The social media marketing zealots we hang out with are dumbfounded to learn there are small businesses that don’t have several employees dedicated to keeping their Facebook pages and Twitter streams constantly updated. “Many small businesses only have one or two employees who are busy doing things like working,” we tell them. They shake their heads as they walk away.


We feel your pain. As much as we know we should give up making sales calls and preparing payroll in order to devote more time to taking photos to post on Instagram, we just can’t do it all. That’s why we try our best to follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!) rule of using social media:

Here are a few of the KISS rules we’ve come up with:

1 | Do one thing well rather than 5 things poorly.

If you don’t have a website, start there. When it comes to using social media, start with making sure your Google My Page is up to date. We suggest that for three reasons (and many more in our Small Business Guide to Managing a Listing on Google Search and Maps:

  1. Google will make you verify that you are, indeed, the owner of the business for which you are setting up the page.
  2. Once they verify it, Google will start using the information you post on that account when people search for you on Google maps and other types of Google search.
  3. Once they verify it, Google will start using the information you post on that account when people search for you on Google maps and other types of Google search.

2 | Do no harm.

Don’t set up a Twitter account with your business name and start ranting about your favorite sports team, or worse, politics — especially politics. Ease into Twitter by subscribing to a few businesses in your hometown. Learn from the ones who are using it well.

3 | Focus on helping your customers, not hyping yourself.

Posting a steady stream of chest-thumping posts on any social network is a recipe for disaster. Customers want to learn about things that will help them, not things that glorify you. That said, an award or some recognition of your quality or service is something both you and your customer can share.

4 | Match your social media tool set to the type of business you’re in and the social media preferences of your customers or clients.

If you are a retailer, photography through Flickr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can encourage people to drop by and see new products you show them. Or, if you are in a field where your keen insights are your product, use the publishing platforms of LinkedIn or Medium.

6 | Have fun, appropriately.

Social media is the most conversational of marketing tools. It can even be fun. However, humor is something that often doesn’t scale well. Especially on Twitter, it is hard for all of your customers to share knowledge of the context and background that makes an attempt at humor understandable.

8|   Learn from companies in your niche or hometown who use social media effectively.

Be a lurker and learner. Be a fan and follower of local businesses and shops you like. Learn from those things they do that make you want to drop by.