Did you know the average person spends 147 minutes per day on social media?
Whether you’re trying to make your first sale or you’ve been open for business for a while, it’s always good to find more ways to market your business on social media.
Here are 15 top ways to grow your following and earn more sales for your small business.
15 ways to market your business on social media
- Start with a plan
- Choose the right social media networks
- Understand your target audience
- Add your website link and branded hashtags
- Cross promote on other social media sites
- Run Reddit ads
- Run Facebook ads
- Set up a Facebook and Instagram Shop
- Tag products in your posts
- Go live
- Run a contest
- Work with influencers
- Use the right digital marketing tools
- Get press coverage
- Track and refine performance
1. Start with a plan
Creating a social media marketing plan helps to align, coordinate, and focus an organization’s marketing and communications teams. It also ensures everyone is working toward the same goals and resources are being used efficiently.
Start by identifying your campaign’s overall objectives and goals. Common business goals you can set include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Generate leads
- Grow revenue
- Improve customer service
Next, figure out your target audience’s favorite social media platform. You can post content that’s tailored to each platform once you know where they are. If you know your audience is on TikTok, a short-form video strategy is critical to your social media success.
Check out your competitors and see which channels they succeed on. Determine what formats are working best for them and what they’re missing from their social media strategy (which you can fill in!).
Learn more: How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy
2. Understand your target audience
It’s easier to make content that resonates with your audience if you know who they are. The more you understand your audience’s needs and wants, the more likely you are to convert them into customers or clients.
To find your audience on social, take a look at your current buyers and understand who they are. A few questions you’ll want to answer are:
- Who is your current audience?
- What kind of information are they looking for? And why?
- Where do they go for information?
- What conversations are they having?
- Who do they trust?
There are a few ways you can learn about your social media audience:
- Ask them. This can be done through surveys, polls, or even just informal questions on social media posts.
- Look at demographic data from your social media accounts. This data can give you information about the age, gender, location, and interests of your audience.
- Use social media analytics to track engagement and learn more about what kinds of content your audience is most interested in.
Learn more: Finding Your Ideal Customer: How To Define and Reach Your Target Audience
3. Choose the right social media platforms for you
Now that you have all this insight about your audience, it’s time to choose your channels. Here are a few popular ones for ecommerce merchants.
Instagram’s visual focus is perfect for promoting products. Around 500 million Instagram users are on the app every day. Any brand would do well to share its products on this network.
There are several ways to use Instagram to promote your store. You can share captivating images of your products, post a stop-motion video of one of your products in action, run a contest, or reach out to influential Instagram accounts and ask them to share your product.
Monthly active users: 1 billion
Audience profile: 18–34 year olds
Learn more: The Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Marketing
Facebook is a social networking website where people can post updates, photos, and messages, as well as interact with groups. You can create a Facebook page and share images and video content with fans. Facebook also lets you run ads, livestream, create short-form videos, and sell products.
Monthly active users: 2.98 billion
Audience profile: Men and women aged 18–44
Learn more: Facebook Marketing: 11-Step Guide for Your Business
TikTok users are highly engaged, spending an average of 46 minutes per day on the app. They’re also highly receptive to marketing messages, with saying they’ve made a purchase after seeing a product on TikTok. This makes TikTok an ideal platform for businesses looking to generate sales and drive conversions.
TikTok is all about creative, engaging content, so if that’s something you don’t have the time or resources to produce, TikTok may not be the right platform for you.
You’ll also want to think long term when planning a TikTok strategy. TikTok isn’t a platform where you can just post a few videos and hope for the best. You need to produce frequent content and engage with your audience on a regular basis.
Monthly active users: 1.4 billion
Audience profile: Ages 18–34
Learn more: TikTok Marketing: Your Beginner’s Guide (+ Video)
Pinterest is the place to be if you want to buy or sell products online. Eighty-three percent of weekly Pinterest users make purchases based on what they see from brands on the platform. Not surprisingly, many people use Pinterest to build wish lists. This makes it a great place to promote products—especially well-designed products that photograph well.
Plus, pins tend to stick around for a long time. It’s not uncommon for pins to get viewed for months after they’re posted. Optimize your pins by posting when more people are online, using the right keywords, and using captivating images. You can even run contests to extend your reach.
Monthly active users: 450 million
Audience profile: Largely female aged 18–34
Learn more: The Complete Pinterest Marketing Guide
LinkedIn is a great way to connect with other professionals and potential customers, especially for B2B marketing. By creating a company page and sharing relevant content, you can reach a wide audience of people who may be interested in your products or services. It’s also helpful for connecting with influencers in your industry.
Monthly active users: 875 million users; active user count unknown
Audience profile: Business professionals aged 25–34
YouTube has become one of the world’s largest search engines for finding fresh content. What’s more, YouTube videos can also rank in traditional search engines like Google. This presents a huge traffic opportunity.
You don’t need to create a viral video to get results on YouTube. You can still promote your products with interesting or helpful videos. Many social media users may already be looking for your products or brand on YouTube. By creating a branded channel with your own videos, you can control the narrative.
Monthly active users: 2.68 billion
Audience profile: Mostly men aged 25–44
Learn more: Your Starter Guide to YouTube Marketing: Tips, Strategies, and Tools
Snapchat is a messaging app that allows people to send and receive photos and videos. These images and videos are called “snaps.” Snapchat also allows people to add text and drawings to their snaps.
You can use Snapchat to market your business by creating snaps that promote your products. Many retailers use Snapchat to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at their brand. For example, you could create a snap that shows customers how your products are made.
Daily active users: 383 million
Audience profile: Ages 13–24
Learn more: What to Post on Snapchat: 21 Fun and Creative Ideas
4. Add your website link and branded hashtags
Your social media bios are a great place to promote your website and branded hashtags. Most platforms allow for the inclusion of at least one URL, so make good use of it. Sustainable fashion brand Kūla sends Instagram users to its website, for example:
Many brands link directly to their homepage, but you may have a dedicated landing page for social traffic or any current campaigns or promotions.
You may also have a branded hashtag to promote your product or brand.
Branded hashtags help create a sense of community and connection among customers and followers. They can easily connect with each other and share their experiences within the hashtags thread.
See how fast fashion retailer Fashion Nova uses the hashtag #NovaBabe to build community around its brand. Women regularly share their Instagram content with the branded hashtags, which enters them into a feed with more than 1.7 million posts. All this user-generated content is free, advertising Fashion Nova at zero cost.
Shoppers can browse the different looks and see real people wearing the brand’s clothes, then continue on to Fashion Nova’s store to purchase.
5. Cross promote on other social media networks
Cross promotion is a marketing technique you can use to promote your brand on different social media channels. It helps you reach a wider audience using less resources. For example, you can record a video on TikTok, publish it there, then repost the same video on Instagram and Twitter.
Manifesto Mocktail & Coffee Bar, for example, repurposes its Instagram Reels on its TikTok channel:
6. Run Reddit ads
While most businesses don’t use Reddit ads, they can be quite effective. In fact, sometimes the least-used advertising networks are the most profitable, because the cost is lower and there’s more opportunity to stand out.
Try advertising on Reddit to promote your product. You can create a sponsored post in subreddits related to your business. Use it to talk about your product and offer a discount. The key is to make sure it blends in with the other posts in the subreddit.
7. Run Facebook ads
Facebook ads are a form of social media advertising that lets you promote your business on Facebook and Instagram. You can target these ads to specific groups of people based on interests, demographics, and behaviors.
The ads can appear in:
- Facebook and Instagram feeds
- Facebook Marketplace
- Facebook and Instagram Reels
- Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger Stories
- Facebook and Instagram search results
- Facebook and Instagram Explore
- Audience Network
- Oculus Mobile
You can run ads for many reasons, like growing your email list, building brand awareness, or creating hype for a new product launch, like the Pura Vida Bracelets ad below.
When creating your ads, remember to be authentic. Show real people using your products, test different ad types, and identify the metrics that matter most to your business. You’ll want to make sure all your ad elements tie in to your main advertising objectives.
Learn more: 8 Facebook Ad Templates for Building Campaigns
8. Set up a Facebook and Instagram shop
You can take your social media marketing a step further by adding a Facebook and Instagram shop to your profile. This option makes it easier for people who discover your products on Facebook and Instagram to buy them.
If you have a Shopify store, add Facebook as a sales channel. You’ll be able to create your own Shop on your profiles where fans can learn about your products, look at pictures, and click the Buy button to make a purchase.
9. Tag products in your posts
Shoppable posts are Instagram posts that include a product catalog and a Shop Now button. Retailers can use shoppable posts to showcase their products and make it easy for customers to purchase them.
For example, a retailer could post a picture of a model wearing a new piece of clothing from their collection and include a product tag. Shoppers can then click the tag to be taken directly to the product page, where they can learn more about the product and make a purchase.
Sustainable athletic apparel brand Girlfriend Collective leverages product tagging on Instagram to promote the products it sells on its Shopify site. Users can tap through to purchase the items they see in the photo.
10. Go live
Many businesses are already promoting themselves with livestreaming tools. Although you’ll no longer be an early adopter, fewer companies do short, live video well versus, say, posting tweets or Facebook updates.
There are many ways you can use livestreaming to promote a product. In particular, you can use Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitch, or TikTok LIVE to offer a demo of your product, answer questions through a Q&A, and even take your customers behind the scenes to show them what’s special about the way you do things.
11. Run a contest
Contests are an easy and affordable way to get your brand in front of a lot of people. By giving away your product, you can make sure your contest gets in front of the right kind of people: potential customers.
However, many contests fail. There are a few key mistakes to avoid when running a contest to promote your business. Make sure the platform, the timing, the messaging, and the steps people have to take to enter your contest are well thought out.
Read more: How to Run an Instagram Giveaway: Ideas + Tips
12. Work with influencers
Research from Glossy and Launchmetrics found that micro-influencers (accounts with less than 100,000 followers) offer the most social media value. Coming out of the pandemic, people are looking for real connections when it comes to brands and products.
Partnering with influencers helps you tap into their follower base, whether they have 5,000 or five million followers. When a follower sees an account they follow promote your products, it’s more likely they’ll buy. It also creates a positive association with your brand.
Explore more influencer marketing examples from Shopify store owners:
- 3x Sales in One Year: Lounge Underwear’s Story of Building a Multimillion-Dollar Industry Disruptor
- How This Dinnerware Brand Grew Through Influencer Gifting
- The Case for Partnering with Influencers While They’re Still Small
13. Use the right tools
It’s hard to keep up with the pace of social media without social media management tools. These tools help automate posts, track engagement, and analyze data to help you better understand your audience and how to reach them.
Some top tools we recommend are:
- Canva for creating social media content
- Shopify Inbox for improving engagement
- Sprout Social for measurement and analytics
- Instagram Shop by Sauce for social commerce
- Buffer or Hootsuite for all-around social media management and content calendar
- Brandwatch for social listening
As a small business owner, you’re busy enough as it is. Using the above social media tools can help you find, engage, and convert your audience on various social platforms.
14. Get press coverage
Getting publicity is a great way to reach new customers and help more people discover your brand. Mainstream journalists are inundated with press releases and pitches for stories. Improve your odds by targeting bloggers instead.
Instead of sending bloggers press releases, reach out with a personal email and ask if you can send them a sample. You can also direct message them on Instagram or TikTok to set up a partnership. Target bloggers in your industry, product-focused websites, and even social media influencers.
15. Track and refine performance
Social media is a fast-paced environment, and what works today may not work tomorrow. By tracking performance on a regular basis, you can quickly adapt your social media marketing strategy to stay ahead of the curve.
Analytics can provide valuable insights into the demographics of your customer base, which can be used to tailor future social media campaigns. For example, if you notice that a particular social media campaign is popular with a certain age group, you can target future campaigns specifically at that age group.
Tools like Sprout Social can give you insight into how each social profile performs. For example, you can easily check how your Instagram Business Profiles are doing.
Reaching a large number of potential customers through social media is very cost effective. To maximize the return on investment for social media marketing, it’s important to track which campaigns work best for reaching, engaging, and converting.
Achieving your social media marketing goals
Products don’t sell themselves. Fortunately, there are many ways to build your social media presence and make sales online. With the social media marketing tips above, you’ll be well on your way to creating high-quality content that converts—and growing your business.