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How to use social media to grow your business

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

In this day and age, social media is unavoidable.

With over 2 billion users worldwide, neglecting such platforms for your marketing strategy is a lost opportunity.

The latest Sensis study shows that 47% of Australian businesses are now on social media, along with 79% of the nation’s consumers. Maintaining this presence has led to significant increase in brand awareness, improved sales, and greater website traffic – with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram in the lead.

So, to grow your online presence, audience, and profits – here’s how your business can use social media to its advantage.

How do I use social media to grow my business?

  1. Connect with your audience.
  2. Study your competitors and target market.
  3. Drive more traffic to your website.
  4. Tell your brand story.

1. Connect with your audience.

connecting on social media concept

On top of its marketing efficiency, social media is perfect for cultivating personal connections with your customers. Such channels are an opportunity to show a more “human” side to your business; allowing you to not only tend to customer complaints and inquiries directly, but also spur relevant conversations and host online activities related to your brand. 

The flexibility of these platforms lets you get creative with your content – with options for live videos, giveaways, contests, or Q&As that foster a loyal community around your business. 

Additionally, this helps you leverage user-generated content (UGC), content posted by customers that feature your products or services. UGC is highly effective in building brand awareness, as 92% of consumers are more likely to trust a referral from a friend or someone they know. 

Developing this engagement through social media helps you to build valuable relationships with your audience; creating trust, brand loyalty, and thus – returning customers. While consistency is vital, be sure to offer quality content in each post. Both your content quantity and quality play crucial roles in your social media strategy, giving your audience a reason to keep following. 

Authenticity is key, however. Ensure customer contributions are genuinely valued and acknowledged; reports show that 86% of consumers state authenticity as an influential factor when choosing to support a business.

2. Study your competition and target market.

Having a social media marketing strategy is also effective in increasing quality leads for your business. 

A tried-and-true method of doing this is by promoting targeted content – posts that cater to the needs and interests of your desired market. A tech company, for example, may share content addressing the latest trends, conferences, and developments of the IT industry. Fostering engagement through such posts can help you screen for any potential customers and new, interested demographics

Though as handy as it is for keeping tabs on your target audience, social media also lets you keep an eye on your competitors. Monitoring their online performance allows you to learn from their tactics, working some into your own marketing strategies. This is known as “competitive analysis”, and helps you determine where you stand compared to other brands in your field. 

Additionally, with the number of social media platforms available, businesses are also able to experiment and determine which sites work best for them. Navigating through this complex landscape can help you find the channels that fare best in your marketing efforts.

This varies from one demographic to another. If you’re targeting millennials, for example, you may find Facebook fits your marketing strategy best (hosting 84% of that demographic). Since 71% of Gen Z social media users are on Snapchat, brands centred on this market may want to adopt the platform. 

However, this also depends on your industry. For instance, LinkedIn is a beneficial platform for B2B companies, while general small businesses often take to Instagram, Youtube, or Twitter. 

It’s best to do your research and work with the data tailored to your market; though plenty of businesses opt to have a presence on all relevant social media platforms.

3. Drive more traffic to your website.

website traffic

To gain more traffic on their official website or online store, businesses often use social media accounts as a pathway for potential customers. This is where leveraging all prominent platforms come in handy; as the stronger your presence is, the more likely you are to redirect organic traffic to your site.

Statistics show that 78% of small businesses use this strategy to generate more website traffic and thus – converted visitors. In an interview with Entrepreneur, Cody Neer (CEO of multiple multi-million dollar e-commerce brands), emphasised the importance of social media for cultivating online sales.

“We use social media to drive traffic to over 300 of our e-commerce stores… our brands are expected to cross $60 million in sales by the end of 2019 [with] much of that success thanks to social media,” Neer shares

With plenty of advertising tools available on most social media platforms, brands can also pay for greater audience reach. This leads to more eyes on their branded content – and with the right CTAs in place, more converted, paying customers. 

This can also work in reverse. Brands with news articles or blogposts on their official site can display “social sharing” buttons, allowing visitors to repost such content on their own social media accounts. 

4. Tell your brand story.

Social media also enables you to strengthen your brand image and mission.

Humans are naturally drawn to stories, so be sure to incorporate this in your social media strategy. Share your company values and what your brand stands for, as this helps differentiate your business from your competitors. 

This also helps you in further building online connections and trusted, loyal relationships among your target audience. Customers are more likely to stick with a brand they relate to and connect with

It’s also important to tie your brand storytelling to a big-picture mission; one that encourages follower engagement. 

The Tote Project, for example, is ethical fashion company dedicated to the social cause against human trafficking. Each product is weaved from organic material, handmade in India by human trafficking survivors – thus offering them a pathway to “stable, dignified employment”. The brand spreads its cause across social media through the hashtag, “#HoldOnToHope”; a slogan incorporated into online posts from satisfied customers, featuring their products and latest designs. 

Having a worthy cause helps your brand stand out among consumers, and gives them further reason to support your ventures. According to Social Sprout’s #BrandsGetReal study, 66% of participants believed it was “important” for brands to take part in current social issues. 

A relevant core message is also helpful when sourcing influencers – popular social media figures that help promote your brand and content. Collaborating with these users is the fastest-growing trend in the marketing world; proven to expand your reach across new audiences, boost profits, and gain trust within your target market – all without having to generate your own social media posts!

It’s important, of course, to work with influencers that fit the overall cause of your business. This helps maintain authenticity, as the more they believe in your mission, the more genuine they’ll come off in their product promotions. You’ll not only gain another loyal supporter, but raise brand awareness in the process.

Start growing your business on social media today!

A social media strategy is vital for any business, regardless of industry. Upskilled offers a diploma course in social media marketing for those who wish to master the tactics of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other prevalent platforms; helping you boost your brand presence in the online sphere. 

With subjects in content marketing, social media strategies and market analysis, it can help you be well-equipped to pursue specialised marketing roles – or simply a greater online following. Best of all, it’s 100% online, helping you study around work or personal commitments. 

Polish those marketing skills for the digital age, and enquire on a course today
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