Many business builders who are just starting out choose social media as their primary way to promote their brand and make it the rainbow fish in a school of trout because social platforms are a versatile, low-threshold marketing choice.
That said, social media success can be hard to come by. Why? Because it’s easy for your company’s message to get lost in a sea of similar profiles. Because the algorithm is always changing. Because it’s hard to know what to post. Because it’s a lot of work. You can always think of an excuse, but, if you want to succeed and get actual returns for your efforts – you have to just do it. To make your best effort,  and make it worth your time, you have to know how to utilize social media to it’s fullest potential.
Here are 5 tried and true ways to build connections and increase your social media reach, no matter what algorithm changes or social media trends come your way.

Become a resource for customers

Followers, likes, subscribers, clicks – these things are all great for your ego, but they’re called vanity metrics for a reason. The real goal is to establish and nurture a lasting relationship with your audience. How? People are looking for your business to solve a problem, and if you want to help solve the problem, first you must show them you can.
Show your audience you know what you’re talking about. Answer questions. Provide insights. Update them on what’s going on in your industry. Consumers are more inclined to remember companies that have legitimately helped them with their knowledge than companies that just has nice-looking ads and a cute profile image.
[vc_message message_box_style=”solid” style=”square” message_box_color=”vista_blue” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-bookmark-o”]TIP: A good practice to follow before you post anything is to ask yourself: am I doing this for myself, to get likes and attention, or am I doing this to give value to my audience?[/vc_message]
 

Ask Questions

To give customers exactly what they need, you have to get to know them first. How is simple enough: ask questions. You’d be surprised at how insightful asking a simple question can be. Social media success comes from knowing what to post, where to post it, and when to post it. Not sure about any one of those things? Ask. Look for pain points, interests, habits and any other information that can inspire good content creation.
[vc_message message_box_style=”solid” style=”square” message_box_color=”vista_blue” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-bookmark-o”]TIP: Calling an existing or potential customer? Give them a special incentive or freebie for helping you out.  Even if you don’t tell them about the discount or offer until after you ask the question, it’s a nice touch and a little appreciation goes a long way.[/vc_message]
 

Listen to Your Customers

In addition to making it a point to pose questions and provide answers, successful social media marketers are proactive enough to examine the chatter on social media. Doing so will help you determine customer pains that you may not have been aware of beforehand and will allow you to provide answers even before they ask questions. Just like fostering personal relationships, investing time and effort to get to know people pays off in the long run.
 

Practice Transparency

The idea of business transparency is not a new one, but social media forces you to examine how openly you want to communicate with your audiences. Be as open as you feel comfortable, but always be honest. Share your business values, explain how you operate, avoid perception gaps, own up to mistakes (no cover-ups!) and embrace open communication and the opportunities it provides.
Remember that Patience is a Virtue
Did your parents tell you this as much as mine did? It applies to social media success just as much as is does to your everyday life. Not all marketing efforts can bring about overnight change or results. You have to be patient in waiting for the fruits of your labor, but this does not mean that you have to wait years to see changes. Don’t give up! Always keep in mind that you are planting the seeds of your success. It will bloom in time provided that you consistently care for it.
 

Be the Company Customers Can Trust Through Consistency

Trust is critical if you want to convert leads and make customers loyal to your brand. Always put customers ahead of your profits, listen to them, give them the information and ensure that information is correct, well-researched and consistent. Use a monthly or weekly editorial calendar and don’t take a long hiatus from posting. Going on vacation? Schedule your posts ahead of time using a scheduling tool.
Doing all the things I’ve outlined above will give you social media success, but more importantly, it will help you convert your audience to customers and turn those customers into your brand loyalists. Do not just focus on selling something today. Yes, you will get a profit from that sale but imagine what you will get if that customer decides to stick with you for a lifetime and tells her family and friends about you? Market your product and company based on the needs of your clients and not based on what you need and you will be a lasting success.

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