Written By: Samantha Carlin

The two most common reasons business owners give for not using or investing in social media are that they don’t have time and they don’t need it. This is because so much social media advice out there insists that every business has the same reason for using social media: to engage with customers and grow business. In reality, not every business needs or wants to do these things. But every business does need a social media presence, and you can use social media to accomplish small goals even if you’re not the type to tweet 10 times a day. Here are some simple social media missions and tips on how to accomplish them.

If You Want to Maintain a Basic Online Presence

At the bare minimum, you should have a Facebook page for your business that’s attractive and displays current information about hours, pricing, and services. Update it at least once a week with a post and you can consider your basic social media duties complete.

Pinterest is also a low-interaction investment in social media. You can pin photos of the merchandise you have available or simply repin items or quotes you find inspiring. Plus, following others in your industry that you admire will keep you up-to-date on trends.

If You Want to Engage with Customers Online

Get visual. On Facebook and Twitter, photos often get more response than text-only posts. Try posting photos of a stylish new haircut you just gave a client, a new dish your restaurant just added, or a new product line you’ve just begun to carry. You can also encourage customers to tag your business in their own photos or videos, and then create a community album of their submissions.

Another great way to start a discussion is to ask your customers a question. This could be a request for feedback on your business or suggestions on new products or services to offer.

If You Want to Increase Interest in a Certain Product or Service

Create a simple how-to video that explains how customers can get the most out of their purchases. It could be a stylist’s demonstration of the best way to use a hair product or a yoga teacher’s instructions on basic stretches to do between yoga classes. Videos offer you a great way to further your brand by sharing your special expertise—something that sets your business apart from competitors and from impersonal online purchases.

You may also want to include information about the product development process or why you’re carrying a new brand. Another option for punching up a video is to seek out endorsements from well-known customers or local celebrities. When it’s finished, post it to YouTube, share it on your other social media channels, and send it out in an email blast.

As with all marketing strategies, it’s important to track the results of your social media efforts. Facebook and Twitter offer free analytics tools you can use to measure the results of your social-media activity, and there are plenty of other tools that monitor your business’s social activity.

When using analytics tools such as these, note what types of posts at what times of day or night get the most responses. More importantly, note which social-media promotions actually drive traffic through your doors and adjust your efforts accordingly.

About the Author:

Samantha Carlin – Manager of Marketing Communications, Groupon 
Samantha is an expert on small business advertising and manager of marketing communications on Groupon’s Merchant Marketing team. She contributes regularly to the Groupon Merchant Blog. Previously, Samantha worked at an airport security start-up. | Groupon Merchant Blog