Social Media: How, Which, Why, What & When?

Posted: 7th March 2017


By: Victoria Reece-Heal

Social Media for small, local businesses is about connecting you to people and organisations that will benefit your business.

So how do you do that, which social media sites should you use,why should you bother, what should you post and when should you be doing it?


The only way to be successful with your social media is to make it work for your business, and the only way to do that is to plan!

Define your objectives: what do you want to get out of social media?

  • Let people know about you and what you do
  • Get more people to go to your website
  • Generate new sales leads
  • Learn more about your customers’ habits, likes, needs, etc
  • Get known in your local area
  • Etc.

Decide how you want to be seen

  • An expert in your field
  • A local advocate for small business
  • Someone with all the answers
  • Informal, yet professional
  • Approachable and fun
  • Etc.

Know your target market. See blog post ‘Hitting your business bullseye’ >

  • Knowing who you want to connect with, what you want to achieve and the type of ‘personality’ you want to portray, will define what you post and how you write your posts.


There is no need to jump on to all the social media sites and set up accounts… just find out which social media platform (or two) will be most beneficial to your business. How? Find out which one your target audience uses the most.

Finding out just involves a little research – take a look at the different social sites and see what type of people are using them and what types of posts there are. Which one matches your business objectives and your customer base best?

Here are some key facts about some of the most popular social media platforms:


  • For sharing info, facts, stories, updates and images
  • Used by almost 50% of people on the internet
  • Used by almost 50% of all 65+ year olds on the internet


  • For sharing information about yourself and your business and linking it to Google aps (such as maps, search, etc)
  • Used by over 20% of adults on the internet
  • Over 40% of users use it to find info on businesses


  • For sharing short info, facts and updates
  • Used by almost 20% of all internet users
  • 50% of users are under 35 years old


  • For sharing information about yourself and your business
  • Over 60% of users are over 35 years old
  • Often described as ‘Facebook for business’



  • For sharing images (that can link to your website)
  • Over  70% female users
  • Used by almost 20% of all 50+ year olds on the internet

You Tube

  • For sharing videos (that can be linked to your website)
  • Used by over 80% of all teenagers on the internet
  • Used by almost 50% of all those on the internet in their 50s


  • For sharing photos and very short videos (that can be linked to your website)
  • Most popular categories are food, fashion and beer
  • Over  90% of users are under 35 years old


With almost 40% of internet users following their favourite brands on social media and 30% using social media to research products, a social media presence now plays a significant and key role in business growth.

Here are just some of the reasons you should be on social media:

  • Loyalty and trust is greatly increased when people feel they are interacting with you directly
  • 1-in-3 people prefer making contact through social media rather than the telephone
  • You can reach a larger audience of prospective customers
  • It lets people know about your business and makes your business (brand) more recognisable
  • You can find out what your customers do and like, so you can target them more effectively
  • Direct more people to your website through links etc.
  • Increase your search rankings on Google, etc.
  • Free advertising and promotion through your posts
  • Improve customer service through this preferred means of communication
  • Gain feedback on your business products and services
  • It’s free!


What you post will represent your business and create an image and impression of you and what you do… so make sure you are creating the right impression and the very best impression.

Plan your posts and when you are going to post them. This will ensure you have a continuous flow of quality, interesting posts and they will not become a rushed, poorly executed or pointless chore.

Here are some suggestions for posts…

Promoting business

New products/services

  • Images
  • Benefits
  • When they will be available and how to get them



  • Photos
  • Changes
  • Special features
  • Location map



  • At work
  • New employees
  • Key team members
  • Personal achievements of individuals (outside of work)



  • Industry types
  • Individual case studies
  • References
  • Photos
  • Jobs in progress
  • Jobs complete
  • Products (you sold) in use


Awards and Accreditations

  • Details
  • What benefits they offer customers
  • Image of accreditation logo/certificate (and person who achieved it)
  • Image of awards – photos of award/certificate and photos from awards ceremony



  • New business cards – images
  • Brochures – image and link to PDF
  • Leaflets – image and link to PDF
  • Signs – image
  • Van branding – image
  • Uniforms – image
  • Website – image and link to site
  • Social media – links to other social media accounts
  • Adverts and PR – images (in press) and link to PDF of advert/PR



  • Competitions
  • Discounts
  • Offers
  • Sales


Local area

Promote other local businesses

  • Businesses you have used
  • Businesses you have worked with
  • Business people you have just met
  • New businesses to the area
  • Suppliers
  • Customers


Local events

  • Business
  • Networking
  • Social
  • Family


Photos of local area

  • Beauty
  • New
  • Funny
  • Famous (infamous)


New openings

  • Businesses
  • Tourist
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Shops


Local News

  • Headlines
  • Sports
  • Feel-good
  • Business
  • Funny


National/international news

Changes in legislations

  • Summary of legislation and the change
  • Impact on customers
  • Solutions


Political changes

  • Summary of the change
  • Impact on customers
  • Solutions


Financial changes

  • Summary of the change
  • Impact on customers
  • Solutions


Changes in marketplace

  • Summary of the change
  • Impact on customers
  • Solutions


New opportunities

  • Summary of opportunity
  • Benefits for customers



Events you are putting on

  • Announce date and event details
  • Reminders of upcoming event
  • Summary of how event went
  • Photos of event


Events your are attending

  • Announce date and event details
  • Reminders of upcoming event
  • Summary of how event went
  • Photos of event


Promote interesting/useful events in your area

  • Announce date and event details
  • Reminders of upcoming event
  • Summary of how event went
  • Photos of event



The number of posts and frequency of posts will of course depend on your business type and your customer preferences. Based on social media sites’ best practices and different sources of research, the below guide can be used as a starting point for guidance (not gospel!):

Twitter: a tweet has a lifespan of up to two hours, but this can be as short as a few minutes. So up to five tweets a day tends to see a better chance of visibility.

LinkedIn: one post a day on a weekday.

Facebook: one or two posts a day during weekdays. Too many posts can lead to being ‘disliked/unfollowed’.

Google+: Seems to thrive on numerous posts and updates (up to four a day).

Instagram: Start with one a day, but increase as your number of followers increases.

Pinterest: Followers seem to favour multiple posts a day, more than a four a day appears preferable.


Social media.

Plan, be consistent, keep posting, post positive and enjoy it.