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Using Social Media to Grow Your Business
November 24, 2014

Social media offer businesses a variety of tools to inform existing customers, connect with new ones, raise awareness about products and services and reach new customers and markets.

Woman posing beside rack of dresses (AP Images)
Monif Clarke uses a social media strategy to promote sales for her specialty women’s clothing company in New York City.

Credit: AP Images

You may have built a website to create an online presence for your business and serve as a platform for sales. It’s like a reference book for your business, but a social media presence should be more like a conversation with customers.

Using both forms of online communication strategically can increase your sales and customer base.

Here are a few tips on using social media sites to promote your business:

Be Brief

Social media content must be short. Strive to be concise, and do not try to say everything at once.

Schedule your posts over the course of a day or week, focusing on one key message per post. Customers are more likely to read and remember short, focused messages rather than long, rambling ones.

Be Fresh

Stand out from the continuous stream of social media content by posting timely, eye-catching content. Use images and videos whenever possible, and be sure to post frequently. Staying fresh in the minds of your followers will increase the chances they will choose your products or services.

Be Personal

Social media can give your business a personal voice. Welcome new followers with a casual and friendly tone. Offer exclusive online promotions to these customers.

Be Interactive

Keep your followers engaged by posting articles, links and other content they will find interesting.

Encourage interaction by asking questions and running contests. If you own a restaurant, for instance, ask your followers to name a new menu item. If you sell kitchen equipment, ask people to post their favorite recipes.

Be Responsive

Listen to what customers are saying, so they’ll know they’re in a conversation. Ask for feedback. Reply to messages and comments. Acknowledge criticism and take steps to address complaints and suggestions.

Be Purposeful

Do your research. Familiarize yourself with the rules of each social media platform and select one that allows you to address customers in a way that’s appropriate for you.
Identify the social networks that are most popular with your target customers. Look for a network that gives you access to a population you had not considered before. Invest your time in those that offer the best opportunities for growth.

This article is adapted and condensed from a longer version available on the State Department’s public diplomacy website.

During the month of November, the YALI Network will focus on the topic of entrepreneurship, in recognition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to held in Morocco November 19–21.