Using social media to promote your website or blog is a great idea—but there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. The wrong way tries to turn your entire social media audience into website readers. The right way grows your social media audience separately but regularly gets interested followers and fans to visit your site. You must get the social media promotion spot on if you want to use social to grow your business.
Using Social Media Like A Tool
Too many site owners start using social media as just another tool to promote their website. You know the type—all they do is announce fresh posts. They don’t try to build a following; they don’t interact with their fans; they just tell you what they want you to know. (I am even guilty of this)
This is the wrong approach for social media. People who want to read your latest post can already subscribe to your feed. They don’t need to hear about your every update using social media.
How You Should Be Using Social Media
There are some crazy myths about social media, but the most obvious rule for successfully using social media is to be social and that is not always simple when you are building a business. Talk to your followers and fans—don’t just broadcast to them. Don’t obsess over your site, but don’t forget to point people to it when you have content relevant to the current conversation.
If you post on your website frequently, don’t mention every fresh post in social media. Instead, only promote your very best posts. If you can’t tell the difference between your good posts and mediocre posts—wait a few hours after posting to read the comments before you promote posts on social media.
Recommended for YouWebcast: The Art of Growth Hacking: Gaining Early Traction by Doing Things that Don't Scale
The best thing you can do on social media is train people to click your links. How do you train people? You tempt and reward them.
First you tempt them by telling them about the link you want them to click. Then, when they click the link, you reward them with something they’ll enjoy.
To make this work on social media, link only to the very best content on the Web. Each time someone clicks one of your links and enjoys the content they get, they’ll be more inclined to automatically click the next link you send.
In short, if you only link to great content, people will almost always click your links.
Now do you want to know why social media grows businesses?
There are three reasons: attention, research, and validation. Let’s look at each reason individually.
Why Social Media Attention Grows Businesses
The simplest reason why social media grows your businesses is because it helps customers notice your business. Offline businesses live by the mantra “location, location, location”, but online businesses have no way to automatically put themselves in front of customers.
A social media campaign will get your brand out in front of customers. They’ll see you tweeting or posting stories to your Facebook page. They’ll get to interact with you and start to think about you and your products or services.
Any advertising will do that, but social media can help you grow faster because social media done right is cheaper than traditional advertising and it can enter your customers conversation at the perfect moment to get them to act. That does not mean you should spend all your promotion time on sites like Twitter and Facebook as you must also consider your social media ROI (return on investment).
Why Social Media Research Grows Businesses
All the conversations which occur now on social media used to occur offline. They’re the same conversations but with one important difference—now you can listen in on them. If you’re a small business without a budget for market research, listening in on social media conversations is your best research tool.
Whenever someone mentions your brand on social media, you can see what they’re saying, whether it be good or bad. The same is true when they mention your competitors or markets you want to enter.
You can collect all of the information you need to build better products and create a great customer experience on social media—and you don’t have to pay a dime to do it. That’s why social media is a critical part of the 21st century business.
Why Social Media Validation Grows Businesses
Trying to convince somebody who’s never heard about your business to buy your products or services is hard. But nothing could be easier than selling something to someone who just heard their friend rave about how great you are.
Social media makes it easy for people to recommend brands they like to their friends and for you to jump in on the conversation at the exact moment when they’re most ready to buy.
Even more important, social media lets you demonstrate your customer service in public. If someone is disappointed with you, social media lets you “turn their frown upside down” in front of all of their friends. Satisfying a grievance in public is a great way to demonstatably guarantee your products. See how to handle negative comments about you and your business.
Best of all, the validation you receive on social media can go viral. If you get a testimonial from the friend of a famous person and the famous person retweets that testimonial, you can go from an obscure small business to making thousands of sales in a day. You shouldn’t count on this sort of big break, but you certainly have a greater chance of it happening on social media than through offline advertising.
But even without a big break, there’s no reason why social media should be ignored by any small business.
Separate your social media audience from your blog or business website. Use the social aspects to grow that audience and make them like you. Then every once in a while link to something great on your blog. The people in your social media audience who like you will take those opportunities to become blog subscribers so your grow your business using social media.
Image credit: Lets Build Websites