Marketing Tactics

Make the most of social media for your business

Here are ways to use social media to grow your business and connect with your customers.

Published: June 19, 2015

When social media first hit the scene, I thought it was a waste of time, and that my customers weren't using it. I was wrong on both counts and have spent the past few years learning how to use social media platforms to build my brand, engage my customers, put my competition on their heels, and make sales.

Here are eight tips based on what I've learned about building a presence and creating a following on social media.

  • Start: The most important thing to do is start, and start fast. You don't need to know much to do this. Create accounts on your favorite platform, and then expand to your next most familiar platform. If you already love Facebook, start there and then move on to another. Nothing is going to happen if you don't take that first step.

  • Follow your competitors: Use your competitors' posts to inform your own social media strategy. What content are they promoting? Which posts perform best (for example, which ones have the most "likes" or positive comments)? How can you present yourself as the better expert? By following your competition, you'll find opportunities to differentiate your business and learn how to improve your engagement with customers and prospects.

  • Post frequently and furiously: Some might discourage frequent posts, but I've found that frequency gets attention. This helps break through the clutter. Those who quit following you because you post too much might not be your market and might not buy anything from you anyway. The number one source of new business to my company is through YouTube.

  • Be the expert in your space: Post content based on what you know and on the products or services your business offers. Give tips and insights, such as how to do something, how not to do something, what to avoid, how to fix something, and give industry or trade knowledge. Don't worry about giving people too much; rather, give so much that people seek you out as the source of information.

  • Make the world your target: Unlike traditional marketing, social media allows you to pitch to the world. At first, concentrate less on target marketing and push your content out to various audiences. In the beginning you want attention from anyone and everyone. When I quit focusing on markets and widened my target I got callers from India, Australia, Florida, Toronto, and Los Angeles to a one-hour YouTube show I co-host in the U.S. Today you can be everywhere.

  • Create and share varied content: When it comes to social content marketing, produce every form of content possible: videos, photos, quotes, articles, blogs, and reposts of others' material. Content sharing is an easy way that will get you a lot of followers fast. Think collaboration, not competition. By sharing the content of a competitor or another expert and giving them credit, you will pick up followers.

  • Follow the 80/20 rule: Eighty percent of your content should be information-based and not promotional. In the beginning, you may even shift that to 95% information. Build an audience that wants your content, not your ads. As you grow your followers, you can increase promotions. As you add content, you can increase the number of times you promote your product.

  • Don't delegate until you understand: No matter how important your position or how busy your schedule, consider initially managing your social media accounts yourself to understand how much you can accomplish. I still post daily because I understand the importance of these mediums to my brand and my bottom line.

Just as taking the time to send a gift basket can help your business reach out to a prospective client, engaging with new audiences in a digital space creates organic opportunities for sales growth.