How Social Media Can Help You Generate More Business

This is a common scenario…

Someone hears that social media can help drive traffic to their website or help them generate more business. So, they rush out and set up accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Then, panic sets in – what on earth are they supposed to do once you get there? How will this help their business?

Good question. One that many fail to answer before they dive in.

Daera Cshikoe asked me this question on Twitter earlier this week as he’s teaching a class about internet marketing:

“I’ve been hired/promoted recently, am thinking to utilise social media for more business and traffic. Question is HOW?!”

I thought his class, and all of you, could benefit from the answer. So, here are several ways you can use social media to help you generate traffic, and ultimately, grow your business.

Find your people.

Social media gives you a great way to find YOUR people online (i.e. people who want to connect with you and buy your stuff).

For example, LinkedIn gives you the ability to search people with a particular industry or job title and Twitter allows you to search by location or bio. Spending some time searching through social networks and connecting with targeted people can help you expand your reach and put you in front of the right audience.

Discover opportunities.

Businesses that know how to listen can position themselves to find opportunities on the social web. Setting up Google Alerts and social media searches can help you pay attention to the needs of your audience and even offer up your solution right when people are looking for it.

For instance, when I was looking for hotel recommendations in Nashville, I was shocked that not one hotel responded to my query on Twitter. That was definitely a missed opportunity.

Spread your content.

If you’ve got a blog, or any other content you can share (i.e. photos, ebooks, videos, etc.), social media is the perfect companion. By sharing your content on social networks, It helps you showcase your expertise and gives your audience a taste of what it would be like to work with you.

Also, by sharing your content through social media, it helps your information spread and get in front of more people.

Engage with customers.

Responding and interacting with customers can go a long way toward building loyalty. Social media is just another way to offer excellent customer service by answering questions, solving problems and offering help when they need it. By doing these things, you’ll keep your customers coming back.

Test ideas & get feedback.

Listening to the needs of your customers and prospects helps you get valuable insight into how you can better serve them. Social media offers the perfect forum to ask questions about your current offerings and solicit feedback on ideas for new products or services.

You can also use the feedback you get to capture testimonials that can help you promote your business.

Run a promotion.

Social media can be a fantastic avenue for running a promotion. Offer a special discount to your Twitter followers or Facebook fans. Or, give your social connections “first dibs” on new products or services.

These are great ways to help drive some business and also spread the word about you. After all, people ALWAYS love deals.

Connect with influencers.

Whether it be journalists, bloggers or experts within your niche, social media offers unprecedented access and insight into key influencers. And oftentimes, you’ll find these folks are far more accessible through social media than any other channel.

Use social media to develop a relationship with influencers that may help your business. But remember – just make sure you don’t start acting like a used car salesman. Get to know them first. You never know where it might lead.

Help others.

With everything you do on social media, it should be with an eye towards helping people solve their problems. That’s why you’re in business, right?

This quote always seems to help keep things in focus:

“You can have everything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”- Zig Ziglar

If you see someone who’s looking for a new restaurant to try in your town or an entrepreneur who needs recommendations for the best accounting software, don’t be afraid to chime in. When you take the time to help others – even if it’s not in your niche – people will view you as a trusted, helpful resource.

What else?

These tips are just scratching the surface, but they should help you get started and give you several ideas to help you connect with your target audience and grow your business.

What would you add to the list? Do you have good examples of these ideas in action?

Image credit: Diricia De Wet

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  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    Really great tips here, Laura. I would emphasize the engagement part of it. You are building relationships with human beings. Granted, it’s online, but it’s still human beings. And relationships take time. If people are sold to or pushed a product, they’re not going to engage with you on any social network. So be patient. It works if you think about it from a relationship aspect.

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      You’re so right, Gini. Before social media, we relied on things like in-person networking events. Peddling your wares did go over well in that environment and it doesn’t work on social media either. 

      I think this is one of the things many people miss – they think if you post messages to Facebook and Twitter, you’ll magically get business. It takes time to develop meaningful relationships that will help you get to that point.

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    Have to agree about the engagement and interaction part of the equation. Customer service has gotten to be so bad it is an easy way for a company to distinguish itself.

    • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Agreed – especially if you actually follow through and solve people’s problems. Though, it’s a shame that some companies (ahem – Comcast) are good at customer service through social media, but not through other channels. Customer service should be part of the culture.

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