Social media marketing has revolutionised the way smaller businesses can advertise and find new customers, helping brands to grow both locally and nationally. We’re here to help you get started.

During COVID-19, we worked with Be More Social to create a short on-demand webinar course to empower small business owners and the self-employed to grow in the digital world and reap the benefits of social media marketing.

In this step-by-step series, digital guru Rik Courtney teaches you how to choose the best channel for your business, how to get started, and how to manage it like a pro. We've also included practical tips to help you put what you've learnt into practice, as well as further reading to strengthen your skills.

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Lesson 1: How to make your business digital

In this introductory webinar, you'll learn the five fundamental things you must do to succeed with digital marketing and have a growing digital presence in your field.

Over the course of this series, we will be looking at all of the solutions you need in place to be able to find new customers and maintain relationships with current customers.

How can you apply the five fundamentals to your small business?
  • Tactic 1: Map your customer journey. What does the customer journey look like in your business? If you are struggling, re-watch from 10:50 onwards for hints. 
  • Tactic 2: Create shareable content. Whether it's a video, photos, blog or podcast, create a piece of content for your website or social media page and share it with your audience. Remember to focus on the value that you're offering potential customers. 
  • Tactic 3: Focus on organic social media. Try creating a poll on your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts and ask your follows to reply to a question. Reply to each comment you receive to boost your engagement.
  • Tactic 4: Host value-packed webinars. Practice filming yourself talking about your business or one of your products on your mobile phone. Post this to your social feed and reply to the comments. Once you feel confident, try holding a Facebook Live event (don't forget to tell your followers first!)
  • Tactic 5: Conversion-focused web design. Ask a friend or family member to take a look at your website (or social media channel) and give you honest feedback. See if you can find a way to improve from their feedback. 
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Lesson 2: How to find customers on LinkedIn

In this webinar, you'll learn how to:

  • create the perfect LinkedIn profile
  • search for new customers over LinkedIn  
  • source the right leads using specific keywords
  • convert leads into customers

Make sure you are logged in to your LinkedIn account so you can put what you learn into practice!

Let's take your LinkedIn to the next level 
  • Use a clear photo, ideally where your head fills 60% of the space
  • Add a strap line telling people what you do
  • Add your website URL and social media handles 
  • Write a headline for your profile
  • Tell people who you are and what you offer - try to use keywords relevant to your industry and make it engaging
Complete Rik's daily checklist for LinkedIn
  • Post an update 
  • Like at least three updates from your newsfeed
  • Add to someone's post by commenting
  • Selectively reach out to three to five people 
  • Join a group and answer three questions
  • Search LinkedIn posts and answer three more questions 
Share your expertise

Why not try writing an article for your industry demonstrating your knowledge and skill in your field? Set yourself a reminder to do this once a month. 

Your company LinkedIn page

Your LinkedIn company page is a great channel for potential new hires to learn more about your company. You can showcase points such as:

  • Company culture
  • Employees experience working at the company
  • Employee achievements
  • Current open positions

Aside from posting job opportunities and career information, you can also post about any company milestones your business may have achieved. Attaching an image or video to your LinkedIn posts is more likely to drive higher engagement. You can also use your LinkedIn company page to post content tailored towards professions in your target audience, including industry studies and webinars. When it comes to posting, consistency is key and regular posts will not only keep your followers up to date but also ensure that you keep appearing on their timelines. 

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Lesson 3: How to engage in Facebook Groups to find customers and maintain relationships

Learning how to engage in Facebook groups is a huge opportunity - and necessity - for any businesses. You'll discover:

  • the secret tool for ‘Social Listening’, allowing you to find and engage with prospects from Facebook Groups
  • how to convert them into customers
  • a solution to successfully maintain that relationship
Set up your own Facebook Group 

Create a Facebook Group for your product or service. If you need a reminder of how to do this, watch the video again from 45:25.

Manage your own Facebook Group
  • Tactic 1: Provide extra value for your customers. Each week, plan a post or video for your Facebook page explaining a concept or top tips on using your product or service. Why not film a Q&A session using questions asked by your customers?
  • Tactic 2: Create a sense of community. Design posts for your page which encourage people to post a reply. Challenge your customers to take photographs of your product in their homes or post innovative ways they are using it to encourage user generated content. Post a quiz featuring questions about your product or service and offer a prize to the winner. 
  • Tactic 3: Create a sense of exclusiveness. Making your group secret means your customers can only join if you invite them via a link. This is useful if your product is an ongoing service. Making your group private means that people can search for it but you have to approve their request to join. Being part of a group fosters community and allows Facebook to send notifications when you post to the group. 
  • Tactic 4: Beat the Facebook algorithm. Facebook prioritises posts from friends, families and groups over other items on a user's newsfeed and also sends notifications to alert users of new posts. Encourage people to visit your group for the first time by posting a welcome message to them (check the video from 36:25 for a reminder of how to do this.)
Get involved in other Facebook Groups 

Look for groups in your area and in your sector that you can join. Remember to look at the number of posts per day to make sure the group is active and lively.

Once you have joined, introduce yourself with a post about who you are and what you do. Find some questions to answer and be helpful. For a reminder of how Rik did this, watch the video from 9:28.

Remember, joining and spamming the group with posts promoting your business is likely to get your removed. Visit the group regularly and engage in other people's posts until you learn the rules of the group. 

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Lesson 4: How to use Twitter Lists to find new customers and maintain relationships 

Twitter lists are a great way of slowing down your newsfeed, making it more digestible and increasing its value. You'll go through a step by step process on how to:

  • set up a Twitter List
  • add people and monitor the flow of updates
  • source opportunities, reach out and introduce yourself via the platform
Get to grips with Tweetdeck

For those just starting out with Twitter, Tweetdeck provides everything you need to manage your account for free. Add columns to monitor different accounts, hashtags, influencers or competitors. If you need a reminder on how to do this, watch the video from 18:20 onwards. Try making a list to create a custom feed from your community, competitors or even just people who inspire you.

Schedule your content

Tweetdeck has a built-in scheduler, allowing you to create content ahead of time and schedule it for a time that suits you. This means if you are struck with #MondayMotivation to create some #FeatureFriday posts, you can create them all and schedule the content for publication on the correct day (watch from 28:45 if you need a reminder)

  • Marketing post: A post about your products or services, for example a special offer or a new release.
  • Reactionary post: This might be a retweet of a post you find interesting or insightful, or a post about you or your business. Remember to add a comment to the post instead of just clicking retweet.
  • Communications post: The type of post with the greatest scope. Tell people about a blog you have written, a publication you appear in or an award you have won, give your followers a glimpse behind the scenes, introduce your team or even your office dog! These types of post are great for helping your account stay interesting and engaging. 

Remember to take a look at what is trending on Twitter and see if you can use this hashtag or provide a spin on this. Think about how you could use hashtags to raise your profile. 

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Lesson 5: How to sell more products on Instagram

In this webinar, you will learn how to:

  • navigate the complexities of Instagram
  • identify the right hashtags
  • find potential opportunities for your business
  • convert your profile to a business profile
  • set up your first advert
Making the most of your profile

Before you can create content, you need to know who you are creating content for. Who is your target market? Use this to set your (SMART) objectives for Instagram. Remember the stages of the customer journey: awareness, engagement, amplification, conversion and customer. For a recap of these, watch from 13:45 onwards.  

  1. Optimise your profile

    Your Instagram bio is 150 characters long, so make them count!

    🔗 Links and hashtags are clickable in your bio - curate user generated content with a branded hashtag and signpost people to your website
    😄 Show your personality with emojis related to your business
    👀 Breaks and spaces make your profile easier to read

    Your profile image should be you or your logo. Stay consistent with your other platforms. Your name, handle and category should clearly show who you are and what you do.
  2. Set up your calls to action

    These allow users to perform actions such as book appointments, make reservations or buy tickets directly from your profile. You can set these up from your profile, however some do require third party sites that you will need to set up. 
  3. Create your content

    Make your content interesting and give it a brand identity to make it uniquely yours. Sites such as Canva offer free tools and templates to help you create posts with consistent themes and colours, as well as Instagram Story templates.

    Try using Reels to record and upload videos to your account - these could be product reveals, offers, quick tips or behind the scenes peeks at your business. Don't forget to add captions, use hashtags and ask questions to help people find and engage with your content. 
  4. Grow your audience

    Once your account is set up and you are regularly posting, you can start to reach out to find more people interested in your brand. Remember to use the strategies mentioned in the video to find potential followers. 

    Add to your discoverability by location tagging - simply add in your location whilst uploading your content to reach local customers or tourists nearby.
  5. Promote, promote, promote

    Tell the world about your Instagram. Put it on your website, emails, packaging  - wherever you can think of! Don't forget to post on your other social media accounts to let people know you are on Instagram.
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Bringing it all together

Our final webinar brings together everything you have learnt to create a five-pillar plan to help you create, build and manage a social media presence for your brand.

Click the video to the left to start the lesson. Make sure the sound is on and set to a comfortable level by using the volume control to the right of the video's playbar. 

A baker takes a photo of a cake that she has made

Maximise your digital advertising as a small business

Learn how you can create eye-catching adverts, launch your latest campaign and measure the success of your digital advertising all in one place with BT’s new Digital Marketing Hub. 

Find out more

 A work in progress

Now you have the tools to get started with social media marketing, you can start building your brand presence. Remember to set SMART goals that benefit you and your business, and that it takes time to build up a following and establish relationships with your followers.

Marketing your business

Learn how to market your small business successfully and attract new customers with resources, videos and guides from marketing and PR experts.

Visit the hub