Are you using social media to communicate with your customers? If you’re an SMB, then you most definitely should.

Today, the majority of SMBs are using one or more platforms to connect with their audience. In fact, 98% of B2C businesses say they’re using Facebook and 82% are using Instagram. This is because they’re seeing the value of social media when it comes to user engagement. And it’s exactly why brands large and small are taking their campaigns to the next level.

We are not focusing on LinkedIn for B2B businesses in this blog because LinkedIn has become an effective sales tool based on the State of Inbound 2018 research report. We will write an article later with the focus on how to use LinkedIn to engage your prospects and convert them into leads.

linkedin has become a sales channel

If you’re wondering how you can win at social media like the big brands, then let’s take a look at some of the businesses and ideas for SMBs.

Adidas: Using Influencers to Spread Brand Love

Sports brands are well-known for using celebrities to help promote their brands. But this doesn’t mean small- and medium-sized businesses can’t do the same.

In this example, we see an Adidas Instagram #MyNeoShoot campaign, featuring Selena Gomez. It generated 71,000 mentions and 41,000 new followers.


And its success stemmed from using a creative contest that asked Instagramers to use their hashtag in an Adidas-inspired post. Then they’d invite the best creators to a professional photo shoot for the brand.

SMBs can duplicate this success by creating a campaign with a known influencer in your industry or community. Create a hashtag and try to engage your audience with a compelling competition. You can offer free services, products, or a prize to get them involved.

State Bicycle Co.: Weekly Photo Contests

The key to a successful social media campaign is to keep your audience consistently engaged. This may require you to get creative, depending on the industry you’re in.

For this bike company, they decided to build user-generated content. In their campaign, they asked its Facebook followers to share photos for their weekly challenge. Then whoever submits the best snapshot for the week’s theme will get a new bike, gift card, and other prizes.


So how well did this campaign do? Since its inception in 2013, the brand grew its followers from 4,500 to over 475,000 and nearly 480,000 likes. Facebook is also generating 12% of its traffic. And the real kicker is the $500K in annual sales Facebook generates for them from coupon codes the brand shares on the platform.

How can you do something similar? Well, you can try to come up with a weekly challenge for your followers. Not only does this engage your audience, but it’ll also help spread the word and generate more followers for your page.

Bloom & Wild: Building Lookalike Audience Campaigns

Here’s a floral company that decided to use Instagram for social media advertising. It crafted lookalike audiences by importing their email list. They ran a couple of low-budget campaigns to test the waters and see what generated the most conversions.

They found certain images converted better, but nothing compared to the rates seen with video content. So they decided to use video for their campaign and it helped boost their orders by 62% (plus, they attracted new customers).

bloom and wild instagram campaign

The great lesson here for SMBs is that you can learn a lot by testing social media marketing with low-dollar amounts. Lookalike audiences can really help drive your campaigns towards success as well. This is especially necessary when you’re using a new channel. The brand went from 25,000 followers in 2016 to over 75,000 in 2018.

Sonic Drive-In: Freebies & Convenience

Every consumer loves freebies and ease of access to the products they love. And that’s what made the Sonic Drive-In #SquareShakes campaign a success. During the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, the brand displayed ads on Instagram that allowed users to choose the flavor they wanted to have hand-delivered.


Plus, they’d get it for free by taking a picture with their hashtag. Needless to say, the campaign was quite successful. It received 26,000 likes and 1,000 comments. And then their follower count rose from 118,000 to 129,000.

This shows how SMBs can use social media advertising to build awareness about a particular product. And then drive engagement by offering the product for free.

Uniqlo: Hijacking Social Media Streams

Now, what if there was a way to capture the attention of millions of people? That’s exactly what this brand did by “hijacking” the streams of Pinterest users all at once.

uniqolo social media campaign

While users were scrolling through the platform, they’d come across images of Uniqlo’s t-shirts changing colors and flipping around. This garnered an impressive 55 million impressions – all without paying a dime for an ad. The campaign also received over 6,000 mentions on Twitter – an entirely different platform!

The takeaway from this campaign is that you can use creative methods to get attention for free using social media. The platforms you use in your strategy will determine which types of content would work best. If you’re looking for attention for a new product, then make your posts stand out like this brand did. Make the colors, graphics, and animations jump out so that it captures your audience’s attention. And don’t forget to include a hashtag.

Using Facebook and Instagram for Social Media Marketing

As you’ll find above, both Instagram and Facebook are quite successful for B2C SMBs. However, your particular brand, audience, and industry will determine which social media platform and approach is best for your business.

For example, if you’re a B2B company, you’ll most likely find Linkedin to be an ideal platform. However, you don’t want to neglect Facebook because, after all, most business owners have a Facebook account and will more than likely engage with a product post that could benefit their business. It is worth the investment to create and manage a Facebook, and other social platform company pages, because the popularity of social media platforms can change quickly.

The key is to test your campaigns thoroughly to determine which techniques and social platforms work the best. Hopefully, you can learn a thing or two from the brands above and apply the ideas.

Read more: Four Brands Winning Big in Social Media