You can leverage social media marketing to grow your business in many ways, from building your brand to engaging with customers. But no matter your business goal, you’ll want to be sure you’re using the right social media tool for your needs.
Choosing the best social media market tool and learning how to use it effectively can give you a consistent online presence that can help you grow your business with an affordable strategy. Learn how to leverage social media to help you meet revenue targets, attract new customers, and more.
- Effectively using social media can help you establish an online brand presence that embodies your brand’s mission, values, and offerings.
- Social media metrics can help you gain valuable insights into your customer base to help further inform your marketing and business development strategies.
- Before committing to a social media platform (or several), research how much the business tools cost (many are free), and which platforms your target audience use most.
- Consistency is key when it comes to leveraging social media for your business, so consider how you will leverage a content calendar to engage with your customers, generate leads, and promote your products or services.
How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business
Social media marketing, also called digital marketing or e-marketing, leverages various online social media platforms to connect business owners and brands with their existing or target audiences. Social media also generates purpose-built data analytics that provide excellent, detailed metrics that can help you understand whether certain products, services, or approaches are really in-demand with customers.
Online, you can easily share information with customers, learn about competitors, build brand awareness, accept online sales, and drive long-term business growth. Some social media platforms even pay for catchy content that keeps users on their platforms, and off competitor sites. So, developing a strong online presence could pay off in more ways than one.
Social media metrics can be used to gain valuable data, such as customer data (emails, phone numbers, etc.), audience engagement (likes, comments, shares, clicks), referrals, and conversions. This feedback can help businesses improve products and social marketing strategies. Also, you can compare your brand’s online performance, and adjust in real-time.
Social media is a low-cost beta-testing opportunity and marketing tool that can turn into its own revenue source.
Social media platforms are capable of reaching a very wide audience, so they are great vehicles to showcase your products, services, and brand personality. Brand identity incorporates the visual elements that translate your business’ mission, vision, and values. This can include the symbols, colors, and unique designs that a business will use consistently over time. The most visible element of brand identity is the company logo, which should be distinctive from competitors and easily recognizable by customers.
Your slogan or mission statement are the written or spoken elements that share what the company stands for and its values. While many small business owners may think brand identity is only about packaging, it is so much more. Identity helps customers feel connected with the people behind the company—its founders, employees, designers, and/or key spokespeople–and the company’s main mission.
Social Media Platforms
There were 4.95 billion social media users in the world or roughly 61.4% of the global population as of October 2023, according to global statistics from Data Reportal. This total is spread out across multiple popular platforms that target different audiences and can be used for different marketing strategies.
Here are some of the most prominent platforms in the U.S. (although there are many global options as well):
- Facebook: Facebook is the most popular global platform, with a cross-generational demographic of nearly 3 billion monthly active users. A wide range of businesses can benefit by creating business pages that automatically cross-posts content on Instagram, which can act as an online store, too. Facebook groups also build a sense of community, allowing for moderated or unmoderated conversations between like-minded people.
- X (formerly known as Twitter): X is useful for real-time updates, customer engagement, and businesses looking to share concise information. This character-limited text platform has recently undergone a rebrand under its new ownership. Some users have closed their accounts, while others have upgraded to X Premium, a fee-based subscription that allows for greater visibility.
- TikTok: While TikTok started off as a place to do silly voice-over videos, it is fast superseding Instagram as the place for visual content. Despite concerns over data security, many content creators continue to find it easy to create and monetize viral TikTok content that builds brand awareness and audience popularity. Many businesses that create TikToks cross-post them on Instagram as well.
- Instagram: Instagram is a photo-sharing platform owned by Meta. Instagram is designed for visual content, like photos or videos of travel, food, or lifestyle brands.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a more professional and business-oriented platform, originally created to connect employees with recruiters and hiring companies. Companies often find success advertising jobs on the platform or creating newsletters that gain media attention.
- Pinterest: Pinterest is a photo-focused search engine site. It has a strong, predominantly female demographic who uses the platform to create visual shopping lists for arts, crafts, events, and design projects.
- YouTube: YouTube includes longer-form video content that is too lengthy for TikTok and Instagram’s normal 30-second snippets. Here, business owners can offer password-protected or publicly available content, ideal for tours, tutorials, staff introductions, industry explainers, webinars, as well as unique content that can attract viewers and customers.
Before committing to a platform, understand how they work, how much they cost (many are free), and which platform your target audience uses most.
Consistent posting is key to making the most of your online presence. Develop a content calendar to regularly schedule messages for your audience. The algorithms behind each platform change all the time, but the more content you produce, the more the platforms boost your content to ever-larger audiences. This often means posting daily for at least 30 days at a time.
When in doubt, look at competitors’ social media pages to learn from their successes and failures, to adapt your content towards industry trends and audience interest. Solopreneurs may find this cadence of content production and competitor listening overwhelming. Hiring project-based freelancers can help. Community managers, copywriters, graphic designers, filmmakers, and editors can be hired at varying prices to do this work.
Social media aggregators like Hootsuite and Sprout Social manage all your accounts on one dashboard. They can save you the time of posting multiple times a day, and provide statistics to help you measure your return on investment (ROI).
Engaging with your customers goes beyond posting content. You can interact with your audience directly through comments, likes, shares, and messages. Marketing strategies such as hosting live videos, Q&A sessions, and giveaways can help you foster a personal connection with your audience, which can ultimately lead to sales. Be responsive to online interest by responding promptly to comments and messages.
Many business owners add a chatbot to their Facebook accounts to simulate a customer service exchange and field frequently asked questions. This is just one way to keep users on the platform and out of your email inbox and off your customer service line. Remember, social media is often about two-way communication, and you should have a strategy in your social media plan to respond to comments and queries.
Social media is an ideal way to search for potential customers who may be interested in your product. You can attract them with unique or informative content and eventually convert them into clients. Social media allows you to test concepts with audiences even before you invest any money in developing new products or services.
Try putting up images of a prototype to gauge interest or accept pre-sales. Create surveys to ask existing customers what you should develop next and how much they’d be willing to pay for the new offering. Social media is one of the best ways for businesses of all sizes to reach new customers and design products and services that people are willing to buy.
While organic reach is valuable, many small businesses can benefit by paying a small fee to advertise to new audiences. Each platform has a different set of paid advertising options, but most entail a campaign that puts your video or visual content in front of your target demographic. This can drive traffic to your business’s website or store, leading to increased sales. It can also eliminate the need for an expensive PR company or marketing consultant.
For just a few dollars per day, your business could advertise its services to hundreds if not thousands of potential clients. Often, you can specify desired age group, gender, and location, and the platform will put your content in front of the right audience. Budgets for paid ads can vary in price (typically between about $1 to $50 a day, depending on how many people you want to reach) and minimum time periods to run campaigns (typically around 30 days).
Paid ads on social media are not a “set it and forget it” kind of marketing tool. Instead, you can change keywords, demographics, images, and even wording throughout the campaign. Unlike with radio and TV, you have control over changing your ads.
How Can Social Media Help a Business to Grow?
Social media platforms can play a significant role in helping a business grow in several ways. They can help you increase brand visibility, improve audience engagement, and generate leads. Social media platforms can also provide a way to leverage targeted advertising and garner customer insights. Finally, it can help with content distribution, sales, and conversions.
What Is the Best Social Media Platform for Businesses?
Each business will have different target audiences and goals, and different ideal social media platforms. However, some of the most popular platforms for businesses include Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, TikTok, X, and YouTube.
How Often Should a Business Post on Social Media?
Each business has to define its specific goals and audience to determine how frequently to post on social media. Also, the algorithms that govern each social media differ slightly in how they reward frequent posters or paid accounts. Consistency and engagement with the target audience matter more than just the number of posts. According to Hootsuite research, some ideal target ranges are:
- Pinterest: 3-30 pins per day.
- X (Twitter): 2-3 posts per day; pay attention to hashtags.
- Instagram: 3-5 posts per week, including stories, lives, reels, and posts.
- Meta (Facebook): 1-2 posts per day, including posts, lives, etc.
- TikTok: 3-5 posts per week.
- LinkedIn: 1-2 posts per day.
Can You Promote Your Business on Social Media for Free?
You can promote your business on social media for free. Many social media platforms allow businesses to create free profiles and post content without any cost. Organic reach can help you connect with your existing audience, but it might not reach as many prospective customers as you’d like. Over time, you might want to consider paying for a modest amount of targeted advertising to reach a broader audience.
The Bottom Line
Using the right social media platforms in the best way can help your business grow significantly. As you review all your options for leveraging social media, keep your main business goals and budget in mind. Marketing via social media can help you reach a wide audience to generate leads, build your brand, engage audiences, and target advertising, among many other benefits.