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The internet and social media have dramatically changed how everyone communicates and relates to each other. Since so many people love to connect with the community, social media is a great place for businesses to create their own connections as well. 

Social media as a digital marketing tool has been used by businesses for years. Over 90% of marketing professionals and business owners say that social media is critical for growing their business, creating advertising campaigns, improving traffic to their site, and increasing sales.

While you might feel intimidated as a small business competing with huge companies that are already established, there are actually some ways in which people connect better with you than with corporate giants. Use your unique personality and personalized touch to connect with people online, and you’ll see your influence grow far beyond your local sphere. 

To learn more about some other ways to leverage social media to help your small business, read on here for the top tips.

1. Create Accounts

The most popular social media platforms are constantly shifting and changing. First, MySpace used to be the biggest and best one, but then Facebook burst onto the scene. These days, the newest social media platforms are constantly battling for dominance which means you need an account on each platform to reach all your users.

Many countries also have their own social media platforms that aren’t used in the United States, so you’ll have to target your audience there too if you’re a frequent seller overseas. While Japan has Mixi and South Korea has Cyworld, Russia has Vkontakte and Europe has Netlog. Explore your options depending on which countries make up a majority of your sales.

2. Connect with Influencers

Everyone wants to be that rich and famous person they see on TV, and social media has created an opportunity for the unknown to imitate the rich and powerful. Connect with the influencers most relevant to your product and discuss collaborations to grow your own following. Be aware that this is a type of advertising, so you will be expected to pay your influencers in money and sometimes product.

Don’t just look to the obvious social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, for influencers. You can have a lot of success with Youtubers who share your products too!

3. Start Advertising

With over 2 billion people on Facebook and about a billion more on Instagram, the statistics show you have access to a captive audience that is ready to see your products. Use some of your marketing budgets to create targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram to introduce new customers to your products and services, advertise sales and special offers, and connect to people around the world whenever they’re online.

Even if you don’t want to actively create ads, your own account on Instagram especially can drive engagement and traffic just by adding the appropriate hashtags to your post. Did you know that hashtags on your post drives 12% more traffic to your profile? Make your hashtags as relevant as possible and highlight all the unique elements of your small business to ensure you stand out.

4. Focus on Relevance

One aspect of writing relevant, engaging content is mentioning holidays, celebrations, and events that everyone is interested in. Scheduling posts about holiday specials and community days are a go-to for many sales and special offers.

Keeping up with what’s going on in the world is also an important element of your digital persona. You don’t want to create tone deaf advertisements and posts. You also want to make sure that you understand, commiserate and celebrate with your community about what’s important to them.

5. Avoid Clickbait

Clickbait used to be a powerful tool that would draw in social media users with unbelievable headlines they couldn’t help but click. The resulting site or article was often misleading or disappointing. Most people are now familiar with the clickbait tactic and actively avoid any headlines that sound remotely like them. Avoid this type of hype unless you have something that actually delivers on the promise in the title.

6. Link to Your Site

Many small businesses forget that their social media platforms should act as a funnel to their website. They only ever have one link to their site on their profile home page and often don’t put it in their newest posts. While you can place links to new landing pages and thank you pages in your Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter posts, it can be a little more complicated for Instagram. Instead of allowing links on posts, you can create a hub on your profile that links to different service pages and blogs on your site. You can also link them in Stories and encourage people to swipe up to visit a specific page.

7. Reward Followers

Your followers want to see unique content and a personal touch. Reward them by sharing the quirks of your business and giving them exclusive offers whenever you can. Create competitions and giveaways to increase engagement and make sure that prize is really worth it. You’ll gain new followers and prizewinners won’t be able to stop talking about how great your business is!

Ready to get started? Try all these tips today and watch your small business grow.

Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She often covers developments in HR, business communication and small business development, recruiting, real estate and finance, but also enjoys writing about travel, interiors and events.

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