Manifesto Marketing

A 6-Step Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses

Imagine you’re a coffee shop owner—let’s call it “Sunrise Joe.”

You just opened, even though coffee joints seem to be on every corner.

The grand opening was thriving and full of new customers and coffee lovers. You gained a few followers on the social media channels you have set up. And yet, as time goes on, you notice many customers return to frequenting the coffee shops they knew before you existed.

Now you’re wondering what you did wrong. Do people not like the coffee? Was the service not up to their standards?

What was supposed to be a joyous dream of yours has left you questioning your business’s worth.

Every dime you had went into opening this coffee shop. You have little to no marketing budget. And you need customers to keep the business afloat.

With so much competition in the coffee world, how do you foster a community of coffee-lovers to become Sunrise Joe loyalists and frequent customers?

One answer—harness the power of social media marketing to help regain the customers you need to thrive.

Small businesses face huge challenges when entering the social media marketing world. It can be difficult to invest and see returns on investments when there are already limited budgets.

These six practical steps can be a game changer in building brand awareness and getting leads through social media. Follow this guide to start getting the results you desire.

Why Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses Is Important

When growing social media, it’s easy for a small business owner to focus on the number of followers gained rather than creating brand awareness.

It’s common to think followers equal paying customers. But this isn’t always the case.

Social media marketing can be a low-cost, organic option for creating that brand awareness and recognition you are looking to achieve. This is true even with a low number of followers who are loyal and engaged.

That’s why we think every small business owner should learn how to leverage social media to help gain those customers and grow awareness.

One Pre-Step to Getting Results Through Social Media

If Sunrise Joe wanted to hit the ground running, brainstorming a rational content strategy and focusing on growing engagement rates should happen first.

Before following these five steps, remember these few things:

  • Social media is not a sales channel
  • It invests in building a community
  • Choosing the right content is important for your target audience

In Sunrise Joe’s case, it’s possible to extract results even with a slim marketing budget. This entails following our recommendations and using our free social media management platform.

Just think of Semrush’s Social Media toolkit as an entire department designed to automate core processes in your social media marketing strategy.

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of social media—and gave you a quick pre-step as a head start—let’s see how Sunrise Joe can up its social media marketing game.

Step 1: Uncover Rivals’ Winning Strategies

The first step in launching Sunrise Joe’s social media—or improving the performance of existing social media channels—is understanding what works in this niche for its competitors.

For Sunrise Joe to succeed with social media marketing, some analyses are needed first.

Analyzing Social Media Platforms

With so many social media platforms to choose from, it’s impossible to know which will be suitable for Sunrise Joe. However, the business can examine which social media platforms work well for its competitors and use those observations as a jumping-off point for its social media strategy. For this article, we will examine competitors and industry-related niches like Caribou Coffee, Blue Bottle, Panera Bread, and Costa Coffee.

Sunrise Joe can also utilize Social Media Tracker to understand its competitors and which social media platform it should focus on.

Observing the “audience” metrics in the screenshot below, Sunrise Joe can see that most all the competitors have a high number of followers on Facebook and fewer on other platforms like Instagram.


However, when looking at the “engagement” metrics of the Tracker, engagement is much higher on Instagram for all competitors despite the number of followers.

This proves a high number of followers doesn’t necessarily mean high engagement.


By seeing competitors’ social media platforms and how they are faring, Sunrise Joe can compare engagement between channels and decide which one it might perform better on.

Based on these screenshots, we can conclude that Instagram is likely a better channel for building up a social media presence since there is higher engagement.

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