If you run a small business, you should be using social media to grow it. Social media helps you gain traffic for your website, boost your sales, and manage your online reputation. It’s also inexpensive, especially when compared to other marketing channels.

Clearly, social media is a great equaliser for small businesses because it empowers them to compete with larger companies.

Note, however, that using social media wouldn’t automatically translate to success; you’ll have to play it smart. Here are a few proven ways on how to take advantage of social media to benefit your business.

Create a plan

Like every action you take in business, you must develop a plan before jumping into social media. Without one, you won’t have a definite goal and any concrete steps how to get there.

For instance, what tone and approach will you use in writing posts? What platforms will you focus on? Do you have a time frame for carrying out your steps?

To put together a strong social media plan, make sure that you:

  • Determine your goals. Make sure it’s measurable, realistic, and time-sensitive (all goals need a deadline). Your goals should be underpinned by metrics that can affect your business. For instance, you should aim to grow your conversion rate instead of just getting likes.

  • Monitor your performance. To know whether you’re succeeding (or failing), you’ll need to track the performance of your social media efforts, and there’s a wide range of tools to choose from. Based on the data you gather, you then refine your strategy and adjust your actions.

  • Study your competition. You need to be aware of what your competitors do. Studying them through a social media competitive analysis is an effective way to ease your learning curve. Just make sure you don’t copy their every move.

  • Create and follow a social media editorial calendar so that you can plan your posts ahead of time. This means your work will be more organised, and your posts will likely have fewer mistakes. Bottom line, you’ll produce higher-quality content.