Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Do you want to see better results with your social media marketing? Who doesn’t? We're talking to Katie Brinkley at Next Step Social Communications about tips to help you do just that.

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Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Businesses



Tim Fitzpatrick
Do you want to step up your social media marketing efforts? Who doesn't? And that is why I have a special guest with me today. We're going to get into some awesome tips about how to make your social media more effective.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. Thank you so much for tuning in. And I am super excited to have with me today Katie Brinkley from Next Step Social Communications. Katie, welcome, and thank you so much for taking the time.

Katie Brinkley
Thank you so much for having me, Tim.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, absolutely. So how are you?

Katie Brinkley
I'm doing awesome. You know, I mean, it's right now it's summer and it's nice weather. Yesterday, we had a cooler summer day, so it was nice to be outside and just enjoy our Colorado, all the Colorado has to offer.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's it. It's hard to believe our summer is kind of coming to an end here a little bit.

Katie Brinkley
I know, right. As school is going to be starting soon. And it always feels like after my birthday, my birthday's in July, I always feel like, oh, the countdown is on for school to start.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, that's right. That's right. Well, before we get into it and start talking about social media, tell us a little bit more about what you do at Next Step Social, how you help clients?

Katie Brinkley
Well, we're actually pretty similar to Rialto Marketing. We've helped a lot of small businesses establish themselves online and create digital marketing and social media strategies to help them find new customers and create content that will keep their current customers engaged and keep their small business at the forefront of their customer’s minds for putrefying purchases. What I specialize in are social media marketing and email campaigns and Facebook and LinkedIn ad campaigns. So the overall strategy for social media, and it's a lot of fun just trying to help small businesses find their voice and create content to keep their clients interested and excited about their company.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, that's awesome. Well, if I know social media, people always have tons of questions around social media. It is very dynamic, as most marketing is these days, but it's always changing and people always have a ton of questions. So I'm super excited to get into this. And I think our first question really is the best place to start, which is I want to get active on social media. What do I do? How do I know which sites are going to be the right ones for my business?

Katie Brinkley
That is one of the biggest questions that I get asked whenever I start working with a new client. And I think that the biggest problem is that a lot of small businesses... It's hard to try and find the right channel that that makes sense for your company, and that's where I always recommend starting for 30 days and just going on every single channel with a different message scene where you get the most response and then take that 30 days and then focus on like two or three, three max. And it's there's no reason that you need to be on every single social media channel.

Katie Brinkley
I think a lot of small businesses say, OK, we've got to be on Twitter or Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and YouTube, and it gets overwhelming. And so then they go all in and then they get tired of it because they're like, oh, my gosh, this is way too much work. And then they ghost and just totally disappear.

Katie Brinkley
And there are ways that you can be online and have a strong social media presence without, you know, burnout.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, yeah. I think a lot of people get super excited about it and they bite off more than they can chew, you know? And so I think it is so much easier to find, like you said, that one, two, three channels, Max. Create a plan that you can follow and just be consistent. You know, it's I think so many people get into to social media thinking, oh, you know, I'm going to build this huge following in the beginning.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I really don't think that's what it's all about. I don't know the businesses. It's more laying ground cover, you know, at the beginning, which just it just helps you establish some credibility. I go to your website. I like what I see. I go to your Facebook page. I don't want to see that. The last time you posted was eight months ago. Right. So it's I see consistent posts. They're active. OK, cool. I'm I've got a good feeling about this business. That's really to me what most small businesses are doing in the beginning.

Katie Brinkley
That's exactly right. And I think that also I mean, you have to look at what each social media platform makes the most sense. I mean, if you're there are three-point two billion people on Facebook. So the odds are pretty high that if you are active on Facebook, your customers are there too. Instagram is also great. But if you are a store or a business that doesn't have a ton of photography, you can only make so many graphics or use so many stock images on your Instagram feed. People on Instagram want to see more of like behind the scenes type of posts.

Katie Brinkley
And it's so visual that if you don't have a ton of photography or images that you can put out there, it doesn't make sense for you to be on it. You have to look at your demographics too. What age group are you more focused on? Are you looking for millennial teens? TikTok might be great looking for the business owners and wanting to have that more B2B type of conversation and sales. LinkedIn is definitely a spot that you need to be.

Katie Brinkley
So there are different social media platforms for a reason and making. That's where you have to have a good strategy behind going in on social media before you just kind of go and start randomly posting on every single channel and just kind of creating a white noise.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, I totally agree. I think the other easy thing for most businesses to do as well as when you're trying to figure out where you need to be to look at your competitors, you know, I mean, it's you don't have to I don't have to have a Facebook account to go check out all my competitors Facebook pages.

Katie Brinkley
Yes. And as you say, it's great because if you are on Facebook and you establish yourself as a business page, you can follow five of your competitor pages and see how they did with their growth. You can see what posts that they did that did the best over the past seven days. So if you're like, wow, that video post of a drone over a home site, if you're a home builder, OK, let's we need to go out there and start doing drone videos of each of our models because those do really well on Facebook or on Facebook and on YouTube.

Katie Brinkley
So it's one of those things where Facebook is trying to make it easier for businesses to succeed on their platform. So it's making ways for your business to follow businesses like yours. So it's a great tool of the Facebook business manager if you want to follow your competitors... And the cars out there that your audience wants to engage with.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, yeah, absolutely, definitely need to check out your, uh, your competitors pages. Which posts are getting shares, engagement? Which channels are working for them? I think you've given some great tips as to how somebody can kind of hone in on that. So once I've made that decision here, I'm going to be on Facebook or I'm going to be on LinkedIn. How do I determine how often should I post? What types of content should I be posting, you know, to really figure out what's my game plan going to be?

Katie Brinkley
Yeah, and I think that that's one of the things where especially as a small business, you don't need a post every day. Again, don't overwhelm yourself with it. Posting every day and trying to find just something to get out there.

Katie Brinkley
I always kind of go by the mini-skirt rule, you know, long enough to keep it interesting and short, you know, but it's one of those things. It's the same with social media. Don't be posting every single day if you just have boring content that nobody is going to want to engage with. Keep social media as a tool to engage with your clients and their customers and put out the posts that you would want to see in your feed.

Katie Brinkley
So I try and kind of stick by the three to four posts per week, you know, quality over quantity and make them three or four really good posts. Try and kind of think of your posts as one post can be about your business. One like this is what your sale of the week is. Talk about yourself. You don't want to have all of your posts for every week, for every day, be all about just your business.

Katie Brinkley
Hey that buy from us, buy, buy, buy. Nobody wants to be seen that in their feet every day that they do. It's called an ad and no one's going to want to engage with it. So try and put outposts and content that is shareable. People want to engage with it. Ask your clients or your audience questions. I mean, if you ask a question on your Facebook page and they answer it, if you get a ton of response on it, there's a future blog post that you can use on your website, because obviously a lot of people have questions on this topic.

Katie Brinkley
So I think that there's, you know, try and do one post a week about sales, one post a week that poses a question that people will want to engage with. Something shareable, have something about one of your employees. So if it’s one of your employees ten year anniversary at the company, do a short little employee focus on them and give people kind of like, I like to say, the keys to the back room of your company because they're going to want to come back and do business with you when they feel like they actually know you.

Katie Brinkley
You're not just a computer screen, you're not just a storefront. They know the people that work there. And when they have that sort of connection with you, they're going to want to do business with you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, yeah, I totally agree. The types of posts that we see getting the best engagement are the ones that show that you're not just a company. There's people behind that company. It's social media. You need to be social. You need to show people that you're human. And so those types of posts, you know, hey, we volunteered at the local nonprofit this weekend and got a picture of what's going on with your people. Those types of things tend to do really, really well.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I also think video in all its forms.

Katie Brinkley
And that is the thing if you can do video that is huge because you can repurpose it in so many ways and a video gets especially on Facebook, it gets so much higher ranked and the algorithm that more people are going to see it and especially to if you can add captions to it. I know a lot of my clients that I work with, they say, well, I don't want to be in front of the camera.

Katie Brinkley
But the thing is, is with our phones, people are used to this type of selfie interaction. They're used to just being taken on a tour with a handheld phone. So you don't have to have high-quality video equipment. And like a production team, if you do, that's fantastic. But I mean, don't overthink things. Give people the. Stories like that, Kitty, here at XYZ shop just won't let you know that we're having a sale on this shop today.

Katie Brinkley
Come on down and see it instead of just talking to people. Yeah, and it will make a world of difference because people will see you and their feet and feel like you're talking directly to them. And again, like you said, being social.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, absolutely. That is a great lead-in to our next question, which is how can we make social more social, right? It's not if you really want to engage your audience and build the following, you can't just post twice a week. Right. So what do we do o take it up a notch?

Katie Brinkley
Well, the caption here is perfect. How can you make social media more social? And that is one of the things that is one of the reasons why I enjoy working with small businesses so much is just teaching them on how to be social on social media.

Katie Brinkley
And I think that that's been lost a lot with different businesses and companies is that they end up have they turned into the annoying guy at the party that corners you and just talks about himself for 40 minutes and you're like, OK, so what I do is and then they turn around and leave the party before you get a chance to even say anything.

Katie Brinkley
And that's the way I see a lot of these businesses being online is they're only talking about themselves. They're not telling you anything about their actual company. They're just trying to sell to you. And you don't want to be that annoying guy in the room. You don't want to be the guy that only goes and talks about himself. You have to remember that social media is social. How do you want to see the posts on your social media feed? Do you want to just be sold to every day?

Katie Brinkley
No.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Right.

Katie Brinkley
Create the content that people want to engage with and make it so that your clients and your customers, your audience feel like they get to know you because that's going to bring them back. That's going to make them want to do business with you when they feel like they know you and what you have to offer.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, yeah, I totally agree. You know, the other thing that I, I think is really effective, it does it takes time is, you know, you got to share other people's stuff.

Katie Brinkley
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You mentioned people.

Katie Brinkley
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Make comments on other people's posts. That is how you are then going to get in front of people.

Katie Brinkley
And that's why you and I are in business. I mean, it is a full-time job to do social media the right way. If you can't like I have people where they just will post something and then they walk away. Don't post and ghost. I mean, you have to spend time on the platform and engage with other like on LinkedIn. You can follow relevant hashtags that relate to your business and you can go in and comment on other people's posts as your business.

Katie Brinkley
And when you comment on it, it's going to show up not only in that person's feed, it's going to show up in their friends' feeds. Yeah, if you like, on Instagram, another platform where they encourage you to be active on their platform. So if you just post a picture on Instagram and then. All right, I'm done for the day. You're not going to no one's going to see your post. You have to spend time.

Katie Brinkley
And I say at least ten minutes a day on Instagram engaging with those relevant hashtags. You have to spend time searching out people in your feed and commenting on their posts and letting them know like, hey, I see you. It's it is just like going to a party. You have to talk to other people. You have to engage with other people. And. Oh, yeah, well, I'm at the party. I met this guy Tim.

Katie Brinkley
I'll bring Tim in to come and join our conversation.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes.

Katie Brinkley
Like you said, tagging other people that are relevant to the post. And it's just going to increase your what's the correct word here of your credibility and... Yeah. Your credibility and kind of establishing more as a thought leader because you're talking about the big overall picture. And, hey, I'm also listening to these other industry leaders and what they have to say. And I think it's so good I’m going to stare at my feed even though it's from a competitor or if it's from a similar type of business. If you establish yourself like there's other people that have good things to say other than me, people are going to like that and they're going to want to follow you business with you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I think it also shows confidence to when you do that, you know, it's like, hey, there's plenty of business out there for everybody sharing what we do in marketing called curated content. Other people's content.

Katie Brinkley
Yep.

Tim Fitzpatrick
To our audience. As long as it's adding value, it's like, hey, we're not the only people putting out content. And this is good content. That's valuable. I'm totally OK about sharing other people's stuff. So, you know, don't be afraid to do that because I again, I think it shows confidence, like, hey, you know, we're not the only game in town, but we're confident enough in our abilities that we're going to share anybody's content as long as it's good.

Katie Brinkley
Exactly, and other people will see that other businesses will see that because they'll. Oh, well, the all marketing is so confident now. They're in the industry. They're following the latest trends and they're also sharing it, even though it's a competitor or a similar company. They're sharing that with me because they think it would provide value to me. And that's again, it's going back to just trying to make social media more social, providing that type of value.

Katie Brinkley
And don't just be talking at someone the whole time. They are on social media. Keep in mind that it's called social media for a reason that's supposed to be a two-way street and provide value for your audience.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, yeah, I totally agree. I have a couple other quick questions that I think will add value to people. One, do you have any favorite social media postings, scheduling tools that you use? Yeah, I've used a number of them, so I've been doing social media for four years now. I had the opportunity to try a number of them, the one that I like the most is a platform called Loomly. It's a scheduler and it's a great schedule because you can post on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Google My Business, you can create a post for all of them from a generic post.

Katie Brinkley
Then you go down to a fine-tuning tool. You can add in the hashtag, you can tag the businesses that you want to tag. You can change out the images if you wanted a certain image for Facebook and then a different image for Instagram. So it's a great tool for scheduling. And you can see the exactly how the post will look on each platform. Loomly is great. I'm also used HootSuite in the past. HootSuite is great because if you do want to post and ghost, you just want to post and be done with it.

Katie Brinkley
That automatically will post to Instagram where a lot of these other schedulers that does require you to actually go in like I'm Loomly, I have to send me a notification and then I have to just copy and paste it into Instagram. But then it requires me to actually be active on Instagram and in. It'll increase our rank in the algorithm, so Loomly is a great one, HootSuite is a great one. I used CoSchedule in the past also, and I've also used Agorapulse, but out of all those, Loomly is my favorite.

Tim Fitzpatrick
OK, and how do I spell that?

Katie Brinkley
L-O-O-M-L-Y, yeah.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So Loomly. OK, cool, yeah, the other ones I've used are Buffer and Promo Republic, which are both pretty good. And you know, a lot of these tools are not all that expensive considering what you get out of them. So I would highly recommend that. Check those out.

Katie Brinkley
It's great to when you do use a scheduler. A lot of people kind of consider it like cheating, but you can build out a whole month and be like, OK, well, I already posted a video this week and the next week I have two.

Katie Brinkley
And then the following week I had none. OK, I can move things around so that I have a video going every week and you can develop a full strategy behind each post. And then it's also great because you get a ton of analytics. You can see what posts did great on likes and comments. When your audience is on what your growth was, how many impressions you had about your reach was what your overall reach and just rapid reach was.

Katie Brinkley
So it does give you a lot of insights and tools so that you're not just kind of throwing darts at a wall. You can strategically plan every post and everything that's going out from your company to make sure that, well, if I post on Tuesday night, even though it's kind of a weird time to post, that's what my audience is on. So that's when I'm going to push that post up.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So that leads into my last question here, kind of off the cuff. Do you have a lot of people start posting on social and they don't know whether it's really working. Do you have any favorite metrics that are simple that you like to track to try engage? Is what we're doing actually working?

Katie Brinkley
Yeah, I mean, looking at the analytics, my goodness, I'm sorry, I'm looking at the analytics and the metrics help a lot because then you're not just kind of throwing darts at the wall.

Katie Brinkley
You can see what time of day your audience is on. And when you're on Facebook business, you can track your competitors and see what posts are doing well so that you can replicate them for your audience. Yeah, if you're just getting started out, I kind of like to stick with like three generic kinds of posts just to kind of get started until you really find your voice. And the first one is shareable content. So whether it's something funny or a quote or a motivational quote that's kind of shareable content that people will see in their feed is great it's a great first post of the week or like a Friday funny that you can just plan on doing every Friday, just for the month until you kind of established your posting schedule.

Katie Brinkley
And then I like to do a kind of website directly. So directly back to your website, whether it be something that you just have on sale or a special that you're offering, or if you're talking about a blog or a video like this, like if you have new video, click here to watch the full video, having that on there so that way you have the something that's talking about yourself, something that's not talking about you, that people are going to just want to engage with.

Katie Brinkley
And then the last one is kind of like we were talking about a curated article just to kind of establish yourself in the conversation that you are listening to what's happening on this topic. It doesn't need to be a competitor. But I mean, if you're a homebuilder in California and there's a big you could post a mortgage article or you could post like about the change in the Bay Area real estate. Now, due to coronavirus, a lot of people are leaving the city.

Katie Brinkley
So you could post an article for Forbes on that. So there's just kind of that curated article that way. You have then you have three pieces of content right there. And if you're able to put out another piece of content, like I said a video before, but if you're doing something to sales, like for your other website direct, like, here's our sales specialists and then I'm going to do a video two. There are four pieces. And as you kind of get going, you'll find like, oh, well, I could talk about this and oh, I could share that. So you'll start seeing there are more things to share and talk about with your audience

Tim Fitzpatrick
So once I'm putting those posts out, do you like to look at you reach engagement as kind of your simple metrics initially?

Katie Brinkley
Yeah, I think that so there's reach, there's impression's and there's engagement. And engagement is like comment share on Instagram save. And that's where you can kind of be like, wow, this post did awesome. Look at it. Got like twenty thousand impressions. Wait a second. They only had one hundred like. So did it really do that good? It's a lot of people saw it but not that many people wanted to engage with it.

Katie Brinkley
So I always try and kind of go off of the like. So far on Facebook, there are video views and that's a great metric because people might watch your full video, but they might not actually go and hit the like button. So that's where each platform there's different things to measure. If you're putting out a video, I watch the video because if you're on Instagram, it's best to look at the saves. How many people have saved your content because that pushes you up higher in the algorithm?

Katie Brinkley
If you if people save your content on Instagram to just trick of the trade, you want to respond to every single comment that people leave on your pictures or your posts, because, again, it's going to put you up higher in the Instagram algorithm and then on Facebook. If you're just posting a regular post, a shared article, I go off of link clicks to see how many people have click on the link.

Katie Brinkley
Unfortunately, this is kind of going down a rabbit hole here, but Facebook business pages, they are the lowest spot on the Facebook algorithm. So you can't judge yourself too much on what your impressions and your reach are. The best way that more people are going to see your content from your business page is if people engage with them. So that's where, again, putting out that shareable content is so important because you might not appear if you have one hundred followers, you're only being shown to like one to three percent of your follower base.

Katie Brinkley
But if you're followers of the three people that see it, they all like it then. Oh, well, like the show tomorrow and tomorrow. Yes, so it's what things where you just need to each platform and each piece of content that you're putting out, it depends on what to measure. I think overall, you want to try and put out engaging content because it will just help you in each platform's algorithm.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, got it. Cool. That's awesome. Katie, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Given a lot of really good information here, where can people learn more about you?

Katie Brinkley
Awesome. Yeah, they could find me online on LinkedIn right down here. LinkedIn dot com slash Katie Brinkley. That's a great way to connect with me directly. And then my website is nextstepsocialcommunications.com. And we're putting out different content on their weekly. Or you can listen to my podcast, and that is Rocky Mountain Marketing, and it's available on just about all the podcast platforms. So if you just ask Siri or Alexa to play or the latest episode, it should populate. No problem.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's awesome. Thank you so much for those of you that were tuning in, listening, watching. Thank you for being here again. I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. If you want to gain clarity on where to focus your marketing efforts right now, head on over to our website and just click on the get a free consultation button so that rialtomarketing.com. I guarantee you will get a ton of value from that console and you will know exactly where you need to focus your marketing efforts right now.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Remember, marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan. Till next time. Take care


Connect With Katie Brinkley

  • katie@nextstepsocialcommunications.com
  • Linkedin


About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help small businesses & entrepreneurs eliminate the confusion of marketing by focusing on the fundamentals. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan.

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