I'm sure you have already noticed how popular social media is and why so many people, including the people you want to buy your product use it on a daily basis. So many of us wake up and check our social media accounts before anything else, which makes the logic behind using it for business very obvious. We are consuming content 95% of the day, from posters and video content offline to the content ad banners on our social media networks.

When you look into how often we use social media, it's no wonder marketers found a gap and filled it with haste. Because of how important social media is, it's no wonder that it will have such a massive impact on your business.

This topic is all about social media and how to use it to grow your business. Marketing on social media has never been greater – it's free and its where your target audience likes to spend their time.!

Here are 8 tips on how to use social media to grow your business:


Use a minimum of 2 social media platforms

You may want to go ahead and use all the social media platforms out there, but truth be told, it will become more of a headache than anything else, so the smartest move is to choose 2 or a maximum of 5 platforms for your business. Once you have decided on what platforms to use, you need to spend some time figuring out how this platform will work for your business. With Twitter for instance, we all know it's about sharing catchy status updates with links leading back to your website. But, the thing most people miss is the power of using hashtags on Twitter. If your customer decided to search for your product or service using a hashtag, for instance one for my business may be *mumpreneur* – then Twitter will pull up all the posts with that hashtag, which will place my post and Twitter page in front of the customer. This could lead to the customer deciding to follow my page for future updates, while heading over to my website to view what I have to share or sell.

The top 3 social media platforms I would recommend are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Those should be your staple, simply because pretty much everyone has one, then you can add on Snapchat, LinkedIn or Google+ if you wanted to explore.


Make sure to format all posts to suit the platforms

Having all these platforms doesn't mean you post the same content on all of them. You need to tweak each post so it reflects the platform, because they are all different. The amount of words you can write on a Facebook status is much more than you can share on Twitter – and the amount of hashtags you can share on Instagram is much more vast than you can share on either Facebook or Twitter without it looking tacky. Each platform is different, so treat them as such to avoid falling into the lane of sharing content that your readers will scroll past.

For Facebook you need video content or imagery that connects to a blog post or product posting, for Twitter you need sharp and punchy posts to catch their attention, Instagram is all about sharing images that will appeal to your target audience. Focus on making them clean and shareable, with a sprinkle of yourself along your Instagram timeline. As we discussed before in my previous post on branding, it's all about getting personal with your audience.


Be consistent

Develop a posting schedule and stick to it. If you post once a week on a Wednesday, be sure to stick to it as your audience will get used to that fact and will look out for your posts on a Wednesday. Obviously, if its once a week, you need that one post to be incredible! Being consistent is the key to being successful on social media. It's very confusing for your target audience to go from posting once a week to then posting 6 times in one day and then back to posting once – it reduces engagement, which is what you don't want to happen.


Focus on the social media platforms that work for yourself

You will find that after a while, one or two platforms will bring in more engagement that the others. This is when you start to focus more of your attention on the more active platforms and take advantage of the opportunity it will offer. For most people Twitter is a fantastic option, because it's fast paced and generates a larger click through rate than say Facebook, which takes a lot more time to nurture before customer engagement develops.


Share content that relates to your brand

I know social media seems to be focused on getting all the likes, but if you're getting all these likes and you cannot convert those likes into paying customers then what's the point. Are those likes actually valuable? So, focus on the kind of content that you share and make sure that it reflects your brand while also being appealing to your target audience.

It can get very tempting to share content that will get a ton of attention and a vast amount of likes, but if it doesn't relate to your brand or add any value then it's a waste of time. Everything that you post needs to reflect your brand identity – this is the topic we discussed last week, so click here if you want to read into this and learn how to define yours.

Share important content

When I say important it's about sharing the kind of content that may be hard to talk about in your choice of industry, so it may at first be very unpopular and won't get a lot of likes. Recently, I shared content around mental health and it did not receive as much likes and interaction as say content around food. Although it didn't get as many likes, it's about building a footing in your industry and the all important credibility. Sometimes, you may need to be the one to talk about the hard topics.


Be both popular and business focused

Of course you want to be one of the most popular social media pages online, who wouldn't, but it also needs the balance of having your business at the centre of everything. Growing a social media platform that you can't monitise in the long or short run is pointless, so remember to keep the balance between the two. You can share your fun quirky side, but remember to share the serious aspect with focus on business just as popular and important to your target audience.


Use social media to boost your marketing plan

Every marketing plan has a mixture of strategies that are valuable to grow the business and doesn't just include social media. Which is of course very important, but you can use social media to boost all your marketing efforts. It's cheaper to use and can, in most cases cost nothing at all if the it is being used correctly. There are ads that you can run on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google, but there are also ways to have a similar impact for free. It does take a little more time, but in the end the results should be the same if used properly and reviewed often to alter strategies.

Social media is such a big deal now that many small businesses are gaining unmatched traction just by growing an audience on Instagram or Facebook. There is no time like the present to get stuck in and make the most of it. Even if you are not ready to launch your business, getting your social media platforms up and running before the product is ready is a great idea. This allows your target audience to watch the product and brand grow with great anticipation to order once you're ready to launch.