7. Let Your Fans Promote You
If your business is worth its salt, you’ll eventually end up with paying customers who enjoy talking about and sharing your products or services on social media. Now, if you’re, say, Apple, you won’t be able to keep up with it all, but for the rest of us using social media for business, these folks can be almost mini-influencers.
If someone’s already praising you on social media for free, consider contacting them with an offer of a freebie, discount, etc. if they’ll keep it up or use your official hashtags. Their 1,000 follower account may not have the reach of an influencer with 100,000 or 1+ million followers, but then again, their appreciation is genuine and their help comes a lot cheaper.
For smaller accounts, at least give them a shoutout or a retweet, and let their organic praise act as promotion.
8. Run Contests And Deals
Whether you’re trying to build your followers or increase engagement with the ones you already have, both contests and deals can be a great way to do it. They can even outsource your content creation and promotion to your customers.
Examples include an exclusive coupon code shared with your followers for x-percent off a future purchase, or a giveaway that asks people to tag friends and follow your pages for a chance to win.
9. Post The Content Your Followers Want
Many businesses make the mistake of posting dry, straightforward content to their feeds. But people don’t spend time on social media because they like infomercials.
You want to get the word out on your business. And the best way to do that is with content that people are actually drawn to.
Pay attention to what kinds of posts are popular on each platform, and figure out how you can fit them to your message. I already pointed out a couple ideas above, but here’s another hint: a picture is worth a thousand words, as cliché as it might sound.
10. Use Social Media Advertising
Most of these tips can be put to work on even the most bootstrapped budget. But organic social media marketing will only get you so far. If you want to maximize your reach and lead generation, it pays to, well, pay. For social media ads, that is.
The good news is, paid ads can benefit businesses and budgets of all sizes, from the smallest upstart to the biggest corporation. For a little money, you can get your business in front of millions of eyes in the form of an Instagram story, Facebook messenger ad, promoted tweet, or Youtube video ad, growing your reach and your bottom line in the process.
11. Use A Call To Action
The call to action – sometimes referred to as a “CTA” by the cool kids – has long been one of the most simple yet effective marketing tools around. And it’s just as useful when applied to social media for business.
Posts that ask for “likes” get more likes. We’re talking 2x to 5x times more. The same goes for comments, shares, and retweets.
Want more followers? Ask people to follow you. Want more people to buy your product? Ask. Want more… okay, you get the idea. If you want it, you have to ask for it.
12. Provide A Freebie Or Special Offer
Of course, a call to action is even more effective when it’s paired with something your followers want. And there are few things people want more than sales and free stuff. Who doesn’t love a 20% off discount code, after all?
Also known as a “lead magnet”, these offers can help you collect emails for your list, bring attention to your brand, and even increase sales. They can include things like percentage off coupons, free content, and more. Use them to your advantage in social media for business.
13. Make Sure To Be Social
Many businesses make the mistake of treating their social media page(s) as strictly business and forget about what social media’s all about. After all, one half of the term social media is, you guessed it, “social”!
Remember, not everything you post to your company’s feed has to be in the form of an official-sounding statement. Take a moment to socialize a bit – and maybe even crack a joke or two. After all, 72% of people said they like businesses that show a sense of humor on social media.
14. Show Your Personality
What’s the difference between boring small talk about the weather and an impassioned conversation with someone you just met? Personality.
That’s why, when it comes to both your interactions with your followers and your social media presence in general, you want to show your personality. An account run by a former business executive who loves custom suits shouldn’t be identical to a vegan yoga instructor’s – and vice versa.
Of course, you’ll want to share those parts of your personality that fit with your brand. For instance, if you sell knitted dog sweaters, your customers may not share your appreciation for death metal. But chances are, as a business owner, your interests are probably somewhat aligned with your brand already.
15. Ask For The Business
On the flip side, don’t forget the reason your business is on social media: to generate business.
It’s great to engage with people on social media, rack up followers, build up your brand awareness, and tout the benefits of your product or service, but none of that means much if you don’t make the sale. Instead of just passively waiting for people to click-through and buy, make it a point to actively ask for their business.
Growing a business is about more than sales. You’ve got to keep those customers happy, so that they keep coming back, tell their friends, and leave glowing reviews to your merchant page. And that means handling some good ol’ customer service.
It also helps to be proactive and actually seek out people who are confused about your products or venting their frustrations without directly contacting your page.
Remember back when hashtags were mostly just a Twitter thing? Well, those days are long gone.
If you’re not including relevant and popular hashtags on your posts, posting to trending hashtags, and creating and promoting hashtags specifically for your business or campaigns, whether it’s on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, you’re doing it wrong. Encourage your followers to use your hashtags too!
18. Search For Mentions Of Your Business On Social Media
Many, if not most, of the people who talk about your brand on social media, especially if you’re a decent sized business, aren’t going to do it directly on your Facebook page or by mentioning your Twitter handle.
To find the feedback and comments that don’t make it to your notifications, it’s a good idea to actively use the social media service’s search function to seek out who’s talking about your business, both good and bad. From there, you can reply to it, retweet it, direct them to your official channels, or even just use it for your internal quality control.
19. Spy On Your Competition
All’s fair in… er, business and marketing. Which is why you should never be afraid to use a little espionage to improve your social media strategy.
That’s right, I want you to spy on your competitors. What are the biggest brands in your industry? Find out, if you don’t already know, and take a trip over to their social media pages.
Which platforms are they using? What kind of content are they posting? Who’s their audience? Where are they getting the most engagement? Figure out what’s working for them – and apply it to your own social media strategy.
20. Drive Traffic To Your Website
Social media is such an awesome tool for marketing your business. But at the end of the day, you don’t own your social media page, the platform does. It’s “rented land” that you’ll never have full control over.
Many businesses have had their pages suspended or even deleted entirely by Facebook in the past without warning. It can be over something as simple as a Terms of Service violation that you didn’t know you made or even a competitor maliciously reporting your content.
Imagine having your biggest marketing channel disappear in the blink of an eye – and not even having a backup plan. And there’s always the chance that the social media service you’ve dedicated so much time to eventually goes the way of Myspace.
Use social media marketing for business, but always as a tool to direct leads to your own platforms, like your website or blog, not as a substitute. Include links in your bio, your posts, and pretty much everywhere else you can fit them.
One of the most effective tools for building your own platforms and reducing your reliance on social media platforms is through an email list. As any decent marketer will tell you, the size of your email list is a lot more important than the number of Facebook likes or Instagram followers you have.
Which is why you should always be searching for ways to turn those social media fans into members of your email list. Use your posts, ads, bio, and even your Facebook cover photo to funnel them right where you want ‘em, to your email subscriber sign-up form.
It’s always a good idea to entice people to subscribe with a nice freebie or discount too.
Running a business is tough, and your schedule can get hectic. It’s neither realistic nor efficient to block off a chunk of time every day for creating and posting content to your social media pages.
Fortunately, there’s a better way. Rather than trying to maintain a daily content schedule, you’re going to craft a week or month’s worth of content at once, then upload it in bulk, and set it to post to your feed automatically.
This will ensure that your social media pages are getting the consistent updates that they need to grow, without cutting into your oh-so-busy daily schedule.
By now, you’ve got a pretty formidable arsenal of tools for using social media marketing for small business. You know which platforms to use and how to set up your pages.
You’ve got strategies for increasing your follower count and engaging your existing followers, posting content and building brand awareness. And you’ve even received a quick tutorial on using social media to build your own platforms.
How will you adapt these strategies to your brand? Let me know in the comments!