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Good Strategies Lead the Way to More Business and Profits

Fans of social media favor everyone having an online strategy. It’s a big ask for small-businesses owners with their hands full to keep companies running.


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James L Katzaman

6 months ago | 9 min read
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Fans of social media naturally favor everyone having an online strategy. It’s a big ask for small businesses where owners have their hands full to keep their companies running.

That is something Sarah Clarke, Ivana Taylor and Iva Ignjatovic relate to. Taylor particularly feels small businesses’ pangs because she owns DIYMarketers, “committed to helping small business owners get out of overwhelm.”

Clarke is a media strategist. She blogs about marketing, business and more at Sarah Clarke.biz. She is also the founder of Dufferin Media, a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in social media management.

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Ignjatovic is a marketing, strategy and business consultant.

Together, they talked about social media strategy for small business and how to follow through when you seemingly run out of hands.

“Social media is used as a communications and relationship-building strategy for our business, and sometimes for sales,” Clarke said. “As part of that, we’ve found that Twitter chats are a great way to build relationships and meet new friends. I almost always learn something new, too.”

Taylor likewise uses social media to create and build new relationships.

Those who want a return on investment should know that Fundera by NerdWallet has found that 41 percent of local businesses depend on social media to drive revenue.

“I want to get in touch with people, find new projects and stay on top of trends,” Ignjatovic said.

Rule of 30s

To find inspiration for content to share on social networks, Clarke follows the 30–30–30 rule, which she finds makes it easier to create or curate content by breaking it down:

  • 30 Percent Social Posts
  • 30 Percent Informative
  • 30 Percent Sales

“Great sources include watching what is trending, setting up Google alerts and creating your own content via blogs and the like,” Clarke said.

One key aspect of a content strategy is perseverance.

“I’ve learned that it’s one thing knowing what to do, but sticking to the calendar can get really tough,” Taylor said. “Inspiration is everywhere. I love sharing other people’s content. I also review my news feeds daily and share what I find.

“The idea of putting your authentic self out there is a big deal along with knowing how to do that,” she said. “More people than you might think struggle with that.”

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One solution is to go the anonymous route.

“I have a friend who has a ‘secret’ Twitter account that she uses for purely personal views and opinions,” Taylor said. “She uses it to participate in fan groups and other things. She says it’s absolutely freeing.”

For those more inclined to be open, DIYMarketers has an article, “14 Ways to Get New Leads.”

“There is motivation pretty much everywhere,” Ignjatovic said. “Inspiration is not the problem, but time investment to create content is.

“Responses can go to extremes — highly toxic,” she said. “I guess we stand for something that haters flock to.”

Find the Best Platforms

Certain social media channels are most effective for business. The results vary by company.

“All of the platforms have success in their own way,” Clarke said. “My personal favorite for relationship building is Twitter, though, hands down.

“‘Social posts’ are those meant to authentically connect with your audience,” she said, giving these examples:

  • Ask a question
  • Motivational post or quote
  • Picture of you or your team behind the scenes
  • Community-related post such as an event or charity

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“Twitter is my favorite place, although it should be LinkedIn.” Taylor said. “I’m not as strong on LinkedIn. I don’t know why. There’s just no chemistry.

“That said, the most effective social channel for me is Twitter, followed by LinkedIn,” she said.

Part of the problem is that on LinkedIn a lot of people pitch services, but aren’t too keen on reciprocating.

“That might be the feeling I get,” Taylor said. “It feels like a local networking meeting where salespeople are pitching to each other. There’s a lot of educational content there, though, and I like that.

“I have a love-hate relationship with the sponsored posts,” she said. “I hate to admit how much ‘shopping’ inspiration I get from Facebook. I prefer not to buy from the Facebook link. That creeps me out. I see the ad and search on Google. That’s just me being strange for no reason.”

Really Pay Attention

Another LinkedIn drawback is people pitching and apparently oblivious — or not caring — who they are talking to.

“I get contractors contacting me all the time because I have DIY in my name,” Taylor said. “I’m like, Have you looked at the profile?”

Companies that do pay attention will be rewarded. Social media software company Sprout Social found that 78 percent of consumers are willing to buy from a company after having a positive experience with them on social media.

“I use Twitter and LinkedIn for my business,” Ignjatovic said. “I’m thinking about how to include Instagram or Pinterest.”

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Paid ads are also possibilities to drive business.

“Facebook and Instagram are good for ongoing growth and awareness, as well as lead generation, but they are getting expensive,” Clarke said. “It’s important to manage your budget carefully. Pinterest ads are actually great for e-commerce businesses.”

This is an area where companies might venture on their own or seek help.

“I have mostly done Facebook ads to test concepts and drive traffic,” Taylor said. “I’ve done it myself, but I would love to have hired someone. There are lots of tech details that impact performance.

“People often ignore the power of ads,” she said. “Like everything else, it takes research and practice to hit the right tone, customer and conversions.”

This leads to visual storytelling, which is a great equalizer in the marketing world.

Convert Through Responding

“I generate leads daily via social media and get to meet awesome people at the same time,” Clarke said. “That includes creative campaigns with landing pages that offer value or freebies, plus responding to people looking for our services — especially via Facebook groups.

“We have a great lead magnet at Dufferin Media — a free e-book offer that leads into a drip campaign,” she said. “It took a while to build, but now it just runs on its own. It’s well worth the effort.”

Taylor’s main goal is to build relationships.

“I do my best to connect with people who are my prospects,” she said. “I engage with them over the long term.”

Engagement includes occasions when things don’t go too well. Convince & Convert has found that answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by 25 percent.

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“I get in touch with people,” Ignjatovic said. “We have conversations, I build relationships. That’s it. It’s not quick, but it works for me because I have a chance to filter the right client.”

Business on social media is not all business. Non-business topics can be discussed in ways that reflect on your company.

“I post family, pet, life thoughts and events on social media,” Clarke said. “There’s also a lot about nonprofits, especially about the food bank where I volunteer. I really enjoy TikTok where I can have a bit more fun with non-business content.”

More Personal On Facebook

Taylor fences off personal affairs from business.

“On Facebook, I will share family events because that’s what people want to see,” she said. “I do nothing personal on other platforms. I really need to get into that habit.

“I’ve been watching TikTok and Reels lately,” she said. “Some I love and totally understand. However, comics, tips and so on leave me shrugging. I’m definitely looking at learning more.”

There is also a copycat tendency.

“I’ve noticed how many folks who leave tips actually repeat each other,” Taylor said. “I still have so much to learn on those platforms. It reminds me of when I started blogging.”

As an assist, DIYMarketers has posted its free guide to getting and keeping customers.

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Ignjatovic’s non-business social media topics include women in business and history, animal welfare and whatever she finds interesting.

Several social media tools are effective for productivity, including these Clarke favorites that let her manage multiple platforms and accounts:

  • Canva for visuals
  • Sendible for scheduling and analytics
  • Google alerts for content ideas
  • TweetDeck for Twitter and chats

“I mostly use TweetDeck and CoSchedule,” Taylor said. “I do quite a bit of manual posting as well. The goal for engagement on Twitter and other platforms is to generate good customers.”

Sprout Social found that after following a brand on social media, 91 percent of users visit the brand’s website or app. Plus, 89 percent will buy from the brand, and 85 percent will recommend the brand to a family or friend.

Experiment to Suit

“First and foremost, I use scheduling tools to automate posting,” Ignjatovic said. “Then come analytics tools and visual content programs. I have to use more than one because of my clients’ needs. Plus, no tool is perfect.”

There is no one right answer for how often a small business owner should post on social media for maximum engagement.

“This depends on the business and the platform,” Clarke said. “I believe in the power of consistency. For a small business, they may not have the capacity to post multiple times a day. I suggest a minimum of three times per week, ideally once per day.”

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Taylor goes by these guidelines:

  • Post unique content on LinkedIn a couple times a week.
  • Lots on Twitter.
  • On Facebook, engage a lot. Post content at least three times per week.

“Remember that the number of followers folks have is irrelevant,” Taylor said. “It’s all about the engagement.”

For that, she sees three levels:

  • Scheduling
  • Automating
  • Engaging

“Scheduling — totally fine — and automating — which I don’t like that as much — create opportunities for engagement,” Taylor said.

“I probably lost 10,000 followers when Twitter started deleting bad accounts,” she said. “I’m glad they did. I can follow real people, but have no control over who follows me. I’m glad my follower number is more realistic now.”

Accommodating the Audience

The key to attracting potential customers is content and how it is presented.

“I’m all about curating the audience and content,” Taylor said. “I love Twitter for creating lists and being able to follow hashtags for that. Facebook has lists — not as well used — and LinkedIn, well, I think that’s why I don’t like it as much. It’s hard to curate.

“I like to create ‘lists’ on Twitter and Facebook that target people and companies I want to engage with,” she said. “Twitter lists are easy. You can do the same with hashtags using a tool like TweetDeck.”

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Even with online speed bumps, Taylor tries to make the assorted platforms work for her benefit.

“When it comes to LinkedIn, I have a short list of people that I check into their stream,” she said. “Facebook has a ‘hidden’ way to create lists.

“Community curation is everything to me,” Taylor said. “Otherwise, you just get tons of garbage that wastes your time.”

Ideally, curation and other tactics will lead to great customer experiences.

“It’s not about how often I post — although that depends on the social media platform,” Ignjatovic said. “It’s more about how to post and how to create posts.”

Even with the best of tips, overwhelmed entrepreneurs might have to outsource their social media.

“I highly recommend this to small business owners who do not have the time to consistently post and engage on their social media platforms,” Clarke said. “It is well worth the investment.

“Business owners have their own talent and zone of genius,” she said. “If they focus their energy on that and outsource tasks like social media, bookkeeping and administration, they can spend more time doing what they are good at and ultimately make more money.”

Pursuing Real-Time Engagement

Taylor sees a valuable trade off.

“I wouldn’t think much about outsourcing article sharing and scheduling content promotion,” she said. “This frees you up for live engagement. Think about local businesses where the owners are actually working with their customers. They have zero time for much else.

“Outsourcing can really be helpful,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t outsource all of it, but definitely do it for curated content or helpful tips and existing content — that kind of stuff.”

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Ignjatovic especially likes the idea of outsourcing.

“That’s what I do,” she said. “I’m the one businesses go to for outsourcing. Most small-business owners don’t have enough time to remain consistent. That’s why they hire social media managers.”

Being in business to make money, owners need ways to measure return on investment and define the success of their social media strategy.

“For me, ROI is when my social content inspires a brand to contact me,” Taylor said.

Ignjatovic knows her strategy is paying off when she has clients or new projects, which tells her she is doing something good.

“I measure ROI of social media efforts in the steady and consistent growth of an account’s reach and engagement and how many new relationships I am building,” Clarke said. “It is not a number in dollars and cents in the traditional term.”

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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