Before trying to understand how to use social media to expand your business's reach and profit, you need to understand why it is so important.
Think about the world we live in today - when was the last time you went to dinner, looked over at another table, and didn't see at least one person on their phone?
You probably haven't!
We live in a generation that is glued to their computer and phone screens.
What can we say?
We are a social bunch!
Businesses everywhere have recognized the incredible draw and pull social media has today, and have started using it for their benefit.
You too have probably already begun to use social media to start promoting your business; however, if you do not previously have a strong understanding of how Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, ect. work, then it can kind of feel overwhelming and therefor pointless.
There is a different strategies for each platform, but at the same time, there are across the board principles and tips that will help you have a better understanding on how to use social media for business growth.
1. Know Who You Are Targeting
You cannot successfully market on social media, let alone anywhere, if you do not know who you are selling to.
Your product or service caters to a certain need that people have.
Even if you sell chocolate.
You are providing for someone with a need to buy a gift or the want to fulfill a craving.
Knowing what need your product or service provides an answer for will help you narrow down your target audience and give you a better idea on how to market to them.
Facebook has a couple different options when it comes to targeting a specific audience.
You can "boost a post" on Facebook, which gives you the option to promote a blog, status, video, picture, ect. that you have already posted.
When you boost a post you are given a couple different options that allow you to narrow down your target audience.
From age range to location, you can specify who you want to see your post.
Boosting a post is cost effective.
With the minimum of only one dollar a day, you can choose how much you want to spend and how many days you want to boost this post.
Boosting a post is usually more effective for creating awareness among people who already follow your page and their friends.
If you are trying to reach more of an organic audience, Facebook has the option to promote your page locally, or set up an ongoing promotion.
An ongoing promotion is an ad campaign that includes a set budget, pre-selected photos with the most engagement from your page, and a suggested audience.
Once you have an ongoing promotion set up, Facebook will also send you insight as to how your promotion is performing as well as suggest updates to your promotions.
Finding your target audience on Instagram is slightly different.
When you are posting a picture you can use relevant hashtags such as the city you live in, state, county, ect.
You can also tag your location - be that the exact restaurant you are at, the address of your business, the city/town you are in, or the state.
This means that when people type in your city, they may come across your picture because of your hashtag or your location.
In the same way, you can type in a specific city, state, store, ect. into the search bar to see the type of people searching the same thing, or going to those places - this will give you a better idea of who you are targeting.
2. Build A Strategy
Once you have an idea of who you are targeting, deciding which tools you will use to target them takes planning.
Because each platform is different and each user engages differently on the platforms, that means the voice and presence you have must be unique to the platforms you are posting on.
Something you post/promote on Facebook should be promoted a different way on LinkedIn.
Each platform has specific features.
Take Twitter for example.
Twitter is known for hashtags and @ responses.
In the same way, Instagram picked up on hashtags and @ responses.
Hashtags have become more common over other social platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn, however, they still do not have the same effect, nor are they necessarily used as religiously or in the same way as they are on Instagram and Twitter.
This is where strategy comes in.
If you are posting content to all your social platforms, you need to know how to poistion it to your audience on your specific platforms.
3. Quality Over Quanitity
When it comes to social media, less is definitely more if you have nothing good to say.
Consider that one friend you have on Facebook who posts a status update every two hours; even though this person may come across your newsfeed multiple times a day to where you are very familiar with his life, likes, and dislikes, you probably get annoyed with his constant posting after a while, don't you?
You may even get to the point where if you see his name, you don't even read what he posted, you just keep scrolling.
This is not how you want your target audience to feel about you!
Posting content on social platforms is different than posting content to your webpage.
When it comes to posting on webpages, you have probably heard that the more content you produce the better your chances are of being found and having your website move up in ranking within Google; this is not the approach you want to take when posting to social media.
If you do not have quality posts that will capture the attention of your target audience, a great offer that will provide value to your target audience, or an amusing picture that will elicit a great response, you may not want to post.
It is not about bombarding your followers, but engaing with them.
If you post content that people won't engage with, you are wasting time.
4. Comment, Share, Like, and What Not
Finally, engage with your followers!
If people share your posts or retweet your tweets, show them some love.
Engaing and being involved on your social platforms will attract more followers and create more awareness around your pages.
Social media is a great place to show how relatable your business is to their audience and to their clients.
People like to engage with people, so be human like!
Follow people back and share their content that you find useful - promoting other people will also increase your awareness, because if people search for what they posted, they may come across your page as well, simply because you shared something.
Social media is extremely prominent in our society; don't miss the opportunity to engage and market yourself where people are spending a majority of their time just because you may not understand the platforms fully.
Study, research, and learn.
Starting and figuring things out along the way is better than doing nothing.
Engage on the platforms where your target audience is spending their time, post content that will provide value to them, use a voice that is relevant to the platform and its users, and start reaching out and getting to know your followers!