This article takes a look at the different ways through which social media platforms can be effective for growing your business.

When it comes to small businesses, a huge cost that can be extremely costly is advertising. A great way to advertise for your business in a cost-conscious way is by way of social media. Social media sites, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, are really useful tools that business owners can use to spread the word about their company, and establish credibility online, and engage with prospective and existing clients. According to research formulated at Boston University under the course “Social Equity and Marketing in the Cannabis Industry”, the businesses that performed best on social media were the ones that maintained an active presence on each platform. Therefore, the general recommendation across the board of all platforms is that consistency is key when it comes to maintaining a page. In order to reach the largest audience possible it is recommended to not only post frequently, but also consistently respond to comments and messages so as to create a loyal following. When it comes to general posts, another recommendation is to ensure that  posts are diverse. An audience does not want to consistently see images of the same product. By making content diverse, either posting images of different products, behind the scenes, or images of the exterior or interior of the business or workspace, a business can keep an audience engaged. Furthermore, to reach the most individuals, utilizing hashtags allows others interested in the business and similar products to easily find the page. Social media is also a great place to make a name for your business by setting it apart from others of its kind. By posting what makes both you and your business unique, this will draw in an audience and make them want to support you and everything you represent. Social media helps businesses craft an image that will help to distinguish your business, making it unique so it can increase engagements and sales conversion. While it is recommended that a business has an account on each main platform: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, the way users take advantage of these platforms can and should be a bit different in order to fully take advantage of what each site offers. Instagram is most helpful when it comes to building a community of people and converting followers into actual customers. Instagram users value aesthetic, so high quality photographs that differ in their subject, but connect to others on the page, are highly recommended. It is also recommended that Instagram users take advantage of the story feature as it feels more personal to users. Lastly, it is highly beneficial for businesses to link their website in the bio of their Instagram so customers can access their site. Twitter varies from Instagram since it places far less value on images and focuses more on words and trends. While images can be posted on Twitter, they do not have to be included in each post. Constantly linking your businesses website in Tweets is a great way to convert users to customers on Twitter. Twitter is also a great space to connect with a larger community by posting and retweeting content either related to your business or your values. By connecting with the larger community, it can help users feel more connected to your business as they can see that they share similar values. Lastly is Facebook, and out of the three main social media platforms, this one according to the research study is the least useful when it comes to marketing. This is as a result of the nature of Facebook: in contrast to Instagram and Twitter, the posts on Facebook themselves are much wordier and filled with more content on average. Since the average attention span of an individual has decreased to only 8.25 seconds, this can mean Facebook posts, which typically take longer than that to review, can be brushed over or ignored. However it is still important to maintain a presence. The average Facebook user is older and tends to be less savvy when it comes to technology. This means that when crafting a Facebook post, it is recommended that a business make it extremely clear how to purchase items or utilize the business that you are advertising. However, since the average audience is a bit different on Facebook than it is on Twitter and Instagram, this can mean reaching a whole new demographic of individuals. Therefore, it is extremely important to engage with the community created on Facebook, as well as the other sites, to increase audience engagement.   **This article summarizes information from a marketing plan developed in Boston University’s Hub XCC 433 Equity and Marketing in the Cannabis Industry course in the Spring of 2021.

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