8 Ways to Use Social Media to Your Advantage (for free)

Memes, political rants, and daily updates from that guy you met once in college – social media can be a crazy place. With that being said, it’s undeniable that in 2020, your business needs to be making an impact on the world’s most popular platforms.

Over the past decade, a social media presence, and the accompanying advertising strategies, have shifted from a marketing luxury to an absolute necessity. The good news? If you execute a well-optimized plan, social media advertising might just be the most cost-efficient part of your overall marketing effort.

In this article, I’ll dive into the top eight components of a successful social media strategy for businesses.


1. Be Responsive

Social media is all about interaction and building relationships. That means when a customer or potential customer reaches out, respond to their question, request, concern, etc. Nothing builds brand loyalty more effectively than knowing a business cares about you on a personal level.

Customers may or may not have experience with your brand in the past, so keep in mind how important it is to make a good first impression. One positive interaction might lead to years of loyalty in the future!

When it comes to interacting with your audience, be concise, appreciative that they’re spending their time trying to communicate, and above all, make them feel important!


2. Stay Current

The Facebook demographic might be getting slightly older (thanks Grandma for the like on my post), but the vast majority of social media users still constitute a younger audience. With new trends popping up on a near-weekly basis, staying on top of the latest social media buzz is crucial for businesses trying to reach the 18-24 demographic.

Keeping up with the latest isn’t just a boost to your business’s social standing, but it also throws your name in the conversation of the topics that are “trending.” This will give you a slight boost in visibility and let all your followers know you’re more than just an advertising machine.

Don’t be afraid to join the conversation on the hottest topics of the week, but be sure you aren’t alienating any potential customers with your position!


3. Share Photos

Most social media users tend to enjoy visual content. Frequently posting photos that show off your team or projects is a great way to get people engaged and invested in the company!

Whether it’s a new hire, an employee spotlight, or simply a photo of the team hard at work, you can be sure that your audience will appreciate having something to look at.

Keep in mind that it won’t always be easy to take photos on a daily or weekly basis, so it can be extremely beneficial to create a library of images to choose from when you’re ready to post.


4. Offer Coupons/Discounts

What’s one thing (maybe the only thing) everyone in your social media following can agree on? Saving money!

Whether you’re having a promotional deal, or simply looking to provide some incentive to get more customers through the door, take it to your social profiles.

Social media presents the opportunity to have a direct line straight to your customers. Reward them for choosing to follow your brand by offering discounts or promotional deals that generate savings for them and extra awareness for you.


5. Acknowledge (and work to fix) Complaints

For better or worse, the first place many customers go after having a bad experience with a business is social media. If you know how to handle these complaints, you can turn that disappointment into brand loyalty.

Everyone likes to feel like their opinion is being heard. As a business owner (or the owner of a business’s social media profile), it’s your responsibility to appreciate what the customer is saying, even if you disagree.

Responding to criticism should follow the same general rules, with exceptions made only for unusual circumstances. An example of an initial response to a social media complaint might be, “Hello [name], we apologize that you had a bad experience with [business name]. Please message us privately and we’ll make it right.”

You don’t need to go over the top with profuse apologies, but simply letting the customer know that you care about their experience can go a long way in building a relationship. Not to mention, other social media users will notice that your brand cares about the customer, which should build you some equity with those who see your interactions with complaints.


6. Highlight Employees

As a brand, you can only be so relatable to your audience comprised of individuals. With that being said, putting a face (or faces) to your company can remind people that you’re just like them!

Make it a priority to feature an employee every month and focus on the things that represent them outside of just their job. Have some fun with it, and it could be a great experience for both your audience and your team!


7. Community Focus

Social media is a community in and of itself, but it will never be a true replacement to the community you and your customers live and work in each day. One of the best ways to build up some goodwill for your brand is by getting involved around town and documenting your experiences!

Research local happenings in your area such as a festival, charity event, or fundraiser, and see how you can help. Take plenty of pictures and utilize it for your social media channels. When helping the community and getting positive brand exposure for your business can happen simultaneously, everybody wins!


8. Unveil New Products

So your content is engaging and you’re responsive to customers, but there will always be some people who look for a “real” reason to follow your brand’s social media channels. How about making social media the place to reveal new products?

No matter the industry you’re in, it’s likely that you’ll be rolling out new products or services periodically throughout the year.

Taking a page from big brands, social media can be the place to share the newest developments to your customers. In addition to simply continuing to build the relationship, you’ll get new followers who want to be in on the newest things before the rest of the public finds out!


The Wrap Up

For small business owners, any time you’re able to advertise for free, it’s essential to take full advantage of the opportunity. Knowing how to utilize your social media channels to optimize their effectiveness should be at the top of the list of ways to connect to your audience.

If you feel as if you don’t have the time or knowledge to dedicate to managing your profiles, consider hiring outside help. Experts can be hired for a fraction of the cost of an employee, and the investment could have major benefits for your bottom line in the future.