Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Any business owner knows how easy it is to accidentally lose three hours on social media in an attempt to keep up with the trends, engage your fans, and increase your audience!

You invest time into social media because you know it’s an effective and budget-friendly platform for reaching customers.

That said, time is a precious commodity too — so you really need to make sure the time you spend on social is working hard for you.

Here are my 7 social media tips that will help you create engaging content easily and support you in reaching new customers:

1. Be useful to them

How-to guides and top-tips articles are a really simple way to create content about your business, or show off your professional skills. They are also very shareable — so once you’ve posted them, encourage your fans and followers to share or retweet them.

As an added bonus, how-to’s are also the perfect place for people to link to when talking about your site or service.

Try to avoid creating guides that explain really obvious skills. You want to show off your expertise, help customers complete a particular task, or learn a new skill. When you write them also keep them time-neutral; how-to’s usually stand the test of time very well (which means you can share them for months to come) but only if you don’t add any time specific content.

2. Share every link with your sales call to action

When you share you content on twitter or facebook — make it really drive sales for you by adding your own message window (or advert, if you like) to that content.

3. Use images to brighten up your newsfeed

Images offer a welcome break from an onslaught of text updates in your newsfeeds. You could try sharing an image that features an inspiring quote or something funny from a recent company event.

The possibilities are endless, but be sure the image is suited to your business. A company selling financial software might not be able to get away with posting hilarious cat pictures, whereas a clothing label aimed at mothers and toddlers will. It’s worth experimenting a little if you’re feeling adventurous — but keep track of what is getting engagement so that you know what is worth your time and effort next time.

4. Invest in video

It’s a shame that people feel they don’t have the time to read anymore, but it also means you should be paying attention to other forms of visual communication. Video is one such medium and it can be a great way to cut through the noise on social media.

The videos you create don’t have to rely on blockbuster budgets either. Create a few screen-casts that go over a particular product feature, introduce people to some of your employees, or hire a freelancer to animate a video about a particular aspect of your company.

Like how-to’s, a well-crafted video will provide content that you can share regularly as well as use in sales presentations or demos. So once again, make sure it’s ‘future-proof’ with no time-sensitive material in it.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Social media is designed as a two-way communication tool. That’s why it’s a good idea to reach out every now and again to see what’s on your customer’s mind. Avoid throwaway questions like “How’s your day going?” and “Who’s excited about our upcoming product launch?”

Instead, aim for intelligent questions that actually require some thought. You can ask product-specific questions like “Have you found any unusual uses for our amazing widget that we didn’t think of?” Or more personal questions like, “Does anyone celebrate Christmas in a way that might seem unusual to others?”

The questions you come up with will vary depending on what you sell, but make sure they are relevant, well thought out, and are the potential starting point for a conversation. As part of this, don’t forget to reply to people on social media, instead of just posting a question and then forgetting about it until a week later.

6. Share your testimonials

Most businesses like to share testimonials on their home or sales page, but there’s nothing stopping you from sharing good reviews with your fans on social media too. In fact, the sooner you can post a recent testimonial the better because the person who left the review or comment might share it too. Plus other customers are more likely to trust a review that happened last week, versus one that was submitted last year!

If you’re able to get a positive review from an industry expert or someone else with a lot of clout, don’t be shy about using the testimonial more than once. Posting the same review every day for a month would be overkill, but once or twice week should be enough to get your message across without annoying your customers.

7. Up the ante with case studies

And finally… case studies. They take testimonials one step further as they dig into the nitty gritty of why someone enjoys using your product or service so much. Unlike testimonials, case studies back up a positive review with actual statistics, personal stories, quotes, and other evidence that will bolster a customer’s confidence.

You could also try making these case studies a regular occurrence; that way your social media following have something to keep coming back for.

Regardless of how you use them, case studies are a great way to prove that you’re selling something that works. Just don’t forget to ask the customer if they mind being featured in the case study — or better still, have them help you write it.


About the author: Christina is a marketing specialist, business strategist, as well as an all round make-stuff-happen type. She spent much of her career managing and growing FMCG brands worth in excess of £100 million, and then turned her hand to young start-up brands, and has never looked back since. Her mission is to revolutionise marketing for start-ups and she has founded or co-founded businesses to do just that – from The Nurture Network, that provides part-time marketing managers on-demand, to Brand Gathering – an online platform to help brands partner up, to the social tool Openr that drive traffic from social sharing.