How to Use Social Media to Enhance Your Business
Updated: Jul 3
Are you using social media to its fullest potential to grow your business? If not, you're missing out on one of the most important tools for businesses of all sizes. It can seem a little overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re doing. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you establish a plan and take the social media world by storm!
Why Use Social Media To Begin With?
Besides the overwhelming popularity and longevity of social media, there are several other reasons to start utilizing social media for the success of your business.
When the advertising isn’t completely free, social media ads are significantly cheaper than Google Ads and others.
Promotion of products and services
Social media gives you a chance to promote your products and services inside someone’s home, office, car, etc.
Connection with your clients
You are meeting your clientele in their space and have the chance to interact with them independently and as a whole every day.
Building brand awareness
Again, the immediacy of social media allows you to put yourself in front of an audience each and every day—with more frequency and less expense than a traditional ad campaign. You are able to show personality, and the regularity with which you post and are seen allows you to build your brand awareness.
Give good customer service!
Being right there, on a platform that encourages user engagement means you get countless opportunities to be available to your clients and give good customer service.
How To Make Social Media Work For Your Business
1. Find Your Audience
You need to know who your audience is in order to create content for them. Do your research to find out who your audience is. Are you selling knitted sweaters on Etsy? A quick search revealed that 80% of your audience will be women and that 41% of them are happy to buy sweaters online. Women are going to be your main target and, rest assured, they will be comfortable buying your sweaters even without a brick-and-mortar shop.
Now, keep going. Use research and analytics to establish your core audience, then find out what they like, what else they buy, and where they hang out online. Follow who they follow and learn from them what hashtags, lingo, and content that your they are comfortable with. Most importantly, discover what would be of value to them.
2. Where Are They Hanging Out?
Different social media platforms have very different demographics and research is vital to your success. Understand the different social media platforms and how they can be used to reach your target market. Once you’ve established who your audience is, find the platform that they use the most and focus your energy there first. Start with only a couple of channels and do really well there before you expand your approach to more platforms.
Different audiences will appreciate different platforms. For instance, 71% of Instagram users are 18–24 years old, 74% of adult women use Facebook compared to 62% of adult men, Twitter users tend to live in cities and be college-educated, and if your market is teens, TikTok is your platform with its skyrocketing growth and prevalence of Gen Z viewers.
3. Create Your Social Media Plan
It is always best to write out your plan. This cements it, making it easier to stick to over time. Here’s what your social media plan should include.
Goals that are relevant to your business and follow the SMART approach (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely)
A review and evaluation of your current social media practices
Research on your competition and their strategies (both successful and unsuccessful)
A social media calendar (you really can’t “wing” this one; plan it and write it down)
Use tools! You’ll need help tracking engagement and other analytics, creating graphics, scheduling your posts, etc. You can find help through your chosen social media channel and with outside apps like Hootsuite, Later, Mematic, Repost, and Canva—just to name a few.
4. Produce Valuable Content
This might be the most important bullet on this list. Produce quality, diverse content that is of value to your clientele (and the world!). If you are providing valuable content, people are going to follow and engage with you.
With regards to that content-
Make sure it is of value…did we say that already? That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun or funny, just make sure it is quality and fulfills a need.
Use all available mediums. Written content, images, memes, videos, live videos, reviews, reposts, contests, polls, etc. (Also, videos, videos, videos…did we say videos, yet?)
Utilize tools to make your content look professional.
Capture the attention of your audience and then engage with them through your content.
Research and utilize hashtags and keywords to help people find your content.
Be inclusive. Use alt text and captions to keep your content accessible.
And lastly: BE CONSISTENT! We all find comfort in stability. Be that for your audience.
5. Be Human
Tell your story. Through your story, you will connect with the audience, engage their emotions, and keep them coming back over time. Be human, not a salesman. This is a space for personality and connection—spiels and gimmicks will not serve you in the long run. Finding that humanity will develop your brand and give you instant recognition.
6. Talk To Your Audience!
Like, actually, directly to them! Engage with your audience when they engage with you. Respond to reviews, posts, and DMs. Repost their Story mentions.
Social media is a wonderful tool for customer service. Say thank you for positive AND negative feedback in a timely manner. We aren’t saying to respond to the inevitable trolls, but to everyone with a legitimate or perceived complaint.
Some different ways to engage with your audience:
Ask them questions
Use interactive tools like polls, quizzes, Live sessions, etc.
Collaborate with other brands and influencers
Create a Facebook group
Post user-generated content (UGC)
Mention followers in posts and Stories
Repost and tag any tags/mentions you receive
7. Can you utilize social commerce?
Does social commerce make sense for your business? Selling products via social media platforms really boomed in 2020, but it has not stopped since. What’s really cool about social commerce is that your customer can have the entire experience, from discovering your product to buying it, from the comfort of their home. And the entire transaction takes place within their social media app—they don’t have to leave it to head to a separate website!
For some great tips and best practices when using social commerce, here’s a helpful blog from Shopify.
8. It’s Time To Use Your Call To Action!
Once you’ve discovered your audience, created your social media plan, produced excellent content, and engaged with your clients, it is time to use that call to action! Your audience trusts you, they know who you are, and you’ve provided them with useful content. Now, ask them for what you need. Let them know your mission and implore them to join you. The time is right!
9. Keep Up With Analytics
You’ve established yourself and connected with your audience, but you have to keep up the work. In addition to continuing to produce great content, you need to watch trends and review the analytics. A measure of the success of your social media campaign is to be able to adapt to change and make adjustments as needed. Stay up-to-date. And don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether that means utilizing different tools (here’s a thoughtful list of GreenGeeks’ favorite analytics tools) or hiring someone to run your social media marketing.
10. Expand Your Audience!
Now that you know who your audience is, it’s time to work on expanding it! There are many different tactics to expand your reach on social media, but it all starts with the steps above. Once you are feeling confident with your ability to engage with your audience, it’s time to challenge yourself. Find what people are looking for and see if you can give that to them. Do your clients need inspiration, some laughs, a dose of camaraderie?
It will also help to work with other brands and influencers for an introduction to a wider market. Use tags, locations, and hashtags. Cross-promote across your other platforms. Put on fun contests and giveaways. Consider a paid ad or campaign. And remember, try new things! The worst that could happen is that it doesn’t work, and even then, you’ve learned something. Test out new ideas and see what works.
We’ve laid it all out, now don’t wait a moment longer. Start taking the steps to get the most out of social media and watch your company blossom online. It can be a little daunting at first, but if you tick the boxes, you’ll start to make progress and it will become easier every day. And don’t forget to ask for help when you need it, a little collaboration can help your business thrive.
How Else Can We Help?
The Times Collaborative is more than Longmont’s premier coworking and office space—we are a small business and we care about helping other small businesses thrive! From figuring out what your preferred workspace is to protecting your business from disaster to utilizing social media, The Times Collaborative is eager to help. So, come and write your future here!