Small Business Advice

How can social media boost your SMB?

Social media is a powerful tool for growing a small business. Here are the best social media platforms for business in 2021 and 2022.

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Social media is where consumers are, and that’s where your small business should be. In the U.S., for example, 84% of adults actively use social media sites. These are real consumers with real purchasing power. Grab their attention and you’ll be best placed to turn them from mere stats to leads, conversions and sales.

Here are a few more numbers that may tickle your entrepreneurial fancy:

  • 73% of marketing executives say that social media has been effective or very effective for their companies, according to Oberlo.
  • 72% of American consumers use social media to discover new products, according to Statista.
  • 71% of consumers who’ve had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to friends and family.
  • 49% of buyers will purchase a product that’s recommended by a social media influencer.
  • 36% of U.S. consumers purchase products directly from social media channels.

Image source: Statista

The bottom line

Social media is not just a platform where you can build meaningful relationships with your customers, it’s a place to create new avenues of revenue. Just being on social media can lead people to your products and create brand awareness and loyalty.

But which social media is best for business in 2021 and beyond? Here are the top 8:

  • Word of mouth marketing
  • User generated content
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • TikTok
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

1. Word of mouth marketing

Customers who’ve had the best experience with your company will tell other people about your brand and products. That’s word of mouth (WOM) marketing. Consider it free advertising that’s triggered by customer service that goes beyond what they expected.

Word of mouth marketing is a big deal. 92% of consumers believe in suggestions from friends and family more than they believe in ads, according to a Nielsen report. Another 88% trust online reviews written by other consumers and 74% of consumers would make a purchase entirely based on word of mouth.

The trick? Work to create an epic experience for every customer who purchases from your business. They’ll tell others about your brand. Just as important, they’ll be loyal to your brand. The National Law Review says that it costs up to five times more to acquire a new customer than retain a current one.

2. User generated content

We all have that handy social media friend who will buy something and tell us all about it. Whether they’re just posting photos, narrating their experience with the product or creating a detailed review, this is known as user generated content (UGC).

It essentially refers to content about your brand that’s created by someone who isn’t affiliated to your company. the person may be a customer or just a random individual who may have had one or two experiences with your business.

User generated content can be as simple as a social media post about a brand/product or as detailed as a video or podcast review. Regardless, UGC is pretty effective. 16% of consumers say that they’re likely to follow and post about a brand on social platforms if they’re pleased with the service they receive.

Think GoPro. Anyone who buys a GoPro almost always feels compelled to talk about it online and post sample photos/videos. This doesn’t just increase brand awareness, but it also boosts sales – as the team at Dune London found out. Their sales went up 82% when they started publishing (on their website) Instagram photos of their real customers wearing their real fashion accessories.

3. Instagram

Instagram has 1.386 billion users and about 140 million of them are in the U.S. Of the total monthly active users, 81% say that they use the platform to research products and services. A whopping 130 million tap on shopping posts while 200 million visit at least one business profile every day.

The bottom line? Instagram users are more than willing to interact with brands. Share your content, products and brand story – whether it’s through photos, videos, live videos or Instagram Stories. The more you post the higher the interaction and the more likely you are to make sales. At the very least, you’ll direct current and potential customers to your products.

4. Facebook

Facebook is the granddaddy of social media. 2.89 billion people use it every month. That’s well over a third of the world’s population. And according to Search Engine Journal, businesses that deal in consumer goods, retail, e-commerce, automotive, media, telecommunication, gaming, financial services, entertainment and technology get the most love from Facebook users.

Advertisers – 65 million of them – flock Facebook because it’s perhaps the easiest social media platform to advertise on. You can post images, videos, live streams, Stories and even text to promote your company. The more the engagements, the more Facebook will prioritize your posts. This little algorithm trick can help you reach a wide audience without necessarily buying Facebook ads. And of course, the bigger your audience the more Facebook leads you get.

5. LinkedIn

This is where B2B companies come to thrive. LinkedIn users generally don’t visit the site for entertainment or shopping. They go to make professional connections and discover more about their industry. LinkedIn is home to 50% of U.S. college graduates, which makes it a great place to find professional employees who can take your small business to the next level.

To attract top talent, you will want to build your business profile so that it portrays leadership and authority in your industry. You can also opt into LinkedIn ads where the network boosts your content, sends personalized ads to your target audience’s inboxes, and displays ads by the side of the website.

6. TikTok

With over one billion users, it’s impossible to ignore the impact of TikTok on business. This social media site rules the world of short-form videos. Think of it as YouTube but with bit-sized videos.

TikTok is popular among Gen Z. If your products are tailored for the young audience, then this platform gives you an unrivaled opportunity to reach newer and larger audiences. Thanks to its self-serve section, you can create, post and monitor your own content for free without having to use high-end production tools.

Better yet, TikTok for Business now lets you integrate your content into users’ “For You” feed. This simply means that your posts don’t appear as disruptive pop-up ads or un-skippable video ads. Instead, they are integrated into users’ native experience alongside other recommended posts.

This is a genius way of promoting brands because at no point will a user’s overall experience be disrupted. They’ll view your posts (organic and promoted posts) and over time recognize your brand. This is what leads to conversions and sales.

7. Twitter

Twitter is one of the few social media that can deliver both B2C and B2B marketing. It’s highly engaging and allows your company to reach consumer, freelancer and executive audiences. There’s a catch, though. Turning organic Twitter engagements into leads can be tricky. And that’s where Twitter advertising comes in.

If you have the budget for it, you can opt into paid ads that target your potential customers. Combine this with promotional content to your blog posts and websites, and you’ll find it easier to connect your business with content-hungry audiences. Don’t forget to hop on hashtags that are relevant to your business and industry. That’s how to boost brand awareness.

8. Pinterest

Pinterest is quite an interesting social media platform. While 78% of its users say that content from brands is useful, most of them visit the site mostly for inspiration and to discover new things. Pinterest users are not heavy on engagement.

So, what can you do with that information? For one, it points you to the type of content to create. If you’re making unique and inspiring posts, your brand will be easily discoverable. Thanks to the Pinterest Buy button, users who like your content can add your products to their shopping carts, making it easy for you to turn visitors into sales right from the site.

You’ll especially have more fun on Pinterest if your business is in beauty, travel, interior décor, fashion, or craft. Don’t forget to add links to your website to push traffic there as well.

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