Social media remains one of the best forms of marketing you have in your modern business. Legit. It works.

Think about this. This is a social media marketing tactic that I can guarantee has happened to you. You’re sitting on the couch, a tad bored by what’s on the telly, so you start Googling. A pair of killer heels you’ve had your eye on. How to reduce bloating. Quick and easy family dinners. The best-priced hair straighteners. What shampoo does Emma Stone use (her hair is seriously silky looking)?

Whatever you Googled – no judgements!

But now I ask you. When you popped back onto Facebook later, did you feel like you’d been stalked? I bet you a sponsored ad featuring the item you Googled popped up.

Yep! It’s a tad freaky at first, and you think, holy hell, how did they know? Well, it all comes down to algorithms and our digital footprint. These are called sponsored ads (paid social media advertising that works). And this is one example of social media marketing.

There are, of course, also many ways you can make your social media reach your audience without paying a cent.

Let’s examine the top 4 ways social media helps your business to grow.

  1. Brand building on a budget

Social media is a very low-cost tool for brand recognition, using free social media accounts, or small-budget brand awareness initiatives (such as Ads).

The aim of social media marketing is getting your ideal audience to engage with you. As they engage with you and hopefully share your content or tag you as the ‘expert’, their networks start to take notice too. And this circle continues.

This is all about being consistent and making sure you use your branding on your posts. Things like branded memes are perfect for this. You can also create branded hashtags that help people find you.

If you’re a product-based business, another way to boost your brand recognition is by influencers. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it can genuinely work! Here’s a quick story.

Aussie company, Hismile started as a small self-funded business. Their product represented a market gap – an easy to use, convenient and cheap alternative to teeth whitening.

And they knew their target audience were body-conscious, affluent and young – and that other companies had failed to market to their needs correctly. So they approached micro-influencers who would give away a select number of teeth whitening kits in return for social shout outs.

And it worked. More prominent influencers such as Kylie Jenner soon took notice and got onboard the teeth whitening train. Hismile are now a million-dollar company.

  1. Targeted reach through advertising

Social media is the best way to reach your audience quickly and relatively easily. But as social media grows, so does your chances of reaching people organically. And this is where advertising on social media comes into play, with each major platform offering different options.

Before you decide to spend any money on social media advertising, you must know your audience. It would be a big waste of time and money if you were to use Facebook ads, only to have your audience on Instagram.

Do your research, so you know what will work for you. Look at your organic interaction (who already interacts with you and where) and demographics on platforms.

For example, you’ll find most mums are using Facebook, with kids/teens on TikTok and younger adults tending to be on Instagram. From there, you can create ads suitable for the platform. We won’t run through all your options here (as there are multiple), but please be aware that you can set your budget for your advertising to work with your business needs.

  1. Boost your customer service

Customer service plays a major role in brand loyalty, and social media offers excellent customer service options for your customers. Gone are the days when customer service only existed during business hours. With the world being online 24/7, your customers can now post about your business at any time.

And they will! Think about all the review sites available now. Or even business Facebook pages. You only need to go to a ‘big-brand’ page like Coles, Woolies, Target etc. and see how customers are quick to post complaints.

Visiting a restaurant or hotel – read reviews on TripAdvisor or Google. Want to know about a business – read their online reviews.

The way a business responds goes a long way in building a great customer experience. You need to have procedures in place to handle complaints – with grace and positivity hopefully! And if someone has asked a question on one of your social pages, please respond. Show your audience that you’re available to share your knowledge. To help them decide what product to use and so on.

Remember, the aim of social media is to interact and engage your audience. When they respond or interact, be present.

  1. Easy event promotion

Social media allows you to engage with your audience in creative ways to boost event attendance and build hype around it. Your aim with social media event promotion should be to connect before, during and after the event.

Before the event, you can do a few things to get your audience interested:

  • Post a countdown on Instagram stories, branded to your event
  • Create an event on Facebook
  • Post teasers on your socials, highlighting guest speakers, giveaways and so on (remember to include a call to action)
  • Create a branded hashtag so your audience can find your posts on all platforms
  • Give sneak peeks of what will happen at your event, sharing photos of the venue, the room, the speakers and so on

Then on the day of the event, you can use social media to engage your audience. Ask them to share photos with the branded hashtag. If you’re giving away free items, use socials to say, ‘find me at … to get your free sample’. Share footage of the event with your hashtag. Be creative!

After the event, you can follow up with your audience through your social media channels. Reconnect with them, thank them for attending, answer any remaining questions, and wish them all the best when they return to the ‘real world’. Save your event highlights to your stories and create summaries for people who couldn’t make it or missed out on tickets.

Social media is crucial for all businesses

Social media is my business, and one sure thing is its rise in popularity and usage over the past few years. And it’s not going away, or slowing down anytime soon.

Guaranteed, social media will play an increasingly crucial role in driving sales, providing customer service, and improving brand awareness over the coming years. And with more and more people working online, if you’re not visible on social media, your business may as well be invisible.

Be social. Be seen. Make sales.