Social media marketing for small businesses in London: a brief guide

Social media marketing for small businesses in London: a brief guide
Grow London Local
Grow London LocalMatching London small businesses to support

Posted: Wed 1st May 2024

Looking to boost your online presence and reach more customers in London and beyond? Social media marketing is the way to do it.

This short guide can help London founders like you to understand the basics of social media marketing and develop a plan of action that will work for you and your business.

What is social media marketing?

It's creating and sharing content on social media to engage with customers.

Being vocal and visible on social media is crucial for any business. With nearly five billion active users worldwide, platforms like Facebook (Meta), Instagram, Twitter (X) and LinkedIn are a powerful way to speak to your target audience and promote what you sell.

One major benefit is being able to interact directly with followers and other people in London who may be interested in your business.

Why you need social media marketing – and how to find free resources

Social media marketing lets you reach a larger audience at a fairly low cost. With most Londoners using some form of social media every day, having a strong presence on these platforms can be a really effective way to:

It also allows you to talk to customers on a more personal level, which helps build loyalty and trust.

Free social media marketing courses

There are many free courses online, covering topics such as social media strategy, creating content and advertising. You can develop your social media marketing skills without having to spend any money.

Some popular options include:

You can also find a number of free marketing webinars here on Grow London Local.

Social media platforms to use for your marketing


Facebook (now Meta) is a powerful social media marketing platform because of its wide reach and diverse community.

Use its built-in tools to target specific groups of customers (like people in London) and promote your business through paid ads, boosted posts and sponsored stories.

  • How many users are on Facebook? Over three billion worldwide and almost 56 million in the UK.

  • Who uses Facebook? In the UK, the largest section of Facebook's audience is people aged 25 to 34.

  • What does it cost to use Facebook? Meta Business Suite is a free tool that lets you manage and track all of your business' marketing and advertising across Facebook. Create or schedule posts, Stories and ads, and use the built-in analytics tools to tweak your content as you go.

  • How do I sell on Facebook? The Shops feature allows you to sell your products for free. Londoners who visit your shop can browse, buy and learn more about your business. Use the Commerce Manager tool to manage your stock and sales.


Instagram is centred around visual content. Using photos, videos (Reels) and Stories lets you engage with your audience in a more impactful way than just written content.

The platform's various features – such as hashtags, geotags and the ability to work with influencers – make it easy to reach customers in London who might not yet know about your brand.

  • How many users are on Instagram? Around two billion worldwide and 34 million in the UK.

  • Who uses Instagram? Your main audience in the UK is people aged 18 to 34.

  • What does it cost to use Instagram? As with Facebook, you can set up on Meta Business Suite for free and manage all of your Instagram content and advertising from there.

  • How do I sell on Instagram? The simplest way is through Instagram Shopping, where people can buy from you directly through the app or website when engaging with your brand's photos and videos.


A young woman, face slightly obscured, holding a smartphone in one hand and tapping the screen with the other



TikTok is a very popular platform you can use to reach a younger, highly engaged audience. You can create and share engaging content that can quickly go viral, while TikTok's hashtag challenges and duet features let you interact with your audience in a fun and interactive way.

  • How many users are on TikTok? Over one billion users every month, with nearly 23 million in the UK.

  • Who uses TikTok? Two-thirds of TikTok's users are aged 18 to 34.

  • What does it cost to use TikTok? TikTok for Business is designed for businesses and free to use. Its tools help you engage with TikTok's highly active community – simply set up a free TikTok Business Account to get started.

  • How do I sell on TikTok? The TikTok Shop feature in the TikTok app lets you promote and sell your products to users across London, who can browse, shop and buy without leaving the platform.


LinkedIn is mainly aimed at professionals, businesses and jobseekers, making it easy for your business to connect with potential clients and partners. The platform's advertising tools can help you find and reach your ideal customers.

Twitter (now X)

The main benefit of X is being able to reach a wide audience and engage with them in real time. The platform's short and concise format makes it easy to quickly grab users' attention and promote your products.

X's features such as hashtags, reposts and built-in analytics tools can help you make your brand more visible and track how your marketing efforts are performing.

  • How many users are on X? Around 500 million monthly users, 25 million in the UK.

  • Who uses X? X is most popular among people aged 25 to 34.

  • What does it cost to use X? It's free to create an account and start posting. X now has a paid premium subscription service that offers extra features such as the ability to edit posts, upload longer videos, and share revenue from ads.

  • How do I sell on X? X has an e-commerce feature but it's currently only available to sellers in the US. In the UK, you can still use the platform's many features to market your business to customers in London and nationwide.


Pinterest is a visual platform where users find, save and share ideas through images and videos, known as "pins". It's great for people who are seeking inspiration and products they like. This makes it ideal for you to promote your products and engage with a highly receptive audience.

  • How many users are on Pinterest? Nearly 500 million monthly active users worldwide and 13.5 million in the UK.

  • Who uses Pinterest? Pinterest is most popular with women aged 25 to 34.

  • What does it cost to use Pinterest? Pinterest is free to use but you can pay for advertising, like promoted pins that make your brand and products more visible.

  • How do I sell on Pinterest? Create engaging pins that showcase your products, link people to your website or online shop, and use Pinterest's shopping features (like product catalogues) that help customers purchase directly on the platform.


With its focus on video content, YouTube is incredibly effective for small business marketing. Video content is highly engaging and can help your business promote its products in a more visually appealing way.

YouTube also allows for targeted advertising, which lets you reach certain sections of your audience and monetise your content through ads, sponsorships and partnerships.

  • How many users are on YouTube? Around 2.5 billion across the world, and 56 million in the UK.

  • Who uses YouTube? YouTube's biggest audience (21%) is made up of people aged 25 to 34.

  • How much does it cost to use YouTube? Creating a YouTube channel, and uploading videos, is free. You have the option of paying for YouTube advertising or sponsored content to reach a larger audience. Also keep in mind that there will be costs involved with creating high-quality video content.

  • How do I sell on YouTube? The trick is creating high-quality and engaging videos about your products, then linking visitors to your website or online store. YouTube's advertising options can help you target specific customer groups.

Social media marketing is an effective way to connect with your target audience, spread the word about your brand and get those all-important sales. Take advantage of these platforms by sharing content that consumers love and engage with, and watch your business thrive.


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