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How can Calgary small businesses use social media effectively?

social media icons and calgary city scape

Social media is one of the most effective digital marketing channels for Calgary small businesses to establish their voice, expertise, and trustworthiness.

If you have ever wondered how to use social media effectively for your business, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through choosing the proper social media channels, setting goals to track efforts, and creating top-quality content.

There are over 4.2 billion users on social media, and people spend, on average, around 2.5 hours on social media platforms.

Organic versus Paid Social Media

What is Organic Social Media?

Business owners are often confused by paid social media efforts and organic social media efforts. We are here to clear this confusion.

Organic Social Media is any post that goes out without a paid promotion. The likes, shares and comments are known as “organic social media engagement.”

Over the years, organic social media has seen a dramatic drop in reach and engagement. According to a 2020 study, The average Facebook engagement across all industries is around 0.27% per post.

What is Paid Social Media?

Paid social media is any post that is “boosted” or set up as a paid promotion. Paid social media promotions drive more on-post engagement, page likes, website traffic, and even leads. We call these results “paid social media engagements.”

According to Hootsuite, 27% of internet users found new products through paid social media ads.

We need to cohesively use paid and organic social media in our digital marketing strategies. Both have a role to play, leading to growth and increased revenues.

Social Media Goals and Strategy

Before starting social media channels and shouting from the rooftops, you will want to develop a social media strategy and develop goals that align with your business. When creating a social media strategy, you want to research your audience and competitors.

Competitor Insight: How do you differentiate yourself?

You will want to spend some time performing a competitive analysis on the social media channels you want to use.

You want to know the following about your competitors:

  • How many followers does each page have
  • How many engagements do your competitors get?
  • What types of content are they posting?
  • What is the frequency of posts?
  • Which hashtags are they using?

From here, you can decide how you want to differentiate your brand. Of course, some of your content will overlap, such as industry trends and insights, but it comes down to how you present it to your customers.

You will also want to perform a SWOT analysis to see your business is strong and falling short.

Goal Setting for Social Media Channels

Goal setting can seem to be a daunting task for small businesses; it requires you to dive deep into what matters to your business. The number is one concern is always “how are we keeping the lights on today.” This concern is linked to revenue and can be quite complex because we all know “it takes money to make money.”

When putting your social media goals down on paper, you want to align them to your business.

As you can see above, each social media goal aligns with a business objective with tangible and measurable metrics.

social media goals and metrics

Here are the most critical social media metrics you need to follow daily

Awareness: Impressions and Reach These two metrics determine how many unique people (reach) your post or ad has been seen by and how many times they have shown in their newsfeed (impressions). They are good indicators for understanding performance. For example, if you run a Facebook Ad campaign to drive web purchases and want to know how times someone sees your ad before converting, you can measure the number of impressions before each conversion. Post Reach is essential when determining target audiences for your campaigns. Most social media platforms can provide insights into how many people within your geographical area match your target audience.

Conversions: Landing Page Views, CTA Clicks, and Purchases. These metrics determine how your customers are interacting with your ads or posts. These can be set up as custom conversions (through Google Analytics or Tag Manager) or built-in metrics part of Facebook Pixel tracking. These metrics help determine the performance of your ads, posts, and social media platforms. The secondary metric included within these metrics is your Click Through Rate (CTR). Based on impressions, this metric determines how often your ad is clicked.

Engagements: Likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc. Is your content starting conversations? Engagement metrics help you understand how users interact with your posts and ads. They come in different forms and sometimes other names across platforms. These are important metrics to follow, especially for awareness campaigns or organic posts. You can use these metrics to help test different creative and post/ad copy.

Why should your small business have Social Media Goals?

Social media goals ensure you are a track to success. Each tangible metric helps you understand how your channels perform and what you need to improve to drive more online success.

Choosing The Right Social Media Channel

Before you start thinking about creating all your superb content ideas, you need to find out which channels you want to focus on. Developing buyer personas for your business is critical to choosing which channels you want to be on.

So what is a buyer persona?

social media buyer persona

A buyer persona is developed by businesses to understand their customer. It includes a mix of demographic and psychographic information. It also has what kinds of content they engage with the most and what brands they follow. You want to take your audience information and then choose what channel(s) you should be on and what kinds of content you want to create for target customers to enjoy.

Now that you have developed your buyer personas, you can choose your channels.


Here is each primary channel broken down by demographics and usage:


  • 2.7 billion active users
    Largest Age Group: 25-34
  • Gender: Mainly Male
  • An influx of the boomer generation connecting with family


  • 1 billion active users
    Largest Age Group: 25-34
  • Gender: Mainly Female


  • 187 million active users
  • Largest age group: 30-49
  • Gender: Mainly Male
  • Great for customer engagement


  • 162 million active users
  • Largest Age Group: 46-55
  • Gender: Even Split between Male and Female
  • Highly educated users


  • 100 million active users
  • Largest Age Group: 18-24
  • Mainly Female
    Dedicated users

Creating Great Content

The number 1 problem we see brands face is creating great content. We get it, and most brands do not have time or resources to develop unique viral content. But that should not be your starting point for creating social media content. Don’t worry about that TikTok user with a million followers. Your goal is to engage and delight your target market.

Here are ten great content ideas to help you get started today:

  • Behind the scenes video of your day today
  • How to guides
  • Industry trends and insights
  • Product or service updates
  • Infographic
  • Recent blogpost
  • Relevant curated content (articles, blogs, posts from other brands)
  • Animations
  • A giveaway or social media contest
  • Tutorials

When creating content, you want to stay consistent. Posting randomly once a month and expecting to see high results is not something you should be aiming for. We recommend two to three times a week to start is ideal for any Calgary small business.

Tools you can use to create visual content:

  • Canva (This is our favourite)
  • Adobe Adobe Photoshop
  • Unfold (Great for Instagram Stories)
  • Adobe Premiere Rush (Perfect for short videos)
  • Your phone (It’s FREE)
  • Creator Studio (Free to create and schedule content to Facebook and Instagram)

Following the rule of three A’s
The next step to creating great content is following the three A’s: Authenticity, Authority, and Accessibility.

  • Authenticity: You want to be human at all costs and connect with your consumer’s pain points and frustrations.
  • Authority: You are the expert in your field, and you should showcase your knowledge to your users. People want to choose brands they trust.
  • Accessibility: Be in your customer’s corner and showcase why your product or service will improve their life and overall happiness.

Your goal is to use the method above to create easy-to-consume content for users. It will keep them delighted and engaged with your Calgary small business.

Key Takeaways

  • Know and understand your audience
  • Set goals and develop a strategy
  • Choose the right channel
  • Create great content using the three A’s
  • Know what tools are available to create content

Knowing how to use social media effectively can make or break a small business. It requires a significant investment of time and money to achieve meaningful results. Use this knowledge to help inform how you use social media for your small business.

Need help with your social media and digital marketing needs? Send us a message to book a FREE consultation. Contact us at [email protected].

About Display Digital Marketing

We are honest people doing honest work. At Display Digital, we work with small businesses to help them grow and expand online. We don’t develop one-sized digital marketing packages. We produce value-based deliverables and focus on what matters to your business the most, increasing your revenues.

We use an analytical approach when onboarding clients. We look at your business from the bottom up, identify KPIs that matter, and create a custom strategy that best uses your dollars. Our service includes a comprehensive consult to audit your conversion funnel, brand presence and marketing tools. This process is an investment in the future of your business, and that is why we operate with non-fixed term retainers.

Our agency utilizes the latest advertising and marketing technology, ensuring we maximize your sales and create a smooth buyer’s journey.

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