13 Lessons From Small Business Owners Who Successfully Use Social Media

Over the last 6 months, I have showcased three successful small business owners who have achieved great business growth from using social media.

And while their specific insights are invaluable, there are some common threads running through all their stories that I really wanted to highlight.

If you haven’t read them already I would suggest you do as they are both inspirational and insightful. You can check out the full posts here, here and here.

Below I have highlighted 13 common ways each of the small business owners use to grow their own business online. I hope you find this a helpful way to grow your own business using social media. If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment down below or contact me any time.


In my case I spent too much time, probably 6-9 months, going for followers rather than engaging with the ones I already had. -Anthony Lloyd

All three business owners – Anthony, Malin and Jessica – focus on engaging with their fans and followers. And I don’t mean just on a business level. Each of them has given a little bit of themselves – shown their personality – to their fans and connected on a personal level as well.

That’s not to say that you should divulge family secrets or what you had for breakfast (please, please don’t do this), but telling a little of your own story is a great way to make your business more appealing.

Have Patience – Social Media Takes Time

Decide whether you think you can sustain a Social Media campaign into the future. It takes time and patience and business results don’t happen overnight. -Anthony Lloyd

Social media is a long-term strategy. If you think it will help boost your cash flow quickly you are deluding yourself. Slow and steady is the name of the game. Give yourself at least 12 months to get some decent traction, but your efforts will pay off.

Be Yourself, Authentic & Generous

Let people get to know you, don’t be afraid to let people get a peek in through the window and see what you do, people are curious. -Malin Viktoria Burnand

Malin From Love Is A Place PhotographyThis is mentioned above but it is worth mentioning again. You are your business – so why not show your customers and fans a little bit (or a lot) of the real you. People want to deal with other human beings, not cold businesses, and they want to hear your story and how and why you have started your business. A great business has a strong narrative – be part of that story.

Talk About Other Things Beside Your Business

In fact, talk about other things most of the time!

Don’t just bleat on about your business, talk about your interests and hobbies – all these things achieve engagement. -Anthony Lloyd

If you are using social media, focus on the “social” part of that expression and talk about real-life stuff that your fans want to talk about. If you are just flogging your wares people will get sick of it and switch off.

Use the 90-10 rule when posting. 90% of what you talk about should not be directly product or business related. While I say this, you can be clever about it. You can weave your business’s story and purpose into your posts and sell yourself and your business while talking about the subject matter your fans are interested in.

Keep in Touch With Your Customers

Use social media to keep in contact with your customers – it is an absolutely fabulous and unique way of keeping in touch with them, in a way one could never ever do before the advent of SM. -Anthony Lloyd

Your current customers are your greatest asset and your best chance of growing your business – either via repeat business or word-of-mouth – so why not maintain contact with them? Keep a file of your customers and as much information about them as you can. Then, when you get the chance, surprise them! Rock their world. People love unexpected gifts of kindness.

Start an Email List

I’m a HUGE fan of social media, but there is no marketing tool more powerful than a mailing list. -Jessica Van Den

Social media is fantastic at brand and relationship building, but if you really want to have a person’s undivided attention get into their email box. You should (if you haven’t already) create a email newsletter that gets sent out to those who sign up for it. You can easily get started using MailChimp for free.

Make Sure You Are Passionate

My first piece of advice would be to make that what you are doing is REALLY is your passion. – Jessica Van Den

Do you believe in your business? Are you driven? Does your business have a purpose? If you are passionate about your cause and your business then people will pick up on it and respond. And, as the old saying goes, if you are not excited about your own business then how are others suppose to be excited about it?

Get Started Today!

Social media can be a little overwhelming but the advice of all three of the small business owners is to just start. As Jess says:

So many people hang back and umm and ahh because they’re not quite sure how to go about building a business…. But it took me until my late 20s to find something I was really passionate about, that was ALSO a viable business – and then I worked at it as a hobby for over a year. Along the way I’ve tried (and failed at, or given up on!) a lot of things. But every single ‘failure’ taught me something, and that’s what’s enabled me to build a successful business today.

Jessica Van DenFinding the right time to get started will only lead you to never getting started – there is no right time! My suggestion would be to start slowly and just take small steps – you will be amazed at how those small steps build up over time and give you the confidence to take larger ones.

Let Failure be Your Guide

Along the way I’ve tried (and failed at, or given up on!) a lot of things. But every single ‘failure’ taught me something, and that’s what’s enabled me to build a successful business today. -Jessica Van Den

Failure is an enviable part of life, and while it sucks, you can (and should) learn from it. I can tell you from personal experience that you may not succeed the first few times, but that is no reason to give up. Just use what you learned from those failures to do better the next time. People aren’t born successful, they make themselves that way.

Diversify for Multiple Income Streams

I’ve got a lot going on, and multiple income streams. I think that’s a must for any online business. Don’t rely on just one thing or product to make your living. -Jessica Van Den

When you are getting started you may be focusing on one thing – which is good – but at some stage you will want to start thinking about diversifying. Why? Because a few eggs in multiple baskets are better then all your eggs in one basket.

Don’t Try and do Everything All at Once

I use a number of different social media to share my story and connect with people – but I know I’ll be more active in some than others, and I don’t beat myself up about that. We’re not super-human! -Jessica Van Den

While the social media landscape is full of the latest and greatest, just focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is over-rated and it gets you nowhere. If you are just starting out, focus on one social networking site (say, Facebook) and don’t worry about any other until you are comfortable with that one. Otherwise you will feel overwhelmed and are more likely to give up.

Find the Social Network That You Love

I think the reason Facebook felt like such a natural way to promote my business was because I had been active on Facebook for years before I started my business, and all the other networks are still fairly new and unfamiliar to me. -Malin Viktoria Burnand

Anthony LloydThis is mostly ignored but very important. Why waste your time and effort learning about something you don’t care for? If you love Facebook then start using it to grow your business. If Twitter is more your thing, then go nuts on it. Of course, I’m not saying that you should ignore the ones you don’t like, just focus on what you like and what you are used to. It will make things a hell of a lot easier.

Meet People in Real Life

I am more convinced than ever that we need to get out from behind our computers and meet people in the flesh whenever we get the chance. -Jessica Van Den

Get off the computer and start networking old school style – person-to-person.

There is nothing better to strengthen a bond with someone you have met in real life than to finally meet them in the flesh. Start going to meet-ups, networking events, lectures, conferences – wherever other people may be. You will strengthen those relationships you already have and develop new ones. And that will only help your business grow.


What do you think? Are you doing any or all of these? Could you be doing more? Let me know in the comments section below.

Want some help? Let’s work together.

Image Credit: MyThoughts0n


  1. says

    Just came upon this article Russell and loved it! It is always gratifying to know that truly successful people also fail from time to time, but it is how you follow up that failure that makes all the difference!

    I am centering my business Facebook page posts around this concept the week of 01/21/2013. I would love to share this post. I will message you about this!

  2. Russell Allert says

    Thanks for the comment, Kimberley. You are totally correct when you say it’s how you deal with your failure that makes all the difference.


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