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Previous ArticleSMB Social Series: 1. Picking a social platform for your small businessNext ArticleSMB Social Series: 3. Smartphone tips and tricks for small business owners
  • 5 Minutes read

SMB Social Series: 2. Using soft skills as a social strategy for small business owners

In our last SMB Social Series article, we walked through the tricky ins and outs of picking your platform. Now it’s time to turn a little more inward for some self-exploration—no really. Read on to see what I mean... (Continue Reading)

Co- Authored by Morning Brew's Jack Appleby

Bet you didn’t know you’re already a social expert.

I’m Jack Appleby, creator of Morning Brew’s Future Social, a newsletter that navigates the current landscape of social media. After working with brands and ad agencies for 10 years, I’ve joined the Brew Crew to write about the space and teach tricks ready for the biggest of brands and the smallest of mom-and-pops.


In our last SMB Social Series article, we walked through the tricky ins and outs of picking your platform. Now it’s time to turn a little more inward for some self-exploration—no really. Read on to see what I mean. 

It’s easy to start feelin’ like the new kid at school when you’re wrapping your brain around social media. Revolving doors of hashtags. Baffling TikTok dances. Captions so witty… maybe a little too witty? Trends come and go at breakneck speeds, and it’s precisely this rate of change that so often scares off newcomers. But honestly? You can learn the fundamentals of social quickly. Nobody knows your customers better than you, and that iPhone in your pocket takes you a long way creatively. But the key to cutting through the clutter and noise?

Understanding how to use soft skills in the workplace to generate social results. So often, we get so stuck on digital tactics that we forget being a regular human has many advantages. Let me explain.

Build a rapport with your customers to discover new trends

The better you know your customers, the better you can understand consumer behavior and desire. For example, say you’re a tattoo artist who’s built up a strong relationship with a client who’s really into traditional tattoos. By having consistent conversations with them, you can glean tonssss of info that can be used to boost your biz, like:

  • Trending designs
  • Out-of-fashion styles
  • Other artists gaining buzz
  • Similar shops

You don’t have social analysts and strategists running around giving you data. Let the customers in the chairs give you the scoop.

Transform customer conversations into marketing gold

As a small-business owner, you’ve probably had millions of convos with customers, from basic ol’ weather talk to hardcore troubleshooting (we all know SMB owners are low-key therapists…). Use these talks as springboards to market your biz.

How, exactly? Lemme explain by using the tattoo example from above. Let’s say you’ve just finished tatting up an amazingly intricate octopus on a client’s bicep. After the needle stops and they begin marveling at your work, start a conversation with them about social. Here’s a breakdown of what I mean:

  • Ask your client if they have Instagram.
  • Then, ask permission to post your work with them.
  • From there, ask if you can tag them in the post.
  • Finally, ask if they’ll share the content on their own feeds.

See how a simple conversation can actually turn into a network of online buzz? Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Treat everyday like a content day

Content isn’t just a thing that happens—it’s a mindset. Whether you’re a tattoo artist, baker, mechanic, apothecary, or any other SMB, you must treat every day like a brand-new production. To continue our tattoo artist example: If you have tattoos scheduled, start thinking about which ones you might want to post on IG, and get ready to ask your client if you can take a pic of their new ink before they head out.

And here’s a pro tip: Optimize your biz for content creation. Get a little lighting tripod to elevate your pics to award-worthy quality. Consider a GoPro to film your day-to-day. Raw footage = endless content. Use your iPhone like it’s your best too. And to let you in on a secret: we’ll show you how to put that camera to work in the next article of our series. 

Look, you’re already a social expert as a small-business owner. Start letting your natural skills work for you. 

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