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How to get the best out of social media

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In the last couple of years, one of the most useful tools in many business’ marketing toolbox has been social media.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are just a few examples of the types of networks that can be utilised, but it isn’t quite as simple as opening an account and letting the magic happen. The development of any social media strategy takes time and the phrase ‘you reap what you sow’ has never been truer when applied to this platform.

Why bother?

Before explaining how to get the most out of your efforts, it’s worth understanding why you’re going to all the trouble in the first place.

Social media is the perfect vehicle upon which you can communicate with your audience on a personal level. It’s all about building relationships and if a potential customer enjoys following you in the world of Twitter, for example, they are more likely to think about you when your services are needed by them.

Similarly, it is an ideal way to market your company to a new audience. If you are publishing content that people like, all it takes is for them to click ‘retweet’ or ‘like’ for that message to be shared with a whole new group of consumers. The potential for reach is astounding.

Be relevant

With this in mind, you need to have something worth saying and not just be communicating for the sake of it. Your online following is only likely to grow if you are entertaining or informative.

Therefore, sound advice would be to focus on either promoting yourself as an expert in your field with the aim of attracting like-minded people, or be something different that the internet community would choose to follow out of curiosity or because they simply enjoy reading what you have to say.

Competitions

Early on, gaining a following can be a tricky task. However, competitions are a good way of getting the ball rolling.

If you allow people to enter a giveaway – which could be for something as small as a book to a much larger prize if you’re feeling generous – simply by following you and sharing the message then you are giving people a reason to be interested in what you are doing, while also getting them to spread the word to all their friends online. In essence, they are doing the hard work for you.

Interact

Part of the fun of social networks is that they give users access to people and organisations that they would otherwise have no way of speaking to.

For the first time, football supporters can directly contact their idols on the pitch, music fans can speak to their favourite artists and customers can get in touch with a company to tell its marketing team exactly what they thought of their recent experience with the firm.

So another important thing to remember when your presence does start to take off is that you need to be approachable and be seen to be interacting with your public. Otherwise, what’s the point in having an outlet in the first place? That’s the social part of social media.