Social media has changed the way companies do business. Whether you think it’s a waste of time or not doesn’t really matter; if you want your business to succeed you need to start being more social. Once you put in some initial effort on social and see the high return on investment, you’ll catch the social media bug.

You don’t have to spend all your time on social media to start seeing positive effects. Even devoting just 15 minutes a day and carefully tracking the results will help you see how much of an influence social media can have on your business. Start drawing in more customers through social media by first finding your audience, growing your following, and then start supporting your larger marketing strategy.

Find Your Audience

The key to succeeding on social media is making sure you’re using the same channels that your customers are using. If you’re a business to business (B2B) marketing consultant a B2B focused channel like LinkedIn is going to offer you the highest return on investment (although you’ll also probably want to use social channels like Facebook).

Talk to your customers to find out where they spend most of their time online, either directly or through a survey. You might assume that your customers just use Facebook, only to  find out they’re actually on Snapchat nearly 24/7. Once you find where your audience is, you can build a social network to start talking with them on their preferred channel.

Grow Your Following

Social can work the same way as a free-to-paid business model, giving people something of value for free, and converting a percentage into an upgraded paid product or service. The more people you can entertain or benefit on social media, the bigger the audience to whom you can sell products or services. It helps to be popular on social, as long as your main goal is to convert that larger audience later, not just to be popular on social media.

While you can create ad campaigns that sell products directly on social media, a strategy that can draw in significant revenue, like (or follow) campaigns can be significantly cheaper in the long run. After growing your audience, converting them to customers will be cheaper by using other tactics like email marketing or retargeting with content to get them back to your website.

Social As Part Of A Bigger Strategy

The best way to think of social media is part of a larger marketing strategy. Though you should spend some time selling directly on social, your main goal is to instead support the rest of your marketing efforts, like growing your audience and generating email leads to sell to later.

Social also keeps the feedback loop between your business and your customers wide open. Listening to your customers on social will let you gauge how successful recent products are, and can help you find out what customers want for future products or services. Then when they release, customers will be more likely to buy since they’ve been involved from the beginning. Social can also help reinforce ad campaigns and other initiatives a customer might have seen elsewhere online. This can create more engaged buyers that will convert better the next time they land on your website.

What To Say On Social

Just like starting a blog, it might be tough to start talking on social media, but if you keep it simple and focused on your business, you can’t go wrong. Give updates on new products, share news about new additions to your team or your brick and mortar store if you have one, and update people about current promotions, events or contests.

Folding your social media efforts into a bigger marketing strategy also makes it easier to know what to say. If you’re launching an effort to get new sign-ups to your email list, create a contest on social media that lets people enter using their email address. If you’re about to release a new product, let your social media channels know about it early and gather their feedback. The more your audience feels involved, the more engaged they’ll be with your business.

Start Slow With Social

You don’t need to start tweeting once an hour or Snapchatting everything that happens inside your shop to be successful at social media. Starting slow is smart, especially at the beginning before you really know your audience. Just start by finding your audience, and then try to grow your following. Once you have a baseline audience, start folding social efforts into the rest of your marketing strategy. Once you start posting more, track the engagement to see if you need to tweak your methods at all.

Another way to get started is to integrate your social media channels on your website. Embedding live social media feeds on your website will help close the loop for a customer. If they don’t convert on your website, but are interested in your business, they’re likely to go follow you on social. That will give you another chance in the future to retarget them on social and convert them into a customer.

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