On the twelfth day of Christmas, your true love gives to you: 12 non-obvious (but profitable!) ways to use social media to grow your business.
And being that Christmas is this week, you’ll want to check out these social media gifts ASAP!
12 Unique Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business
Can your small business could use a good shot in the arm (read: more customers, buying more things)?
Of course it can. This post has 12 tried and true… plus a few not-so-obvious… ways to use social media to grow your business.
Before going into the list, let me point out the four key principles to leveraging social media the RIGHT way:
- Be helpful. Rather than going for the jugular to make a sale, go for the heart instead and lend a helping hand. People do business with those they know, like and trust (you’ve heard this before, I know 😉 ), so make sure your content gives rather than asks to receive.
- Make it easily shareable. We talk about ‘going viral’. How are viruses shared in nature? By a series of contact from person to person! Whether you are using video, pictures, text, or some combination thereof, the viral effect can be encouraged if you make your content easy to pass along.
- Include a call to action. Here’s one thing almost everybody knows to do … but still fails to do. Be clear, be direct. ASK your readers/viewers/listeners to pass on the helpful, shareable info. Duh.
- Engage. Finally, social media is just that: SOCIAL. So at the end of every campaign, no matter how automated or broad in scope, you should end up talking, emailing, or private messaging real messages with real people.
You’ll see each of these four elements in the 12 techniques below.
But more importantly, these keys will help you to come up with your own unique ways to leverage social media and boost your bottom line.
Here are 12 ways to use social media to grow your business in 2016 …
Tip #1: Use Tools Properly
Hootsuite, Post Planner, Buffer and more … the list of tools to help you with your social media following is growing like gangbusters.
But let’s not put the cart before the horse.
These tools are only a way to help you with the work; they don’t replace the most important parts of the work you must do to cultivate relationships with your customers and your allies.
To grow your audience (and ultimately get more customers and sales), you have to use social media tools properly.
Automating your posts takes away the tedium and productivity-killing elements out of social media.
But be careful not to use the automation to replace actual “face time”- interacting, LIVE, with your intended customers or your partners in crime (those partners are INFLUENCERS… folks in a similar but not exactly the same market, that become your allies. but more about them later).
True relationships are formed by interest, interaction and interdependence.
Sorry, Charlie. There’s no “easy” button to real relationships.
Use your tools to:
- Alert you when someone mentions you or asks you a question. This will help you respond in a timely manner and further the conversation.
- Search and find folks with shared interests, to form strategic alliances with or to engage further in conversations. This will help you know what problems your audience faces, and help you network with others to help solve those problems.
- Schedule your social media activity when it’s most likely to be seen by those you want to see it. If you have other things to do when it’s “prime time”, your tool will post on your behalf.
- Analyze what is working for you and what isn’t. Most tools will show you the effectiveness in terms of engagement that your posts are getting… and which followers are most helpful to you (and vice versa).
The insights and the time-savings elements of social media tools are indispensable.
BUT (!) never make the mistake of treating the tool as a “black box” that does all the work for you.
Use your tools to start and enhance conversations; that’s what social media marketing is all about.
Tips #2-#6: Unique Ways to Use Facebook
Besides being a copywriter, blogger and information product marketer, I happen to own two small local businesses.
The following tips are actual strategies I’ve used to pull stacks of cash customers, with ZERO investment in advertising.
Got yer attention? 😎 GOOD!
Check out the following, bodaciously effective ways to use social media to grow your business in 2016:
Tip #2: Facebook Page for SEO
Pay attention now, because if you own a local biz and want to forever wean yourself from paid advertising, this is one of the keys I’ve been able to use.
Most people use Google when looking for local businesses — and then click on the businesses that show up on Page 1.
If your business doesn’t show up there, any efforts you’re using — paid or not — are just not up to snuff.
If you can’t get your website to show up on Page 1 — but can get your Facebook page showing on Page 1 — wouldn’t that be just as good?
Yup. Especially if that page has your location, hours, contact info, your Unique Selling Proposition, and a call to action.
Fortunately for savvy small biz owners, you can get on page one of Google fast (and FREE!) by using a small twist.
Facebook pages are FREE to make, and every biz owner looking engage on social media has at least one.
And along with naming a page what your business IS, how about naming it after what your business DOES?!
For example, I own a martial arts studio called The Freedom School of Martial Arts.
Great name, dont’cha think?
The problem is, none of the mommies of 4-12-year-old kids in my area KNOW that the best martial arts studio for their child is called “The Freedom School”.
So along with a local Facebook business page named: https://www.facebook.com/Freedom-School-of-Martial-Arts
I also have one called: https://www.facebook.com/MonumentKidsKarate
By actually NAMING my page the [the local area] +[keyword my customers search], I get scads of exposure for free.
Wish I could take all the credit.
Check out Missy Diaz’s awesome post How I Got My Facebook Page to Page ONE of Google (in 3 Weeks) for the how-to on getting your Facebook local business page to rank in local Google results quickly.
Tip #3: Facebook Groups to Communicate with and Grow Your Client Base
Going forward with the theme from above, The Freedom School has a members-only page with scads of Facebookers that also happen to attend martial arts classes.
We put out messages on the page all the time that have to do with current Students: classes canceled due to inclement weather, Students that nailed it on their last belt test, videos of snippets of instruction so they can study at home.
But every once in a while I’ll release a bit of content meant for PUBLIC consumption.
A holiday special. A Public Service announcement. Or a human interest story.
When I ask the “troops” to share, we’ve been known to get all kinds of measurable results.
Most recently, the local ABC news channel and the biggest newspaper in Colorado Springs covered an event where one of my Students was breaking bricks to raise funds for our village in Uganda.
We promoted this event to our own Students and then we re-posted what ABC and the local newspaper put up as well!
You can also run specials in your Facebook Group page.
This Christmas we expect to offer stacks of uniforms to go under the tree — along with a certificate for a month of lessons — and this costs the school NOTHING. We just upload a pic with the offer and let our current customer base GO.
Think about ways to stay in touch with your customer base and love on ’em with regular posts they’re interested in.
Every once in a while, ask for help “sharing” the love!
Tip #4:Facebook Events — get PAID per lead
Here’s an interesting way to use social media to grow your business, and get PAID to do it!
So, the normal profile of a Freedom School of Martial Arts customer is MOMS, aged 25-49, who have children aged 6-11.
The kids come to our school.
But the moms do the driving, the payment, and the decision-making about what the kids do after school.
So here’s a brilliant piece of awesomeness we stumbled across using Facebook to get PAID per lead.
Check it out: We held a ladies’ self-defense workshop at the studio for $45 per person but made it free for guests.
We uploaded some pictures from a previous workshop (free), wrote a little ad copy promoting the event (also free) and created an Event Page on Facebook (yup, FREE) to use social media to grow our business.
After paying for snacks and water we provided for the event, we had $270 in profits and six new leads.
It seems moms who come to karate class know other moms WITHOUT their kids in karate class.
We got paid to get leads by doing an Event Page, doing a great job at the event of showing the value of martial arts training, and signed up a number of their kids for regular classes.
The self-defense clinic was a one-off thing. It was meant to help ladies concerned about self-defense for themselves.
This sort of event gets a lot of buzz, excitement, and sharing on FB!
It also opened the door for us to get regular martial arts to a pile of kids.
I still am training some of the kids that came to us through this event in April 2013!
By asking the ladies who were interested in the Event Page to ‘like’ and ‘share’, this one event ended up being worth over five thousand dollars in new Student tuition payments over the next two and a half years.
And again, we were paid to get the leads.
Hmm. Not shabby. But wait! There’s more….
Tip #5: Community Groups: Move Over, Craiglist
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Community Groups are the new Craigslist.
In my area, “North Springs Mamas” is a local community serving a geographical area.
Members must be approved by admin, and the whole premise is to create a sales platform — mostly for getting rid of garage-sale type items.
Although I’ve seen CARS and REAL ESTATE get sold on these pages. No joke.
Think about it: would you rather go meet a stranger from a seedy little Craigslist post in a seedy little parking lot to buy concert tix?
Or would you rather look up someone who lives in your neighborhood, and has about 650 friends (some of which are friends of yours as well)?
You get the picture.
Local Community groups are here to stay.
The rules for posting vary from group to group, but my two local businesses have gotten exposure and customers in the thousands of dollars range so far.
I have a service business and a sticks-and-bricks store and they’ve both done extremely well.
On Wednesdays, business owners are invited to post their news and specials.
Learn your group’s rules and see if you can post about your business, or at least about a free service being offered by your business.
It spreads the goodwill around and it costs you zip.
Tip #6: Lookalike Audiences
Okay, so maybe this isn’t so off the beaten track for some of you savvy marketers out there.
But for those few that haven’t heard about “lookalike audiences” yet, here ya go.
EVERY person who joins Facebook has to share their email address with FB. Even if they don’t make it public.
So you upload an email list of your present customers.
Then, you ask Facebook to comb through those emails and find the FB subscribers.
Then, this little microcosm helps you paint a picture of your customer avatar: what YOUR present customer is likely to ‘like’, where they go online, how they spend, et cetera.
You take that “customer profile” and direct Facebook to put your ads in front of others that fit a similar profile.
Imagine, I used to have to wait once a year to do the most important part of my marketing, which was to update my Yellow Pages listing.
Now we can do it on the fly; adjusting as we go and making tweaks to our sales funnels several times a day if we want.
Okay, so I said this would be a list of TWELVE (12) unique ways to use social media to grow your business…
But, hey, look at the time.
Two thousand plus words deep in one post is a lot to ask of ANY super-good-looking blog reader, including YOU.
So I’ll ask you to post your comments; maybe even your experiences with using social media to grow YOUR business in a way that’s off the beaten track, and look forward to a “Part Two” from yours truly.
Come and visit me on Twitter.
If you like what I’ve posted here so far, just wait. I’ve got a passel (is that even a word? hmmmm) of unique ways to promote your small business with social media, whether your business is local OR global.
See you in Part Two.
Latest posts by Kurt Frankenberg (see all)
- 12 Ways to Use Social Media and Grow Your Business - December 23, 2015
Thank you Brooke for the opportunity to share. This blog is one of my faves when it comes to social media. Since learning these unique ways to leverage social media to grow a local business it’s been a bit of a dream to share them with other small business owners. Thanks for the avenue and for lending me your audience. Part two is comin’ up, all sprinkled with awesome sauce!
Thank you so much for such an in-depth post, Kurt! Really looking forward to numero dos. 😉
Love that you make this about people, treating them as intelligent and real. Great article! Thanks Kurt!
Kurt’s “people first” attitude is wonderful, isn’t it Eric?! Thank you for your kind words!
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Bwahahaha KIDDING Eric! Seriously, thank you for taking the time to give your two cents. Yes, technology is best when it’s used to start conversations, not in place of.
These social media strategies have helped me to begin conversations and friendships, some of which just happen to have also resulted in more business to the bottom line. But again, you use social media to build a business to help people, NOT use people through social media to build a business.
That’s the difference we all need to endeavor to make.