- Social media can help small businesses generate loyal fans and paying customers.
- Four entrepreneurs shared their strategies for social media, including cross-platform promotion.
- Business owners don’t need big budgets to create successful campaigns, they told Insider.
Before starting her business, financial coach Lisa Andrea hated social media.
She had no personal profile and never scrolled through the news feeds. But what convinced her to join was the need to grow her coaching business and find clients online.
Two months after launching The Financial Cookbook, a digital financial coaching guide, she took to social media to share money, career and stock tips and discover clients. Today, her content is shared on TikTok, Pinterest and Instagram – platforms she’s grown to reach more than 240,000 total followers – and she’s built a profitable business based on brand partnerships, revenue advertising on the website, affiliate marketing and products and services.
“When I started The Financial Cookbook, I had to learn everything over time,” Andrea said, adding that she had studied YouTube tutorials from other creators.
Founders across all industries use social media to drive sales to approximately 5 billion global users. Like Andrea, many small business owners have launched comprehensive social media marketing campaigns that include strategies such as
and shifting trends.
Four founders shared their experiences with social media and best practices for turning followers into customers.
1. Use Cross-Platform Promotion to Grow Effectively
With so many social media apps available, it’s important for business owners to live across multiple platforms, Andrea said. The fastest way to do this is to cross-promote, meaning any content shared on one platform can be repurposed for another, she added.
User-generated content — where a business account posts content shot or filmed by users — is another way to reuse content, said Delsy Gouw, an entrepreneur. Memorial Day, Gouw’s line of hand-crocheted swimwear and accessories, went from a side hustle to a full-time business after reposting photos of celebrities wearing its products. For example, photos of musician Dua Lipa and model and influencer Kiko Mizuhara appear on the Memorial Day Instagram account.
“My initial strategy was to work with smaller influencers because you never know where it might take you,” Gouw said. “Once a celebrity wears it, another celebrity wants to show their support.”
2. Create content that the algorithm will reward
Social media algorithms are constantly changing: Recently, Instagram changed its algorithm to push video content instead of still images.
“It’s important that you understand the algorithm changes because that’s ultimately what will allow you to be successful on social media,” Andrea said.
She researches algorithm changes by watching YouTube videos from full-time creators and reputable social media coaches.
“Now is a great time to use these apps because TikTok is still so new,” said Kelsey Floyd, who runs a pottery business called My Muse Pottery alongside her social media career. “Because TikTok is such competition, Instagram created Reels. They really push to keep smaller creators on their app.”
3. Use influencers to grow your audience
Influencer marketing is an ever-growing area of social media marketing. Small businesses should also test brand partnerships and paid ads with nano-, micro- and macro-influencers, said social media coach and expert Kar Brulhart.
Even small businesses that lack big budgets can leverage influencer marketing by combining monetary payments with free products, Brulhart added.
She and her clients compile lists of all the influencers they hope to partner with, contact them, include a pitch deck on a potential partnership, and explain their preferences for brand posts.
But small business owners should be sure to include contracts for all brand partnerships, she said.
“The #1 mistake people make with influencers is they just send them a product and then tell them to send them pictures and post about it,” she said, explaining that a more concrete agreement should be put in place.