective than building and managing an in-house marketing team.

Hiring a freelance social media manager can cost anywhere from $30 to $750 or more per hour — depending on their experience level. Hiring an agency can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000+ per month, depending on the number of social media platforms utilized and types of content developed.

Resources for small business social media marketing

Here are some resources to help improve social media marketing for your small business:

Keep in mind that not all of these resources are necessary for every business, and it’s important to choose the ones that best suit your needs.

Create social media content that engages your audience

Are you a small business owner looking to improve your social media presence? Adobe Express is a powerful tool that aids you in creating beautiful, engaging content that will help you connect with your audience.

With Adobe Express, you can choose from thousands of templates, fonts, and images to create custom graphics, videos, and stories. You can also use the intuitive design editor to make quick and easy edits.

Whether you're creating a new social media campaign or just updating your existing content, Adobe Express can help you take your social media game to the next level.

Try Adobe Express today