Social media can help build your business.
From choosing the best platforms to engaging with followers, using social media for marketing is very effective for businesses today. — Getty Images/MStudioImages

With the ever-growing variety of social platforms, it can be daunting to even consider keeping up with all of it. But because of the many benefits such as the opportunity to grow your business, it behooves you to actively participate. So, how do you do this in a time- and cost-effective manner?

Here are five ways to promote your business while keeping your sanity:

Choose the best platform(s)

There is a long list of places to promote your business in the social realm. But you likely don’t have the time or money to be everywhere at once. What’s more, each platform has a unique personality that dictates the tone, the audience and the type of content shared. Rather than keeping up with all social media, identify two to three platforms where your customers and potential customers spend time. Then focus your social media efforts there.

[Read: Don’t Spread Yourself Thin on Social Media: Here’s What to Do Instead]

Maintain your identity

Keep your messaging true to your brand. While it’s necessary to understand the personality and tone of each social platform, it’s equally important to understand — and represent — the personality and tone of your business. After all, that’s what you’re promoting. As you adjust the type of content you share based on the platform, be sure you’re consistent in what your brand stands for. Are you hip and trending, trustworthy and traditional, affordable yet creative? This gives your customers and potential customers a sense of what to expect from you and your product. This way, when they click through to your website or stop into your store, the experience feels familiar and creates a sense of a connection.

To get the most out of your time and your social marketing, you may want to employ technology to support your efforts.

Engage with followers

“Build it and they will come” is only half the battle. If you create a social identity but do nothing to maintain it and engage consumers, you may actually damage your brand. Customers who are active on social media don’t want to follow a stagnant page. To be successful, consistently post interesting and relevant content that motivates people to like your page, follow your business and share your posts.

It would be ideal to establish a habit of spending a bit of time on this daily. This is because social media is about relationships, not transactions. If you want followers, be one. Find some brands, organizations and individuals that align well with your business and follow them. Comment on their posts or share them. Join in on conversations (but be sure to represent your brand, not your personal stance) and also thank those who follow you. This takes time and effort, so this is another good reason to limit the number of platforms on which you participate.

Identify influencers

Influencer marketing can be a powerful way to promote your business. The idea is to get your brand promoted by someone with a large following that tends to listen to their opinions. It starts with identifying the influencers in your field as well as seeing if you already have some organic advocating taking place among your customers and social media followers. Then you’ll consider what you want shared about your company and if you can recruit some advocates to do this simply because they love your brand or if it will be more beneficial to pay a fee to an effective influencer.

[Read: 5 Easy Ways to Find Influencers to Promote Your Business]

Get the help you need

To get the most out of your time and your social marketing, you may want to employ technology to support your efforts. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to schedule batches of content to deploy on a variety of platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. If you want to create content for platforms where visuals dominate, you can leverage video creation tools like Animoto and Vyond. For social monitoring, which is necessary to assess the success of your online efforts, you may find that Buzzsumo or HashAtIt provide helpful data.

[Read: 6 Tools to Help You Manage Your Business’s Social Media]

Bonus tip: Use your social media efforts to build your database of customers and potential customers so you can continue building those relationships. Direct followers to join your email list and receive updates and offers, which you can enable through email newsletter software like MailChimp and Constant Contact.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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