As social media becomes more and more ubiquitous in our everyday lives, so does the importance of promoting your business on these powerful platforms. For very little investment, small business owners can advertise their brand, start conversations, and capture the attention of potential customers.

We know that entrepreneurs wear many hats and don’t have much time to learn the particularities and capabilities of each social media network. That’s where we come in. We’ll walk you through five effective ways to use social media within your overall marketing plan and goals. With the right activity, promotions, and content, you’ll see your following and business grow both online and IRL.

01. In-Store Social Media Displays

Bridge online and in-store experiences with social media displays that showcase your latest posts. This gives your social media content a longer “shelf-life,” while establishing continuity between your online and in-store advertising. To further your in-store social media display, inspire customer generated content. For instance, if you’re in the restaurant industry encourage your customers to post mouthwatering photos of your food to Instagram (and don’t let them forget the branded hashtags!). Customers will love seeing their posts make it to the big screen, as your brand gains exposure and stellar reviews.

02. Livestream Events and Behind the Scenes Footage

With a third of online activity spent watching video, it is crucial to engage your audience with video content. When your brand organizes an event or promotion, livestream the occasion with trend-worthy hashtags on Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat. Whether you’re putting on a concert, hosting a coffee meetup, or giving away gift cards to your first 100 customers, be sure your livestream keeps the conversation going. You can ask questions, interview attendees, conduct polls, and take your audience behind the scenes with “exclusive” footage.

03. Team Up With Influencers

From budding startups to seasoned global companies, today’s businesses use Instagram to engage their audience and grow a following. With Instagram’s latest algorithm update (posts are now displayed based on engagement instead of time), the impact of collaborating with prominent influencers is even greater. When your small business teams up with relevant influencers, you’ll gain brand exposure, access to their loyal following, and engagement with potential customers.

04. Creative Contests & Giveaways

We’ve all seen those social media giveaways calling upon us to comment, follow, and tag our friends. These contests are great ways to activate your followers and gain brand awareness, especially when they involve users’ creativity. Photo contests are great for just that and can be easily tied into an ongoing marketing campaign. If your latest campaign highlights the versatility of your sneakers, for example, ask customers to post photos that illustrate the impressive feats accomplished in these shoes. You’ll open up a dialogue with followers, while they spread the word and excitement about getting creative with your product.

05. Feature Your Blog Posts on Pinterest

Get the most out of your blog posts by featuring them on your various social media channels – especially Pinterest. Pinterest is an up and coming tool for bloggers to share their copy accompanied by eye-catching photos and graphics. When you pin your blog post, be sure to include a link to your blog article and keywords in your description and image alt tags. Also, give some thought to which Board you’re pinning to. When your pin is relevant and emotionally resonates with your Board’s theme, users are more likely to click through, read your blog, and follow your social media networks.