Social media can be a remarkable tool for small, local businesses trying to build an online presence, but with dozens of platforms available, it can be challenging to determine which outlets are worth putting effort into and which ones are worth skipping.

In our media-centric time, everyone has heard of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and Twitter – but the mystery remains, which outlet is more effective for increasing visibility and bringing in business?

According to a study on the most popular social media networks as of July, 2019, the top 5 social networking sites include:

  • Facebook – 2.375 billion active users
  • YouTube – 2 billion subscribers
  • Instagram – 1 billion active members
  • Reddit – 330 million active users
  • Twitter – 330 million active members

With so many active users across various social media platforms, this begs the question, “Which social media outlets should small businesses focus on?”

Social Media for Small Businesses

Social networking sites are one of the quickest and most effective methods for reaching a wide audience and personalizing a small business’s social outreach. Below are some of the ways that social media can prove your small business’s legitimacy and improve your company’s online presence.


There are several methods available to small businesses for proving its legitimacy using social media. For example, client reviews, photos, check-ins, and other social media interactions involving your business, offers legitimacy to your company’s online presence and can go a long way in terms of building up your small business’s reputation.

One tip for small businesses looking to engage with consumers on social media is to post relevant, engaging content, even if you don’t have a ton of followers, to increase the trust of future visitors. If a potential follower visits a small businesses site, and there aren’t any posts, they likely won’t trust the company’s legitimacy and will wind up choosing another company with visible credibility.

Online Outreach

If you own and operate a small business, social media the perfect way to get the word out about your company and showcase what you have to offer. Additionally, social networking sites can be an excellent way to promote sales or make special announcements regarding your business’s operations.

Positively engaging with followers on social media personalizes a business’s online persona and instills a positive perception of your business. Regularly responding to comments, sharing business milestones, and posting about special offers shows existing and potential followers that, 1) your business is quick to respond, which 2) can make potential customers more likely to support your business, and 3) if posts are strategic, social media can be a compelling branding element that enforces your business’s brand.

For example, if a small local bookstore creates a Facebook and Instagram page, and posts about in-store promotions and other events happening at their location, their followers might comment, like, or share posts, which in turn can lead to their friends seeing the post, hopefully becoming a follower, and increase the odds of gaining a potential customer.

Choosing Social Media Platforms for Small Businesses

There are dozens of social media tools out there, which makes it challenging to decide which ones are best suited for your business’s needs. When focusing on social media outreach for your small business, it’s essential to identify your company’s goals for social networking before beginning your journey. Example: LinkedIn is a social platform that is designed to connect people looking for jobs with potential employers. Companies use LinkedIn not only to find potential employees, but conduct industry research, pinpoint where their company can improve networking efforts, and market their brand to potential consumers.

It doesn’t make sense for a restaurant to have LinkedIn, but Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat can be excellent platforms for engaging with current and potential customers, advertising specials, and maintaining a unified brand for your restaurant.

Social Media Tips for Small, Local Businesses

Every digital marketing specialist has an opinion on the best social media practices, but our marketing team narrowed down our list and came up with the following top 5 best social media practices for small businesses:

  • Maintain Listings – accurate, consistent information (name, address, phone number, business hours) across all platforms is crucial. If a small business has inaccurate information on one platform, and accurate information on another, this can not only confuse customers but damage a business’ SERP and credibility
  • Post Often – an active social media presence shows followers that you care about your business and would be quick to respond to concerns
  • Establish Goals – “I want 1,500 followers,” or, “I want to increase the turnout of customers at our annual holiday sale by doing Christmas giveaways on social media in December
  • Interact – positive, continual interaction with your business’s followers can increase customers’ brand loyalty and benefit your company’s brand
  • Use Mixed Media – photos and video are great ways to showcase products and what’s going on in your company’s office. Regularly posting photos and videos on your small business’ social profile gives customers a better idea of what your company is about and who they are supporting

Whichever way you spin it, the impact that social media can have on a small business’s online presence is remarkable. Do you have additional tips for how small businesses can use social media? Connect with our team and let us know what social media strategies have and haven’t worked for your business.