Social media is a low-cost, high-impact way to connect and build loyalty with existing customers, as well as new customer prospects. But with so many platforms and so many other tasks you have to do as a small business owner, how do you get the best bang for your buck?

As I have partnered with Deluxe during National Small Business Week* to provide tips to help small businesses be more successful, here are 7 of my best tips for using social to grow your business.


If you do nothing else with social media, use it as a place to listen. By listening, you can gather intelligence about what is being said about and by your competitors to help you chart your best offensive and defensive business strategies. You also can observe hot industry trends and chatter early, so you know what might enable future business growth.

Also, use it to get to know your customers better. You can learn about their likes, dislikes, family and more all helpful information for building relationships online and offline with customers.

Engage with customers.

Customers love to engage with brands on social media. It’s a great way to make your customer a hero by sharing their content or achievements. You can even turn a customer service issue into a fun engagement.

One example I saw recently was a customer who wrote a poem on social media about a product that was broken. The business wrote back with another poem, expressing their regret and desire to help. The fun exchange won over the customer and attracted the attention of would-be customers, too!

Injecting your brand personality into your postings can be a fun and creative way to attract attention and deepen connections.

Use pictures.

Using visual elements is one of the hottest trends in social, probably to mirror people’s shrinking attention spans. You can jump on this trend by adding photos and videos to your social content.

Statistics show that adding visual content will boost engagement with a given post. Now, if you have a product to show off, this is a no brainer. If you are service-oriented, try using a photo with some words over it or a complementary photo to your text as a way to engage current and potential customers.

Also, explore visually oriented platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.

Use hashtags.

Hashtags are a great way of getting discovered on a platform. On platforms like Instagram, it acts almost as a search element. On Twitter, if there is a hot trend happening, whether a holiday or an actual social trend (like Twitter’s trending topics), hashtags relate to a major ongoing conversation. Adding relevant content and hashtags related to that trend can help build new followers and help customers find you and share your content.

Don’t overpromote.

Nobody likes to be inundated with ads, so while it’s OK to throw out an offer from time to time, include other helpful content, as well as fun content that aligns with your brand. For example, if you sell pet supplies, post content (either created by you or that you found elsewhere) on the five best ways to get your dog to slim down, or share pictures of cute puppies (who wouldn’t want to re-share that?)! It will help you attract more loyalty, and a bigger audience that will be receptive when you do have an offer to make.

Don’t underpromote.

While you don’t want to overpromote, you are still running a business. Make sure to include photos of your products or share a coupon for a special offer from time to time to drive specific, revenue-producing actions.

Be selective, but consistent.

While you don’t need to post on every single platform, you do need to pick one or two and go deep. The best way for social content to help your business is to make sure that you consistently post on your platforms of choice.

Onceaweek engagement doesn’t work in social media, however, and appropriate frequency varies by platform. For LinkedIn, you may want to be posting just one or two times a day, max. But for Twitter, a tweet’s life is often only an hour or less, so you may want to post 4-8 times per day (sometimes, even sending the same or a similar tweet within the same day or week).

To help with the burden, also look into a scheduling tool that allows you to upload weeks or even months’ worth of content and schedule it all at one time.

These 7 tips will help you to up your social game, so you can grab more sales from your existing customers and find new ones, as well.

* Disclosure: this company has a client relationship with or its affiliated entities