[HINT: The answer is YES!]

Is your target audience influenced by social media? Will social media really get them to open their pocketbooks? The answer may surprise you. Digital interactions influence 36 cents of every dollar spent in the retail store, or approximately $1.1 trillion total according to So even if you’re not selling your product online, you could be missing out on 36 percent of revenue if you don’t engage your customers using social media.

Think your audience is older and not using social media? Think again. Here’s another startling statistic: “Adults 50 years old and above represent the web’s largest constituency, comprising one-third of the total 195.3 million Internet users in the U.S.” So if you think your target demographic is too old for social media, think again.

There are tons of statistics on how much revenue has been generated through social media. But the truth is you will never know what social media can do for your business until you try (and once you do, consider investing in marketing automation software to make managing social easier and to more effectively track the ROI of your social campaigns).

Doing social media right takes consistency, insight, patience and above all, time! That’s why a lot of businesses create a social media calendar to promote their content, organized by date and time. This may help shape your editorial strategy and show what themes you might be missing.

It’s a big job that can overwhelm at times. And you’re sure to have questions. Read on for the answers to three of the most common questions business owners ask about social media and let’s get posting.

Where To Post?

Twitter and Pinterest and Tumblr, oh my!

There are dozens of social media sites out there. Which ones are right for you? The most popular social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. But remember, just because a social media platform is popular, doesn’t mean it’s worth the time and energy. When it comes to picking social media networks, quality trumps quantity across the board.

Take Google+ for example. It still ranks as a top social network based on the number of users but very few of those users are active and therefore putting the effort into maintaining a presence probably doesn’t make sense.

Many businesses choose social media outlets based on demographics. For instance, the majority of users on Instagram (70 percent) are female between the ages of 18-35. So if young women are your target market, it might be time to get on Instagram. If not, joining Instagram is likely not worth the time investment.

Another valuable tool in deciding which social media networks to utilize comes from your competition. What social media sites is your competition using? How about your strategic partners? What social media sites are they having success with? These are platforms that will probably be worth your time.

What To Post?

Content is king! No matter what social media platforms you choose, if your content is boring or irrelevant or just not attention grabbing, it will get lost in the shuffle. If every post is a sales pitch, your customers will get turned off.

The secret to content is making it relevant to the customer and their lives, not just to your business. A great example of this is LifeLocks’s Facebook page. It offers specific advice for protecting your identity while on summer vacation or getting married. Not only are these posts a useful resource for customers, they are timely and based on specific events, making them even more relevant and effective.

When To Post?

Look for a recently published, comprehensive list like this one from The Huffington Post for specific times and days of the week that see the most traffic on specific sites. Schedule your posts through a site like Hootsuite or – better yet – use a marketing automation software platform like HubSpot – to make sure you never miss peak viewing hours.

But don’t forget, these are just guidelines. Play with different types of posts at different times to get to know your audience and give them more of what they want from you.

The Bottom Line

Gone are the days when businesses could thrive without a social presence. Today, consumers young and old are active social media users and if you aren’t using that as an opportunity to stay top of mind, you are missing out. The key is to do it right – and that means spending your valuable time where you’ll get the biggest impact – NOT just posting willy nilly to every platform out there. Look at the demographics, get to know your audience, and invest some time in developing a presence one or two social sites. Once you’re comfortable and you’ve got it down, then you can expand to others if it makes sense.