Current Insights for Small Businesses and Nonprofits

In the world of social media marketing (SMM), change is constant, and it seems that the landscape is shifting faster than ever lately. Some platforms are very publicly falling apart, while advancements in AI are affecting how social media content is created and published. And yet, small businesses and nonprofits, such as those we are proud to partner with at GRIT, still need to advertise and be present on social channels to remain relevant and visible to their customers and audiences.

Back at the beginning of the year, GRIT’s digital marketing strategy experts shared a list of three big digital marketing trends for marketing professionals and brands to keep in focus in 2024. Since the year has been rocketing right along and the SMM landscape continues to shift, we thought we’d offer an update on those trends—specifically surrounding the social media topics we covered in Trend #1—while adding some actionable insights and valuable tips for small business owners and nonprofit leaders to consider implementing today.

To refresh your memory, the changes we raised awareness of in that earlier article included:

    1. The emergence of Meta’s Threads app, which appeared in the microblogging space in 2023, positioned as an alternative to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
    2. The evolution of LinkedIn as a content powerhouse for business thought leadership.
    3. The importance of social SEO.

So, how do these organizations leverage SMM now to get the best possible return on their investment? Let’s dig in together by reviewing a few of the most significant shifts and discuss what you can do in response.


Have You Explored Threads? It Could Be a Good Time to Consider It…

According to HubSpot’s just-published 2024 Global Social Media Trends Report, not many businesses have ventured into posting on Threads yet. By their survey numbers, only about 9% of B2B and 8% of B2C brands reported being active on the platform. It’s true that the roll-out of Threads was shaky, and the fact that it required new users to have an Instagram account presented a barrier to entry that many business leaders and marketers simply have not pursued establishing a presence.

Of course, if you are one of the many businesses or nonprofits who have recently walked away from Twitter/X, Threads could fill the gap in your social media presence. There are pros to the platform, such as a 500-character count limit for posts (more generous than the 250-character limit on X) and the aforementioned integration with Instagram, which is significant to certain types of brands. Additionally, because so few businesses are on the platform now, it isn’t an overly congested space where your posts tend to get lost in the crowd. Especially if your brand is new and you’re looking for ways to stand out to individual customers, consider jumping into Threads. And, if you are unsure whether the platform is right for your business or nonprofit at this time, you could take the simple step of creating a profile to reserve a preferred username/handle and leave it at that for now.

Speaking of Instagram…

Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Threads, also has a little app called Facebook, which is still perhaps the most solid SMM platform for small businesses and nonprofits. While commentators online like to argue whether Facebook is still relevant, HubSpot’s research shows that it still rules for both B2B and B2C companies (with 55% and 65% still embracing both advertising and organic posting, respectively). As one of the oldest and most versatile social media networks, Facebook offers brands the ability to reach immense audiences. Plus, social media services partners know how to make the most of Facebook and Instagram on your behalf.

But one quick caveat before we move on. Facebook still leads, though interestingly, YouTube has taken over—for the very first time in 2024—as the most effective social media platform for brands, according to HubSpot’s report. Businesses report that YouTube brings the most engagement, edging out Instagram and Facebook in second and third place. The takeaway? Video rules social media now. (Note that TikTok is also incredibly popular, but smaller businesses and nonprofits need to be careful before diving in, as we discussed in this earlier blog post. The platform has some problems and currently faces bans from various United States government entities.)


Are You Active on LinkedIn? B2B Leaders Should Be.

Did you know LinkedIn, the tried-and-true business-centered social platform, now has over 1 billion members? LinkedIn is a fantastic place for business owners and leadership—especially in the B2B realm—to post thought leadership articles and other industry insights. And the best news is that much of the engagement you will gain won’t cost you anything. Organic reach on the platform is astoundingly high (compared to Facebook and Instagram), partly because LinkedIn makes money from advertising job postings and charging fees for premium memberships. However, you do not need to pay to turn on LinkedIn’s “Creator Mode,” which will enhance your profile and provide access to more tools for those who want to post written and video content they produce.

As a first step into leveraging your LinkedIn presence—either as an individual or an organization—make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and represents your business well. The platform itself makes the process incredibly easy. Or, consider partnering with an expert to optimize your profile and get you moving in the right direction with publishing thought leadership pieces!


How is Your Organization Approaching Social SEO?

While SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and used to specifically mean optimizing content for Google and other web search engines, the fact is that we are now living in a social media-first era. Again, referencing the HubSpot Trends report we linked above, many users now solely search for information on social media platforms, so the concept of social SEO has risen as a strategy in the last couple of years.

Semrush describes the practice of social media SEO as “optimizing your social media profiles and posts so more people discover your brand in search results. Both on social platforms and search engines.” It is true that Google does not look at social media stats, but social media does indirectly affect your web SEO rankings. For instance, high-performing content on your social media accounts is likely to be discovered and linked to, per Semrush. This can ultimately lead to helpful backlinks from other websites that point to your website, benefitting your search rankings in turn.

So, what does that mean, and how can you take action? One of the best things you can do to ensure your social media posts are serving you is to take an approach in which you are driving your social followers back to your (fully optimized and up-to-date) website service pages and blog! Beyond growing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website should be the priority of your social media marketing efforts.

What about hashtags for increasing engagement?

While we won’t dive into a complete discussion of whether hashtags are still relevant in 2024 right now, just know that they are not quite as critical to your social SEO efforts as they once were. (And some reports suggest that using the “wrong” hashtags could harm engagement on Instagram!) With the rise of AI, the platforms themselves are getting better at analyzing natural language within post text, and hashtags may soon go the way of other outmoded search media. Remember the Yellow Pages?


Need Help Making the Most of Your Social Media and Digital Marketing Efforts?

We invite you to get to know our friendly and helpful team of experts here at GRIT. As a full-service marketing and communications agency rooted in York, Pennsylvania, we are privileged to partner with businesses, nonprofit organizations, and entrepreneurs to help promote success with marketing and communications to achieve every goal. Connect with us or view our work to see how we can work together!