| Jul 20, 2023 | | 12 min read

The dos and don’ts of social media management for small businesses


In the bustling world of social media management for small businesses, every post, like, share, or comment can make a difference. For digital marketers and social media managers, this world is your playground—as long as you know how to navigate it efficiently.

Social media is an important communication channel. Ensure you create content that connects with your audience by downloading our free “White-label social media checklist” now.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional at selling social media packages or a novice with a desire to learn, this guide will shed light on the dos and don’ts of small business social media management, so you can help your clients build a large and effective online presence.

Dos for a marketing agency when doing social media management for small business clients

Don’t be mistaken, social media success isn’t just about uploading visually striking photos and adding a catchy caption. Instead, navigating social media for small businesses is a delicate art that requires strategy and savvy.

1. Establish clear goals

Goals set the state for effective social media management for small businesses. They provide a roadmap, directing your strategy towards meaningful, quantifiable outcomes.

As you create a strategy for your clients, focus on what they want to achieve through social media. Is it to foster brand recognition, increase customer engagement, generate website traffic, or escalate sales? Each of these goals demands a unique approach, content style, and engagement technique that will direct your entire strategy. Aligning these unique goals with your clients’ broader business objectives also creates a cohesive and powerful marketing narrative.

Keep in mind that goals should follow the SMART framework, meaning they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Setting actionable tasks for your goals and measuring progress regularly can make you as much as 40% more likely to achieve them (Gail Matthews Goal Research Summary).

2. Conduct audience research

Understanding your clients’ target audiences is the cornerstone of effective social media management for small businesses. Conducting thorough research enables you to tailor your content and engagement strategies to your audience’s interests, habits, and needs.

Audience research is about knowing who your customers are from basic data like their age and location down to their interests, wants, and needs. The information you learn when conducting research can also help you foster meaningful connections and long-term relationships with new and old clients. Remember, social media isn’t a one-way street, it’s a dynamic platform for interaction. The more you know your audience, the better you can serve them and at the end of the day, that’s the key to small business social media management.

3. Create a content calendar

One ‘do’ that can’t be overstated in social media management for small businesses is the creation of a content calendar. This organizational tool is pivotal in planning and scheduling your posts in advance. Regular, consistent posting keeps your brand fresh in the minds of your followers. Believe it or not, the average business posts 11 times per day across all social media platforms (Sprout Social) so if you’re on a once per week schedule, make sure to fill out your calendar and stay ahead of the curve.

A well-structured content calendar also helps you balance content types and allows you to stay prepared for key dates and events that are relevant and exciting to your industry or your target audience.

4. Engage with the audience

Engagement is the lifeblood of social media. For small businesses, it’s not enough to just post content; you need to interact with your audience. Respond to comments, answer queries, and join in on relevant discussions to humanize your brand and build a strong rapport with your followers.

You can also engage by acknowledging user-generated content or sharing customer testimonials. Just keep in mind that social media is a two-way conversation and it’s up to you to actively participate if you want to get your brand out there.

5. Use visual content

Visual content is a powerful tool in your social media small business toolkit. Images, infographics, videos, and even GIFs can make your content more exciting, more engaging, and most importantly, more shareable. These visual elements tell a story quickly and can express complex ideas succinctly. They evoke emotions, spark curiosity, and compel your audience to take action.

6. Monitor analytics

In small business social media management, monitoring analytics is an indispensable practice. Social media platforms and third-party or white-label social media services can provide you with a wealth of data that gives you insight into your audience’s behaviors, preferences, and interactions with your content and content posted by industry competitors. Track metrics like engagement rates, shares, likes, comments, and audience growth regularly.

7. Stay updated with trends

Staying abreast of current social media trends is crucial if you want to maintain a presence online. Trends reflect what’s current, what’s being talked about, and where the attention of your audience is. Leverage trends creatively to increase your visibility and audience engagement but remember, always make sure the trends you follow align with your brand.

8. Encourage user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful asset for small businesses on social media. Encourage your audience to share their experiences to foster community and authenticity with your followers. UGC can take forms such as reviews, testimonials, unboxing videos, and creative uses for your products.

9. Experiment and iterate

The dynamic nature of social media encourages experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try new content types, engagement strategies, or marketing campaigns. Analyze the results, learn from successes and mistakes, and always be ready to iterate. This cycle of experimenting and refining helps keep your social media strategy fresh, innovative, and effective.

10. Collaborate with local influencers

Collaborating with local influencers is an effective tactic for small business social media management. These influencers have a dedicated following and the trust of their communities, which can help extend your reach and build credibility.

Whether through sponsored posts, product reviews, or giveaways, this partnership can generate buzz around your brand. However, ensure the influencers you collaborate with align with your brand values and appeal to your target audience. A well-chosen collaboration can be a win-win situation, improving the influencer’s content and brining your business closer to potential customers.

Don’ts for a marketing agency when doing social media management for small business clients

1. Neglecting social media monitoring

When it comes to managing small business social media accounts, monitoring platforms is just as important as creating content and engaging with the audience. Ignoring this crucial aspect can keep you blind to valuable insights and potential crises. Social media monitoring involves tracking mentions of your brand, competitors, products, and relevant industry keywords. It also helps you understand the sentiment around those topics and spot customer service opportunities.

Social media monitoring is your business’s pulse check. It helps you stay proactive, responsive, and informed. Without effective social monitoring, you risk missing important conversations that could damage your reputation.

2. Using excessive automation

Although automation has the potential to be a pillar of social media management for small businesses, excessive automation can rob your social media presence of its authenticity and personal touch. Automated responses generated by artificial intelligence often feel robotic and out of context, and they might not accurately reflect your brand’s voice. Even worse, they might respond to customer concerns inadequately.

While automation is generally useful for certain tasks like scheduling posts and social listening, it doesn’t yet have the ability to replace genuine engagement and human interaction. Striking the right balance is the key to a warm, authentic, and effective social media presence.

3. Ignoring negative feedback

On social media, users are 63% more likely to click on negative information (AdWeek). Keep this in mind when bad reviews or complaints come in and when you see them, take time to respond in a constructive and empathetic way. Responding to negative feedback can resolve issues and turn disappointed clients to repeat clients, and it showcases your commitment to customer satisfaction, potentially helping to drum up new business for your small business client.

4. Over-promoting

While promoting your products or services is a key function of social media, beware of over-doing it. Excessive self-promotion can be off-putting and in many cases, it leads to a dramatic reduction in your follower count.

The beauty of social media lies in its ability to create meaningful connections and engage in genuine conversations. Strive for a balanced mix that informs, entertains, and engages, along with promoting your products or services. Remember, building relationships with your audience is just as important for your brand as making the sale is.

5. Neglecting competitor analysis

When it comes to social media management for small businesses, competitor analysis is a crucial yet often neglected tool. Keeping tabs on your competitors’ social media activities can offer valuable insights. You can observe their engagement strategies, the kind of content they post, how they handle customer services issues, and even how they leverage trends, to gain a competitive advantage over them.

By understanding what works well for the competition, you’ll find it easier to identify potential opportunities for your own strategy. At the same time, noticing where they fall short can highlight gaps that your business can fill to stand out in the crowd. Their successes and failures can serve as practical lessons to effectively shape strategies for your client’s social media pages.

Remember that competitor analysis isn’t about copying or comparing but about learning, differentiating, and carving out a unique space for your client’s brand in the social media landscape. By consciously integrating it into your social media management plan, you can ensure your clients’ businesses stay competitive and resonant with their audience.

6. Ignoring platform-specific best practices

Each social media platform has its own rhythm, audience, and best practices. Ignoring these nuances can limit the effectiveness of your small business social media management plan.

For example, Instagram thrives on visually striking content, Twitter favors concise and timely information, and LinkedIn prioritizes professional networking and thought leadership.

Each platform also has a unique algorithm that dictates how content reaches your audience. By tailoring strategies to align with these platform-specific best practices, you can maximize reach, engagement, and overall impact. It’s about harmonizing your brand voice while speaking the language of each platform.

7. Ignoring data-driven insights

Ignoring data driven insights in your small business social media management strategy can be a costly mistake. Analytics and performance data serve as compasses, guiding your social marketing plans toward success. They offer quantifiable evidence about what’s working, what’s not, and why.

From understanding the best time to post and the content types that resonate most to accessing the demographics of your most engaged followers, data provides some extremely valuable insights. Use these to optimize your social media strategies, refine your content creation, and further engage your audiences.

Data-driven insights also help you make informed decisions. Instead of relying on guesswork or intuition, you can use hard numbers to measure success and drive change. Ignoring these insights means missing opportunities for growth and improvement. So, leverage the power of data to ensure you’re building a social media strategy that’s insightful, effective, and continually improving.

8. Disregarding community management

Community management is really the heart and soul of social media. It’s about taking care of your followers and creating a space where they feel heard and valued. You can’t just set up a profile and let it run by itself, you have to roll up your sleeves and get involved.

But, how? Start by chatting with your followers. Reply to their comments, answer their questions, and never forget to thank them for their feedback. These small interactions build connection and give your followers a sense of belonging. It also shows them that there’s a real person behind the brand who cares about their thoughts and experiences.

That said, it’s not just about reacting, it’s also about being proactive, too. Start discussions, ask questions, share behind-the-scenes snippets, celebrate milestones—anything that gets people talking and participating.

9. Overlooking content quality

Chances are you’ve heard the saying ‘quality over quantity,’ and it’s important to keep that in mind when it comes to social media management for small businesses. Sure, it’s important to post regularly, but what’s even more important is the content you post.

Every piece of content on your social media feed, whether it’s a photo, a blog post, or a tweet, is a reflection of your client’s brand. If it’s poorly written, low-quality, or just plain boring, that’s how your audience will perceive the brand. But if it’s well-crafted, engaging, and interesting, you’ll garner a lot more interest from followers.

Take time to create quality content. Make sure it’s relevant, valuable, and visually appealing. Your audience will thank you for it, and so will your client.

10. Forgetting to communicate with clients

Communication is key in any relationship, including the one you have with your clients. Just as you’d catch up with a friend to let them know what you’ve been up to, you need to do the same with your clients.

Keep them in the loop about how their social media is doing. Are engagement rates skyrocketing? Did a post not perform as well as expected? Let them know. They’ll appreciate being kept in the picture and it’s a great way to show them the value you’re adding to their marketing team.

Remember it’s not just about sharing the good and the bad, it’s also about discussing strategies and adjustments. If something isn’t working, be upfront about it and propose a new game plan. Just the same, share exciting ideas as they come up.

Open the lines of communication to ensure that you and your client remain on the same page. This keeps everyone happy and working toward the same goals.

Frequently asked questions

How can social media management help my small business grow?

Social media management can be a game change for your small business. It’s like a megaphone that amplifies your voice to reach more potential customers. By creating engaging content and interacting with your online audience, you build relationships and trust, which can lead to increase customer loyalty and more sales in the long run. Plus, through social media analytics, you’re able to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences, which helps you refine your offerings.

What are the best social media platforms for small businesses to focus on?

The best social media platforms depend on your goals and your target audience. That said, some platforms offer great potential for nearly every type of business. These include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.

About the Author

Solange Messier is the Content Strategy Manager at Vendasta. Solange has spent the majority of her career in content marketing helping companies improve how they connect with their prospects and customers. Her diverse background includes magazine publishing, book publishing, marketing agencies, payment processing, and tech. When she's not working, Solange can be found spending time with her family, running, and volunteering.

Share This