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Social media is so much more than creating a company page, adding a company bio and a couple of pictures.

How can social media help you sell?

How can social media increase your sales? Most companies have registered the need for a presence on social media, but so far this extends to setting up a profile and copy + pasting 200 words from their company bio.

This alone is not enough to increase sales, and it is not maximizing on the opportunity social media provides.

Social media if used properly can be a way to keep in constant contact with your audience, creating more touch points and engaging with customers. Creating a dialogue will increase brand awareness and if done properly, can increase engagement, which leads to sales, and return visits.

Why so many social platforms?

You may have noticed that while browsing a website the ‘share this’ function will include several social media platforms. Why do we need to use more than one social media site, is one not social enough?

The reason for this is that algorithms on social media platforms have been created so that an audience will potentially only see 15% of an organisation’s posts. In order to maximize visibility, use more than one platform to spread brand messages and therefore reach more followers.

If this seems like too much work, keeping track of all social media activity with limited resources, tools are available online to help manage your social media. These include apps like: Hootsuite, Klood, Crowdbooster, SocialFlow, Bitly, Everypost and many more offering varying services and reporting options.

Prices vary, but something like Hootsuite will be free for 3 social media platforms and limited analytics. Some of these tools will give you options like: finding the best time to schedule your post, so that you can interact when your followers are more likely to be active. Social media management tools are well worth investing in as they will save time and resource.

How to maximize on your visibility via social media?

Another aspect of social media is the advertising options that are available. Marketers are spending 13% of their whole marketing budget on social media advertising, and this figure is expected to rise to 21% by 2019. While they differ in price and options from platform to platform, they are not nearly as complicated as you might fear!

For a budget that seems rather meager, it is well worth knowing that a little can actually go a long way: Moz found that on Facebook $1 per day can grow your audience by 4,000 people. This expenditure can be a great starting point to grow your audience.

How and what is advertised is down to the brand message you want to maintain and what your company goals are. How exactly you wish to approach your social media advertising is up to you. There are 2 main techniques:

1. Advertise your page, this means you’re ‘asking’ for more likes. Encouraging customers to like your page could mean multiple engagement opportunities. Their attention is at your fingertips.

2. The goal may be to drive visits to your website, where a customer may visit and potentially convert. But this only drives a one-time visit. ‘Harvesting’ your customers and their information could be more beneficial in the long run.

Spend your social media budget wisely; a great place to start is looking at weaknesses, what can’t you do by yourself, or what will take a lot of time to complete. This is where you might enlist the help of others to do those jobs for you. For example: creating banners where needed or managing your social media, creating posts etc.

What else do you need to consider within your social media budget?

You might want to invest in training, but there are plenty of free online communities available to the socially minded: Inbound.org, growth hackers and Quibb, these are all great free resources to pick up some tips and how-to’s.

For the savvy amongst us we can save a lot of money on resources using free online information, a no cost social platform management solution or doing your audience research with a tool like Followerwonk or typeform which will cost nothing. Leaving much of your budget in tact for advertising.

Create your content

It is important to remember that social media is a form of permission based advertising. Your followers chose to like or follow your brand, so try to give them posts they will enjoy reading, rather than bombarding them with advertising.

When creating your content, be creative. What really works with social media, what do your customers want, free giveaways, funny posts, lifehacks, videos? This is where you can do some free customer research, to find out what makes your audience tick.

Social media is about creating a dialogue with your customers, it is an opportunity for them to engage with your brand, not a way to push products and sales talk in their faces (or screens).

What if I get negative feedback through my social media?

Oh the power of social media, while it is a fun place to post silly videos and promote competitions, it has also become an outlet for frustration. A mistake that many companies will be making is to ignore comments that customers post to them.

Reinforce positive comments and interactions; this will resonate with your audience that you’ve taken the time to thank a customer for their good feedback. Similarly, addressing a problem head on shows good customer service. Making sure that you work towards a solution with the customer, visibly, is displaying to the rest of your followers that you address problems and care about your customers.

Social media is an ideal place to learn about your customers, what they respond to and what they want from a brand. The insight you can take away from a social media campaign can be worth its weight in gold alone.