Tips on Making Social Media Work for Your Business

You’ve already got a website and are reaping the benefits, so now it’s time to up your marketing efforts and make good use of social media channels. If you’ve already got a personal Facebook profile and are wondering where to start with your small business, the following tips are for you.

Tips on Making Social Media Work for Your Business

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You’ve probably got an idea of the things you won’t need to post on your business profile. After all, selfies, yesterday’s supper, and comical quotes aren’t going to attract many new customers!

However, you might be struggling to know how it can be used to grow your business and are unsure about where to begin.

Running a small business can take up a lot of your time, but with more than 2.5 billion social media users across the globe, there’s a growing audience waiting to learn more about you.

Always Start with a Plan

As with most things business related, the best place to start is with a plan. A few steps are involved as follows:

  • Set your social media goals and objectives – focus on lead generating, conversion rates and web referrals rather than likes and retweets.
  • Conduct a social media audit – determine who is already connected with you, identify relevant networks and compare your presence with your competitors.
  • Create new accounts or improve existing ones – once you’ve decided on networks to target, work at building up your social presence.
  • Look for inspiration – what are others in your industry sharing? Also, look at industry leaders to see whether you can adapt their tactics into your own
  • Draw up a social media calendar – plan intended dates and times you’re going to publish your posts.
  • Test, evaluate and adjust – don’t just post and then sit back and relax. You need to be constantly evaluating how your strategy is working. Look at the number of clicks per post, the reach of your campaigns and the number of page visits. Only then can you adjust and improve.

What Platform is Going to Work for Your Business?

There are several social media platforms you can choose for your business. However, some will work better than others, depending on your own goals and objectives. Here are a few examples of the channels you can use.

  • Facebook – the world’s most popular social media network with more than 2 billion users. If you simply want to reach as many people as possible, this is the platform for you. A huge number of entrepreneurs make use of this platform very successfully.
  • Twitter – known for being concise and exact in its approach, you’ll need to be creative with your tweeting.
  • Instagram – this has a more visual approach, and success will depend on the aesthetic appeal of any content you share.
  • LinkedIn – this is a network for professionals and currently has more than 467 million users.
  • Snapchat – not as popular as it once was, but still good if you want to target the younger demographics
  • YouTube – this is for brands who want to take advantage of online videos
  • Pinterest – users of this platform are mostly looking for ideas to help change their lives, and it is also useful for driving customers to your website

Know Your Target Audience

There’s no point in a social media marketing strategy if you aren’t sure who your customers are. Knowing more about your customers should be a big part of the research you undertake.

If you don’t know anything about them, how will you know how to appeal to them?

Consider factors such as their age, gender, where they live, their goals, and incomes.

How to Promote and Sell Your Products Using Social Media

Using social media to promote your business is not as easy as you think.

It’s not just a case of posting stuff about your brand or using Facebook advertising. A rule known as the Pareto principle is one you should follow. It is also known as the 80/20 rule.

Basically, what it means is that only 20% of your content should be promotional, the other 80% should be about your customers.

This portion should engage them and be valuable content that is relevant to their needs.

Use Images, Graphics, and Videos for the Best Effect

Research has shown that images have a high engagement value. In other words, more people are still prompted to make decisions with their eyes.

It doesn’t matter what social platform you use, videos, images, and graphics are important.

There are a wealth of different images available online. Just make sure its relevant to your audience and content, and you’re not breaking any copyright laws.

Quality Not Quantity is What Counts

Your audience is going to be quickly turned off if the content you’re sharing is worthless. There is no point in tweeting every day if the message you’re sharing is of no value.

A far better approach would be to take the time and create valuable content that only gets shared once a week.

It’s also very tempting to plaster your brand on all the social media platforms, thinking that the more exposure, the better. Increased quantity often goes hand in hand with decreased quality.

Focus your efforts on the platforms your target audience is using and share quality content that will make their lives easier, entertain them, and solve their problems. A great example of a businessman that has made this work is Tom Gentile Money Morning.

Engage with Social Media Conversations

One last tip worth sharing relates to the conversations that will take place on your social media platforms.

Don’t just post or share and then take no further action. If your audience chooses to comment or get in touch, they are going to expect a prompt reply. Within 24 hours is what most are going to want. When replying, demonstrate your brand’s unique personality, with a little humor perhaps.

You can also better engage with your customers if you use photographs of you and your staff at work.

When you first start to use social media you may feel a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry; this is common for most business owners in the beginning!

Just be strategic in your approach, have a plan, and make good use of the internet to guide you.

Question: Do you have some more tips on making social media work for your business? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.