Social media has completely changed the way we communicate and connect with one another over the past two decades. It’s an essential part of our everyday lives, and there are no signs it’s slowing down. Social media is also a powerful marketing tool used by businesses of all sizes. It’s especially important for local businesses looking to connect with their communities and grow their customer base.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about social media management for local businesses. We’ll start by discussing some of the key concepts and benefits of using social media. Then, we’ll take a look at some of the more popular platforms and dive into a number of social media marketing strategies that are proven to work for local businesses.
Table of contents
- Why social media is so important for businesses
- The most popular social media platforms today
- About social media accounts
- What is social media management?
- Why social media management is so important right now
- The challenge of social media management for multi-location businesses
- Managing social media with a dedicated social media manager
- Outsourcing social media management services
- Social media marketing – defined
- Benefits of social media marketing
- Building a social media strategy- free template included
- Set clear goals
- Define your target audience
- Identify the best social media platforms
- Audit your social media channels
- Do competitive research
- Identify additional social media platforms for consideration
- Decide on which social media platforms to use
- Establish an engagement plan for your social media networks
- Develop a promotional plan for your social media
- Create a social media calendar – free template included
- How companies should approach social media content creation
- Paid social media marketing
- Organic social media marketing
- The social media cycle
- The difference between social media monitoring and social media listening
- Social media analytics: measuring performance
- Social media management tools – get insights directly from the apps
- Social media management platforms: Is it worth the investment
- FAQs about social media management
- Elevate your social media presence with Birdeye
Why social media is so important for businesses
The popularity of social media continues to skyrocket, with billions of people using it to stay connected and access news and information. Here are some fascinating statistics demonstrating its fame:
- 4.76 billion people around the world use social media.
- The average user spends 147 mins (2 hours and 27 minutes)on social media daily – the highest time recorded.
- Facebook is the most popular social media platform, where people spend an average of 58 minutes daily.
- 84% of U.S. adults between the ages of 18-29 are active social media users, followed by 81% of U.S. adults between 30-49 years old.
- 90% of people with a social media account use social networks to communicate with brands and businesses.
- 73% of social media marketers believe social media is effective for their business.
- 87% of businesses consider Facebook an important social channel for their organization, followed by Instagram (60%), LinkedIn (43%), YouTube (36%), and Twitter (23%).
Local businesses can’t afford to ignore social media in their marketing mix. However, using social media effectively requires a strategic approach that takes into account how specific social media platforms are used and the different ways they can be leveraged to reach social media users and convert them into customers. We’ll talk more about social media marketing strategies in a bit.
The most popular social media platforms today
When choosing a social media platform for your business, there are many things to consider. Each platform has its own unique user base and set of features, so it’s important to select the one that best suits your needs. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular social media platforms that could benefit your business.
Facebook is the most popular social media site worldwide. As a result, its large user base gives local businesses a tremendous amount of potential customers to share their social media posts and ads with. Facebook also provides the capability to target posts and ads to specific audiences.
For information on how to get started with Facebook, check out our most recent articles:
- Facebook Marketing: Everything you need to know
- How to get verified on Facebook in just 7 steps
- How to get more Facebook likes: 12 tips that really work
LinkedIn is focused on business and professional networking, making it a natural choice for companies looking to promote their products and services. You can create company pages and share social media content with your audience to help generate leads or increase brand awareness. Plus, learn about LinkedIn marketing hacks to grow your business.
Twitter is fast-paced and offers a lot of opportunities for real-time engagement. This is perfect for businesses that want to jump on current trends or news stories.
YouTube is unique because it’s primarily a video-based platform. Whether short or long-form, video is the preferred way to consume social media content. Because of this, it’s a popular choice for both businesses and consumers.
This platform lets you visually showcase your products or services using high-quality photos and videos. Instagram Stories and Instagram Live provide businesses with additional opportunities to increase engagement and connect with potential customers.
For more information on getting started with Instagram, check out our most recent articles:
- Instagram marketing guide for business accounts
- How to get verified on Instagram with the blue check mark
- How to get more followers on Instagram: 12 smart tips
Pinterest is particularly well-suited for businesses specializing in visual media, such as fashion, design, and food. However, even businesses without a strong visual component can find ways to capitalize on Pinterest’s popularity.
TikTok offers a unique opportunity to connect with potential customers through short-form video clips. Users are typically creative and open-minded, which makes it very popular amongst the younger crowd – specifically Gen Z and Millenials.
Snapchat sends disappearing messages that can only be viewed for a limited time. This creates a sense of urgency and can help businesses to stand out from the competition.
About social media accounts
Social media accounts are digital channels where companies create and publish content online for the purpose of connecting with their target audience. These accounts typically include platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, where users can post updates in the form of text, images, videos, and other multimedia content.
In addition to social media content creation, companies can use these channels to interact with their followers by responding to comments and messages in a timely manner. This helps build relationships between the company and its customers.
What is social media management?
Social media management for businesses is the practice of managing a company’s presence on various social media platforms. It involves creating content, scheduling social media posts, responding to comments and messages, tracking analytics, developing strategies, and engaging with customers on various channels. These activities are designed to build brand awareness, drive sales and engagement, manage customer relationships, and promote products and services.
Why social media management is so important right now
Social media management is important for businesses because it allows companies to do the following:
- Track analytics
- Analyze data on their target audience
- Understand customer preferences
- Identify social media influencers and trends in the industry
- Quickly respond to customer inquiries or complaints
In short, social media management allows businesses to effectively reach their target customers by creating relevant content.
The challenge of social media management for multi-location businesses
Multi-location businesses face several challenges when it comes to social media management. First, they must create content that will resonate with customers in different locations while maintaining a consistent brand voice.
Additionally, they need to monitor comments and reviews from various locations. This level of monitoring can be time-consuming and require a dedicated social media manager or multiple marketing staff members. Finally, multi-location businesses may need to comply with different privacy laws depending on their target audience or location. Complying can also be challenging if they don’t have the resources to manage this properly.
Managing social media with a dedicated social media manager
Social media managers are responsible for planning, implementing, and monitoring the company’s social media strategy in order to increase brand awareness and improve customer engagement. This includes researching target demographics, creating content, moderating comments, and responding to inquiries. They also analyze data insights from analytics tools to provide reports and make recommendations on how to optimize the company’s social media presence best.
Growing businesses need a dedicated social media manager for several reasons. First, it’s important to have someone who is knowledgeable about the various social platforms and can create content specifically tailored to them. Second, having an organized strategy that is carried out on a regular basis ensures that your business has an active presence and stays top of mind with customers.
Finally, a social media manager can track analytics data to measure the return on investment (ROI) of each campaign, helping businesses understand which strategies are working and which need improvement.
Outsourcing social media management services
Social media management services are a type of service that specializes in managing and optimizing a company’s presence on various social media channels. These services typically include creating, scheduling, and monitoring content, responding to customer inquiries, setting up campaigns, and tracking analytics data. They can also provide assistance with identifying industry trends and opportunities, as well as help companies grow their social media users.
Outsourcing social media management services can help businesses save time and money by freeing up resources to focus on their core business operations. It can also provide access to a team of experts with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to successfully manage and optimize a company’s online presence on various social media channels. Plus, outsourcing these services can help companies stay ahead of the competition by allowing them to adapt to industry changes quickly.
Social media marketing – defined
Social media marketing is the process of using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to build relationships and interact with customers. By sharing valuable content, engaging with customers, and running targeted ads, businesses can create a connection with their audience and promote their brand. When used effectively, social media marketing can be a powerful tool for driving sales and growing a business.
Benefits of social media marketing
The benefits of using social media marketing include the following:
- Targeted reach: The ability to target potential customers on different social channels based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.
- Increased traffic: By posting engaging social media content and paid ads, businesses can drive more traffic to their website, store, or event.
- Personalization: Social media puts businesses within reach of their customers. This can help customers feel more connected to the business and may make them more likely to return in the future.
- Brand awareness: By creating a presence on popular social media platforms, businesses can tap into this large pool of potential customers.
- Generates quality leads: By building a presence on popular social media platforms, businesses can reach a wider audience and create more opportunities for engagement.
- Increases sales: Some businesses may be able to increase sales directly through social media marketing, while others may see increased sales indirectly through improved traffic and brand awareness.
- Builds relationships: When social media marketers engage with followers on social channels, businesses can build relationships that lead to loyalty and repeat business.
Building a social media strategy- free template included
Set clear goals
Before you get started with any social media marketing efforts, you first need to set goals and establish what the key social media performance indicators (KPIs) are. Your objectives might be one or more of the following — to increase brand awareness, generate leads and sales, increase followers, drive website traffic, boost SEO, improve customer loyalty, etc.
Pro tip: Try to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals that make sure your objectives are attainable and can be reached in a certain time frame.
Define your target audience
Once you’ve identified your goals, you can then start to define the specific audience you are trying to reach with your social media campaigns. Social media platforms allow businesses to target potential customers based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.
To do this, you can use real customer data or buyer personas if you have them. Demographics, including age, gender, profession, and location, can help you hone in on your target audience. This is an important step in choosing which social media platforms you need to be on.
Identify the best social media platforms
To get the most out of your social media efforts, it’s important to identify the right platform(s) for your business. Each network comes with its own unique user base and set of features, so take the time to determine which ones fit your needs best.
We recommend you start small by focusing on just one or two channels that fit your audience. Once you’ve established the brand on several social media networks, you can branch out and test others.
Audit your social media channels
If your company has been around for a few years, you probably already have social media profiles established on popular channels like Facebook and Twitter. Start your social media audit by finding out where your traffic is already coming from.
If your business already has a presence on social media platforms, take a look at which social platforms are getting the highest engagement.
Do competitive research
Next, look at the types of social media content your competitors are posting and how well it works. You may discover an untapped opportunity for your business.
If you’re still getting familiar with all the social media channels your competitors are using, you can get an idea by simply visiting their website and looking at the website footer, where there are typically links to popular social media sites to connect with them. Then you can click through each one to see how often they are posting, what types of content they are posting, and how much engagement they’re getting on each one.
Identify additional social media platforms for consideration
At this stage, list additional social media networks you believe your customers are spending time on and engaging with.
When it comes to well-known social networks in the United States, YouTube, and Facebook are the most popular, followed by Instagram. These social platforms are closely followed by TikTok, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Pro tip: A great way to check whether a social media network is favorable for your business is by doing a search on that platform and looking for relevant industry keywords, your company name, and your competitors’ names. If there’s little to no discussion or engagement around those topics, it might not be the best fit.
Decide on which social media platforms to use
By following the steps above, you’ll be ready to decide which social media platforms your business will be active on. This is the time to claim or polish up your social media profiles on these platforms.
Pro tip: Even if there are major social media platforms you are not planning to use right away, still go ahead and claim your business’s social media profiles on them. You may decide to use these other platforms later on, and you don’t want other people or impersonators taking your business’s name.
Establish an engagement plan for your social media networks
A social media engagement plan is one of the most important aspects of your business’s social media strategy. It outlines how you will use social media to reach and respond to your target audience, which in turn helps grow traffic and followers.
Check out our blog posts on the best time to post on social media per platform and 15 social media engagement posts your company should try.
Social listening is monitoring what’s being said about your business online. The goal is to get a pulse on what people are saying so that you can create or adjust your social strategy so that it remains relevant to your target audience. Without listening, you run the risk of creating a social strategy that people don’t respond to – wasting your time and efforts.
It’s important to have a social listening action plan on where to listen and what you’ll listen for, so you can respond quickly. And don’t forget to do social listening for other terms related to your industry and competitors. Getting insights into what people are saying can also be a way to engage with your audience.
Develop a promotional plan for your social media
Having a promotional plan in place can help increase your reach on social media by using strategies like paid boosts, retargeting, and account takeovers.
- Paid boosts increase the visibility of a post to a wider audience.
- Retargeting targets individuals who have already shown interest in your brand or product.
- Account takeovers create a sense of urgency or exclusivity around a promotion.
Create a social media calendar – free template included
A social media calendar helps businesses to plan, organize and execute their social media marketing strategy. The calendar template for social media should include all planned social media content for each platform (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, YouTube), including blog posts, graphics, videos, and guides. The calendar should also include information about who will create, schedule, and publish the social media posts and any related hashtags or campaigns.
There are a number of different calendar templates specifically for social media, available online, so you can easily find one that meets your specific needs. To make things even easier, we’ve created this free social media calendar template just for you. Make a copy of this template for your use.
How companies should approach social media content creation
In order to create content that resonates with their audience, companies should focus on incorporating stories into their content that capture the attention of viewers. They should also strive to be consistent with their messaging by creating a unified brand identity across all social media channels. Finally, it’s important for them to stay engaged with their followers through direct interaction and responding to comments in a timely manner. This will help build relationships and trust between the company and its customers.
For more ideas on social media tactics, check out our article on 10 types of social media content to grow your business.
Don’t forget to read 15 types of social media to help boost your brand.
Paid social media marketing
Paid advertising allows you to reach a larger audience through targeted ads. You can also get instant results with this approach, which is perfect for promoting time-sensitive offers. However, social media advertising can be expensive, and you’ll need to invest money to maintain your results continuously.
Advantages of paid social media
- Reach a large audience with minimal effort
- Instant engagement with your audience
- More personal
- Target ads to specific demographics
- Analyze data to improve your marketing strategy
Disadvantages of paid social media
- Return on investment (ROI) can be unclear
- Difficult to scale
- Challenging to create engaging content
Key performance indicators (KPIs) for paid social media
- Cost per click (CPC) – The average cost to generate clicks for your ads.
- Social media ROI – The gross profit from your paid social media ads subtracted by the total expenses incurred to generate that profit.
- Click-through rate (CTR) – The percentage of people who click on a link out of the total number of people who view a post or ad.
- Impressions – The number of times your ad was served across all channels and devices.
Organic social media marketing
Organic social media is more of a long-term strategy. It doesn’t provide instant results like paid ads, but it can be more effective in building brand awareness and loyalty.
Advantages of organic social media
- More likely to be shared and liked
- More authentic and trustworthy
- Easier to scale over time
- Reach a wider audience
Disadvantages of organic social media
- Requires more time, effort, and resources
- Less predictable results compared to paid ads
- It can be difficult to stand out from the competition
- The algorithms used by big social networks can limit the reach of organic posts
- Content creation can be challenging.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) for organic social media
- Organic reach –The number of unique people who saw your post in their newsfeeds, whether or not they interacted with it.
- Engagement rate – The number of people who interacted with your post (liked, commented, shared) divided by the total number of people who saw it.
- Follower growth rate – The percentage increase or decrease in the number of your social media followers from one period to the next.
- Website traffic from social media – The number of visits to your website originated from social media.
The social media cycle
Keeping up with social media can be challenging. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, the algorithm changes, or a new platform emerges.
Even though it may seem like a never-ending cycle, there are a few pillars of success you can apply to stay on track. When brought together, these pillars are known as the Social Media Cycle. They can be broken down into four distinct stages:
1. Social media listening
The first stage of the Social Media Cycle is listening. The purpose of this step is to gain an understanding of what people are saying about your brand online so you can craft or refine your social media strategy in a way that is relevant to your target audience. By not listening, you run the risk of putting together a plan that will generate little engagement and waste time and money.
2. Social media influencing
Influencing involves using a variety of techniques to make sure that your brand name is at the forefront when people are discussing products and services related to your industry. This can be achieved through creating and sharing high-quality content, engaging with social media influencers and thought leaders in your industry, and running targeted social media ads.
3. Social media networking
The stage of networking can be carried out by joining relevant online communities and forums, engaging in conversations on Twitter and Facebook Groups, attending virtual seminars and webinars, as well as participating in in-person gatherings such as conferences and meetups. The aim of this step is to build your reputation as an authority in the field, creating strong relationships that can help in achieving your business goals.
4. Social media selling
There are lots of ways to sell products and services on social media. You can run ads that target people who might want what you’re selling. You can also use social media to get people to visit your website. And you can ask social media influencers with a lot of followers to tell their followers about your product or store.
The goal is to get people looking at you on social media to become customers who buy what you’re selling. By understanding these four stages of the Social Media Cycle, you can develop a more adaptable and effective social media marketing strategy for your business regardless of the inevitable changes in social media.
Related read: The complete guide to social selling
The difference between social media monitoring and social media listening
Social listening is the process of actively listening to what people are talking about online and engaging in meaningful conversations with them. It involves monitoring conversations, keywords, and hashtags related to your business and its industry.
Social monitoring, on the other hand, is more focused on tracking analytics data such as engagement rates, follower count, and post-performance to measure ROI. It also involves analyzing industry trends to identify opportunities for growth.
For an in-depth look at the importance of both, check out our article: social listening vs. social monitoring: The key differences.
Social media analytics: measuring performance
Social media analytics is a process that allows businesses to gain insight into the demographics and engagement of their followers through data analysis. This allows them to create tailored campaigns
to resonate with their audience, leading to improved engagement, sales, and growth. Examples of social media metrics are click-through rates, conversion rates, impressions, engagement rates (likes, comments, and shares), and leads.
Social media analytics can be broken down into three types:
- Social listening analytics track what is said about the brand.
- Sentiment analysis is the positive, negative, or neutral sentiment around a product or service.
- Influencer analysis identifies key social media influencers in your industry.
These data types can help businesses make necessary changes to improve customer experience and build relationships with potential social media influencers.
The best way to analyze social media data
- Define your goals – Be specific about what you want to learn and how you plan to use the information.
- Collect data from multiple sources – Use multiple social platforms to collect data. You could also take advantage of surveys or customer feedback forms.
- Organize your data – Consider creating a system with folders or tags. You could also use a spreadsheet or database system.
- Create visualizations – When it comes to social media data, visualizations can be incredibly helpful in conveying complex information in an easy-to-understand way.• Tell a story with your data – When creating social media performance reports, look for ways to tell a story with the numbers and let the data speak for itself.
- Tell a story with your data – When creating social media performance reports, look for ways to tell a story with the numbers and let the data speak for itself.
For a more in-depth look into the topic, check out our article on social media analytics: Definition, types, and importance.
Also, check out the 13 social media metrics you should be tracking.
Social media management tools – get insights directly from the apps
With detailed audience data from platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you’ll have a better understanding of who your target customers are and how they interact with your content. You’ll gain insights into demographics, page likes, locations, activity levels, and more. In addition to this, you can use data such as top locations for followers on Instagram or job functions on LinkedIn to hone in on specific audiences and make sure the most relevant message is being sent out.
- Facebook Audience Insights: Get demographics, people’s interests, and lifestyles (relationship status and locations).
- Instagram Insights: Learn about follower trends (accounts reached, accounts engaged, and total followers) as well as your content’s overall performance.
- LinkedIn Page Analytics: Get detailed insights into how your page is performing, as well as information on your audience engagement. You can analyze how different types of content are doing, get a breakdown of page visits by location and device, and view overall engagement trends
- Twitter Analytics: Measure engagement of your Tweets and how to get more impact, see the interests, locations, and demographics of your followers. Plus, you can track the success of your Twitter Cards.
Having access to these kinds of insights can help you optimize your social media campaigns for maximum impact.
Social media management platforms: Is it worth the investment
Having reliable social media management platforms is critical for growing businesses. These social media platforms do more than just save time. They also provide businesses with valuable insights into customer behavior. By understanding how customers interact with content, businesses can make better decisions about what content to produce and when to publish it.
Plus, a good social media management platform will make it easy to track conversions and ROI, which can help justify the cost of the service. But with so many social media management platform options, how do you choose the right one for your business? Here are some key characteristics to look for:
- Ease of use – Look for a platform with a user-friendly interface that’s easy to navigate.
- Functionality – The platform should offer all the features you need to effectively manage your social media accounts, including posting content, social media scheduling posts, monitoring activity, and analytics.
- Integrations – The platform should integrate with other tools and systems you already use, including your website, email marketing software, and CRM. Integrations make it easier to share content and manage your social media presence from one central location.
- Pricing – We’re all money conscious, so the platform you pick should be affordable and offer a pricing plan that fits your budget.
- Customer service – The platform should offer reliable customer support to help you with onboarding, issues with features, and any other technical problems.
FAQs about social media management
Social media management is the process of managing a company’s online presence across various social media platforms. This involves activities such as scheduling posts, monitoring conversations, engaging with followers, researching trends, optimizing profiles for visibility, and amplifying reach with paid ads.
How much you pay a social media manager will depend on location and responsibilities. However, it’s estimated that a social media manager in the United States can make anywhere from $40K – $160K per year. Or between $14-35 an hour.
To start social media management, you’ll need to identify your target audience and define the goals or objectives that you hope to achieve. Next, develop a content strategy and create a calendar for scheduling posts. After setting up your social media accounts on various social platforms, you can start publishing content, engaging with followers, responding to inquiries and feedback, researching industry trends and competitors, optimizing profiles for search engine visibility, promoting special offers or campaigns, and amplifying reach with paid advertising.
Social media management can involve creating and managing accounts on multiple platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. This can include posting content, engaging with followers, responding to inquiries and feedback, optimizing profiles for search engine visibility, and promoting special offers or campaigns.
Elevate your social media presence with Birdeye
With Birdeye Social, you can elevate your social media presence and improve your online reputation management with our innovative social media management tools. You can use our all-in-one platform to share customer reviews directly to your social channels, see and respond to posts from popular platforms, and generate reports for insights on important social media metrics.
Combining Birdeye with the power of social media will keep your business ahead of the competition and at the top of search results. For more information about Birdeye, watch our demo or schedule time with a Birdeye product specialist.
This blog post is part of our Social Media Management Guide