How and why to use social media to help grow your business

1. Own your brand’s social presence: If you don’t create official channels online, it may only be a matter of time before your customers do it for you and create their own profiles and communities around your brand. It’s important to claim your brand name across all the major social media platforms. Here are two sites that will help you do this:

2. Look like you “get it”: Your target audience is more shrewd about leveraging social media sites as an integral part of their daily lives. If you want to appear relevant and in-step with the latest advances in technology, your potential customers will want to see you on these sites as well. If you don’t have a presence, you appear as if you’re not very savvy.

3. Brand recognition: You need to go where your customers are, and they are increasingly spending a great deal of time on social networking sites. Using social media enables your company to reach a huge number of potential customers. Getting your name out there is incredibly important — studies suggest that people need to hear a company’s name at least seven times before they trust and respect it enough to become a customer.

4. Take your message directly to consumers: Social media tools enable you to directly engage consumers in conversation. Be sure to build trust by adding value to the community consistently over time.

5.  Generate site traffic: You can create additional traffic if you regularly post updates on social networks that link back to your Web site. Social media bookmarking tools like Digg,  and Stumbleupon can also generate additional traffic to your site if you create frequent articles and blog posts.

6. Find new customers through your SM  friends: You shouldn’t neglect your personal social media accounts as potential avenues to promote the activities of your business. Posting regular updates relating to your business and activities can remind your friends about what your company does and influence them to use your services or make referrals.

7. Find new customers through your company profile: Your company profile is a great opportunity for you to post regular updates on your activities and about important news and trends in your industry. This will attract the attention of new customers interested in your industry and increase your reputation as an expert in your field. It’s important to post regularly if you want to increase your followers or fans and convert them to potential leads.

8. Niche marketing: Social media enables you to reach very specific subsets of people based on their personal preferences and interests. You can create unique social media profiles to target these audiences or create strategies based on addressing individual interests.

What would you add to the list?

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