Social Media Marketing 101: Tips for Newbies


Julie Frost

Nov 13, 2023


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Social Media

At first glance, promoting your business through social media seems effortless. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, provide a pre-built website, free promotion tools, and a userbase with millions of people. However, your audience needs a reason to follow--and if you don't reach your profile's full potential, you'll barely crack a few hundred followers.

Common novice mistakes include:

  1. Signing up for every social media website
  2. Not building a content calendar
  3. Posting ads and nothing else
  4. Ignoring comments
  5. Ineffectively utilizing hashtags
  6. Sticking to one post format
  7. Missing unique selling opportunities

These social media marketing tips for beginners help you find an initial audience and then turn a steady trickle of followers into an avalanche. Marketing trends change, but a strong foundation ensures that you'll maintain your foothold.

Choose Your Platforms

Social Media Apps

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest: dozens of platforms compete for the Internet's attention. The biggest sites earn over a billion users. Surely, signing up for every website is the best way to expand your reach. Why limit yourself when each profile introduces you to a different audience?

Surprisingly, joining every website makes it harder to find customers. When you sign up, you must post content regularly to stay relevant. You'll also have to tailor your content to suit the platform: while short blurbs work for Twitter, they're unusable on Instagram and TikTok. Plus, follower interactions across the platforms could add up to hundreds of comments per day.

Choosing a few platforms helps you focus on your audience. Since you're not stretching yourself across several websites, you'll have time to personalize your interactions, share quality posts, and host events, such as charity livestreams. You'll become a social media expert and challenge yourself to utilize every feature.

Find Your Demographic

Who do you imagine when you think about social media users? When they discuss Facebook, many people picture middle-aged users connecting with their relatives. Instagram and TikTok conjure images of teenagers who admire influencers. While millennials hang out on Twitter, older women find recipes on Pinterest.

If you sign up for Pinterest and Facebook while targeting Gen Z, you're likely wasting your budget on a small audience. Finding the right social media sites for your business means maximizing your follower count. Millions of people in your demographic visit these sites daily--and with tailored content, even the busiest millennial or boomer will stop scrolling.

Build a Calendar

Woman working on a content calendar

You wrote ten great tweets on Monday, so you posted them all. On Tuesday, you didn't have time for Twitter/X because you were busy with Pinterest. You posted another tweet on Wednesday and threw together a Facebook post. Next, you spent Thursday writing a blog post. Friday is when you realize that you neglected Instagram all week and never responded to comments on your tweets. Do you play catch-up all weekend?

Content calendars prevent this situation. You'll schedule your posts a month ahead to create a steady content stream. This gives you plenty of advance time to create posts, and you'll avoid overloading your followers one day and neglecting them the next.

Likewise, content calendars help you diversify your marketing. Instead of dropping everything on one platform, you'll give each profile equal attention.

Your calendar could look like this:

  1. Monday: Tweet and Instagram post about upcoming sale
  2. Tuesday: TikTok video with a behind-the-scenes peek at the new product
  3. Wednesday: Instagram post with event photos
  4. Thursday: Tweet that asks an engaging question, a new blog post on the website
  5. Friday: TikTok video with a sale countdown
  6. Saturday: Sale advertisements across all platforms
  7. Sunday: Instagram poll, plus stories that discuss the company's week

Scheduling ahead also helps you engage your audience. Since you're not rushing at the last minute, you'll have time to craft informative blog posts, entertaining videos, catchy tweets and thrilling announcements. Plus, you can rely on your backlog if something interferes with content creation.

While you're at it, browse these USP ideas to learn more about marketing.

Diversify Your Content

Social media marketing tips for beginners often discuss pictures, videos, and blog posts because a diverse calendar holds your audience's attention. An Instagram profile full of product photos looks bland, but a combination of reviews, promotions, videos, and quotes turns your profile into an entertainment goldmine.

Most social media websites host text, images, and videos. Some have specialized features, such as in-app shopping, live streams, and video filters. These tools might look tricky initially, but utilizing them offers new ways to connect with fans.

Likewise, try experimenting with the same format. Not every Instagram post has to be a photo with a retro filter. You can share infographics, employee spotlights, testimonials, announcements, and video clips--all on the same page.

Engage Followers

Have you ever noticed that influencers ask questions such as "What's your go-to skincare routine?" or "What was your favorite part of the video?" These questions drive active engagement instead of passive responses.

Likes increase your engagement numbers but don't make a strong impression. While shares and retweets create a stronger link, users forget about them after a few minutes. Small businesses crave comments because they make followers think about the company and start an ongoing conversation.

Asking questions inspires people to talk about themselves, which they love. A full comments section shows others that you're not just here to sell products--you're here to stimulate discussion.

Introverts don't want to be the first person to comment, so consider asking a friend to jump in first. Keep your discussions professional but conversational. You'll drive people away if you push sales. After all, no one wants you to see them as a number; they want you to appreciate their individuality.

Utilize Hashtags


Adding hashtags is one of the biggest social media marketing tips for beginners. People find content by searching hashtags, such as "#flowergarden", "#veganrecipes" and "#videography." A hashtag-free post is difficult to find, especially on Instagram and similar platforms where people search for tags instead of caption text.

Most people's first instinct is to use the biggest hashtags, such as "#girl" and "#flower." You can use a few, but these tags host an avalanche of new posts, quickly burying your content. Specific tags, such as "#makeuptutorials" and "cookingvideos," give your posts more visibility.

Hyperspecific tags can have only a few thousand posts. Add a few of these as well: you never know who might find your content.

Work with Influencers

Popular influencers don't have to seek out followers--they gain more people daily. Collaborating with influencers gives you access to this growing audience. You'll also boost your reputation since you earned a celebrity's approval.

In exchange for money or free products, your partners post advertisements like these:

  1. Thank your company for sponsoring their video
  2. Sharing glowing reviews on their blog
  3. Uploading pictures of themselves using your product
  4. Writing guest posts for your profile
  5. Offering an exclusive coupon code
  6. Promoting your partnership in their bio

Some platforms require influencers to clearly label these posts as advertisements, so you might not get away with "sneaky" promotions, but their followers still trust their recommendations. After all, people call them "influencers" because they influence pop culture.

Shoot online celebrities a direct message (DM) discussing a potential collaboration. Influencers with tens of millions of followers might be out of reach, but people with smaller audiences are more accessible and often looking for sponsorships. They'll increase their budget and gain legitimacy because a brand wants to work with them.

However, before you start firing off messages, look for candidates relevant to your business. For example, if you own a makeup line, fashion influencers target your audience more than cooks, athletes, and writers. This makes the most out of your promotion.

Find Brand Ambassadors

Brand Ambassador with a sign of like and subscribe

When people see celebrities accepting money and gifts just for making content that they're already producing, they become influencers themselves. After a successful collaboration, you might start receiving DMs that say, "Are you looking for a new ambassador? I'd love to represent you!"

Streamline the process by opening brand ambassador applications. Instead of a one-off collaboration, ambassadors enjoy an ongoing partnership. They'll offer a coupon code and a permanent link on their profile. Periodically, you'll sponsor their content or send new products to review. Ideally, your follower count will steadily increase alongside your partner's.

However, your influencer represents your company, so you must weed out unqualified candidates. You might request applicants with a certain follower count, a particular aesthetic, clean profiles, and positive fan interactions. Some businesses seek ambassadors that show their face because it builds human connections.

Once the partnership goes live, stay in touch. Avoid sending them money and products and expecting them to know what to do. Instead, provide assets and discuss your advertisements so that they share high-quality promotions.

Promote Your Posts

Promote posts

Your regular posts only appear in searches and followers' feeds. Promoted posts appear in hundreds or thousands of feeds even if the individuals don't follow you. When you grab their attention, your engagement numbers will start to tick upward. Shares and retweets send your post to other users' feeds, offering even more visibility.

Most sites allow you to set a timeline and budget, sometimes as low as $1 per day. You can experiment with promotions and check the built-in analytics to see which budget, schedule and content type generate the most interactions.

While you can promote advertisements, some businesses mix it up with the occasional regular post or giveaway. Highlighting your great content and devotion to your followers makes more people jump on board.

Launch Your Marketing Campaign

Learn how to market a website from the start with E-Marketing Associates. Lead generation, search engine optimization (SEO), review monitoring, visitor tracking, and other services give you an edge over your competitors when you start your marketing campaign.

With E-Marketing Associates, you can avoid the dreaded plateau and keep your momentum going. If you already have a website, sign up for a free business report to assess your current standing. E-Marketing Associates also designs and optimizes websites before they go live. Reach out today to schedule your discovery call.

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