How to Use Social Media to Build Your Small Business on the Side

Most of the time, my business — a social media brand strategy firm — is focused on entrepreneurs and business owners who have stepped away from corporate world to set out on their own. My clients need my help because they are managing a thousand tasks a day as well as trying to grow their businesses online. This is where I come in.

I help my clients grow by educating them about their social media sales funnel and helping them manage it as well.

But, near and dear to my heart is the reader out there who is slogging to work every day, dreaming of quitting her job and doing the same. I did it myself, and it was a long struggle filled with fear and doubt as I patiently waited for the right time to leave.

So what did I do? I slowly built my business on the side while I worked, until I got it to a level where I felt confident that I could sustain my life. And then I took the leap, gave notice, and stepped away from my job.

Here, I want to talk about how social media is the perfect way to build a side business to bring in extra cash, using a very low budget. The beauty of an online side biz is the flexibility. You can work on it anytime, day or night, from your car, your phone, or even on a trip.

But as nice as that is, I’ll admit, as I was building my business on the side while still working 40+ hours a week, things got a little out of control. However, take heart. There really is no need for that to happen to you.

This social media guide will show you how to focus on building a second source of income, while being able to control how much time and money you want to invest.

Step 1: Decide What You Want Your Side Gig to Be

From jewelry-making to consulting, your niche is welcome online. Especially if you work in a field such as accounting, where you can take a few jobs on the side (bookkeeping in this case), this is a great way to set the wheels in motion for starting your own business. Keep in mind, this isn’t permanent, and it will change. Pick something — it doesn’t have to be perfect — and get started.

Step 2: Open a Twitter Account or Facebook Page Based on Your Business Idea

Jump into the fray a little or a lot. Find out which platform gives you the most response, the most traction, and the most interest in your side gig. Don’t give up too fast, though. Remember, this is just a side business for now. You have all the time in the world to grow it slowly through a Facebook following and your Twitter fans.  

Step 3: Post About Your Skill Set

Depending on your expertise, give advice to those who might need your services or provide great tips about how to use your products. As always, value wins every time. Be authentic and add value with your posts. Your Facebook page can hold all of your relevant business contact information, testimonials (soon enough), and business description. Facebook can also showcase events, calendars, and appointment tracking as apps loaded onto your Facebook page. These are very handy and also very free ways of creating a workable side business without the added headache and cost of website design.

Step 4: Pay for a Couple of Ads to Expand Your Reach

Facebook and Twitter ads are cheap and easy to create. Test a few different types and see which ones perform the best. Even trying the same post with different wording can help you determine what works. Set your price limit, from $25 to $100, and then sit back and see what happens. I guarantee you will get at least a few hits of interest, which can very well be enough to get started on the next step.

Step 5: Cultivate Those Leads

You can create a small free giveaway in exchange for emails that you capture. This can be done via a free Facebook app or even via a Facebook post telling interested parties to private message you with their email address to get freebies sent their way. I have seen that work quite well on multiple occasions! Once you have a small list going (say, five to 10 emails), sign up for MailChimp, an email marketing service, which is super easy and free to do. Their free version is quite robust, allowing you to send clean and attractive newsletters to your list of prospective clients. This can help keep them interested enough to buy from you someday in the future. The fortune is in the follow-up, so be sure you have a way to stay in touch with your growing tribe.

From there, you are just a step away from becoming the next hottest gig in the biz!

Maybe you never want to quit your job to fully embrace this venture. Maybe you always want the side gig to be a side gig that makes you a little extra money. That is completely OK. But with these five steps, you will be sure to make a nice extra chunk of cash as you sort out your priorities, grow slowly to keep a handle on your time, and decide if you really want to invest in your idea for the long haul.

Good luck and have fun!

And if you need specific advice on what side business to start and what to do first, please join me in my LinkedIn group. I am always available there to answer any question you might have!

Karen Yankovich is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.