Social Marketing for Small Business

I was asked to speak to a few independent mortgage brokers recently on why they should use social media to help promote their new endeavours. My first thought was “why wouldn’t you?” But I live in that world – it’s my go-to approach and first thoughts on marketing. To others, steeped in traditional marketing methods, or new to marketing themselves, they have to see the benefits first before they are willing to plunge down that rabbit hole.

It did make me think about my own efforts and for the campaigns that I’ve built for other companies. What were our goals? Why did we choose the channels we did? Why use social marketing? I interviewed some small business owners and some other very brilliant social media people and they helped solidify the why to my how.

If you take nothing else away from this blog post make it this: marry your tactics to your mission. Use tactics and strategies that work for your company that will seal a partnership between and boost both. DON’T use a tactic if it doesn’t at its heart, coincide with your business’s mission.

Make it easy! Download this planning form we’ve made that will track your social media efforts and help you target the people you need to write towards.

Why use social marketing at all?

First off, if everyone is using a channel in marketing, you have to analyze its potential for your marketing. If it’s popular enough the question turns into why AREN’T you using it? You’ll look odd if you don’t. You’ll be behind. And sometimes for marketing that’s a good enough reason. Here’s looking at you, SnapChat. If it has the attention of users than it is a viable medium for marketing. Marketing is all about attention, it is attention, and you have to focus your efforts where people’s attention is, and in today’s world, that’s online in some form or another.

For small businesses, though, with limited resources, that may not be sufficient grounds to step away from other marketing efforts to focus on social marketing tactics. The primary driver for small business to use social media to promote their business is cost. Social media marketing can grow to fit any budget, even none, and only requires your time and ingenuity (lots of time).

Headlines ARE Your Content!

Most people don’t go beyond headlines. Ergo, you should spend more time crafting the headline than creating the post. More people will read it and for most, that’s ALL they’ll read. Use tried and true headline writing techniques to write your perfect headline, don’t copy headlines that work, learn how they work and make your own.

Build the Core Followers and They’ll Do Your Work For You

Take a look at this TedTalk:

By Derek Sivers. I’ll wait, go watch it. You may have seen it before, it’s worth a re-watch.

Now go find and nurture your first fanatics. The best first followers are the influencers already out there in an industry, who have authority in that industry, and a large following already.

BUT they don’t have to be directly from YOUR industry! Look for influencers that are in the same industry as your target market. Are you trying to sell mortgages to first-time home buyers? Wedding advisors know a ton of people about to buy their first property, get an authoritative wedding planner on your side. Write a post about the three biggest mistakes new couples make when buying their first home and share it with that follower. They’ll pass it onto others of their ilk who’ll do the same to other first time home buyers they may know. That’s a WiNN marketing tip right there. Which leads us to our next steps, actually STEPP, and what makes your social media efforts share-worthy.

STEPP Worthy Social Media Content that People will Read

News agencies use certain cues to tell if a story is newsworthy and so should you. Your content is actually competing against everything else bombarding people and will only garner their attention if it hits at least two of these key considerations. Normally, your story should perform well in at least two areas, before you even consider using it. Keep in mind, competition plays a part in the news. If there are a lot of newsworthy stories on a particular day (or just one spectacular one) then all the other stories will be ignored – so too in social media. Although some stories can be delayed until a new slot becomes available, time-sensitive news will often be dropped permanently.

Your social media content is news, albeit on a very small scale, that has to compete against all that other news in people’s feeds. If you want people to read and share your content they need to hit some of these key factors.

1. Significance

The number of people affected by the story is important. A plane crash in which hundreds of people died is more significant than a crash killing a dozen.

2. Timing

The word news means exactly that – things which are new. Topics which are current are good news. Consumers are used to receiving the latest updates, and there is so much news about that old news is quickly discarded.

A story with only average interest needs to be told quickly if it is to be told at all. If it happened today, it’s news. If the same thing happened last week, it’s no longer interesting.

3. Emotional Interest

Human interest stories are a bit of a special case. They often disregard the main rules of newsworthiness; for example, they don’t date as quickly, they need not affect a large number of people, and it may not matter where in the world the story takes place. Human interest stories appeal to emotion – they aim to evoke responses such as amusement or sadness or sympathy. TV news programs often place a humorous or quirky story at the end of the show to finish on a feel-good note. Newspapers often have a dedicated area for offbeat or interesting items. Your blog or social media efforts can contain this element of newsworthiness too.

4. Proximity

Stories which happen near to us have more significance. The closer the story to home, the more newsworthy it is. Note that proximity doesn’t have to mean geographical distance. Stories from countries with which we have a particular bond or similarity have the same effect. Google loves local, so does your audience. Provide content that “hits home” and you’ll see more interest

5. Prominence

Famous people get more coverage just because they are famous. If you break your arm it won’t make the news, but if the Queen of England breaks her arm… This is why selfies with celebrities are so powerful and prevalent. If you can, tie into bigger names to build your content’s audience. Eventually, you’ll be the bigger name and people will come to you to buddy up on content. Respect goes a long way in this situation.

How much is too much?

Frequency builds an audience, but don’t put something on social media because your schedule of tweets demands it. Actual HAVE something to say each time, or just skip it until you do. With that in mind, the nature of your content shouldn’t be always your selling points. No one likes to be sold to constantly. Think of it this way, remember that guy you just recently met who only talked about himself? Ugh. Yeah, we all know those guys. Hate them. So too in social media. Break up your constant self-promotion with a mix like this:

  • 30% about your business,
  • 30% about your what your customers may find fascinating about your industry,
  • 30% about human interest stories or social causes your business believes in,
  • 10% randomness that gives your business a heart and soul.


Ideas without a plan are just dreams.

Great, you’ve bought into the idea you need social media, not to execute. Download this planning form we’ve made that will track your social media efforts and help you target the people you need to write towards.

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