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Social media is everywhere. Everyone’s doing it, and if you are serious about growing your business, you should be too.

Figures show that there are more than 1.3 billion visits to Facebook each month in the UK and more than a third of internet users are using social media to follow their favourite brands online.

Almost a third of internet users use social media to research products, so whatever your line of business, there really is a potential market just waiting on Twitter and Facebook to be mined by you.

As well as providing the basic information about your business, such as open times and contact details, having a presence on Facebook and a Twitter feed gives you increased exposure to these potential clients.

But there are a few basic “rules” you need to follow to get the most from it.


Basic social media rules

The key to social media success is building relationships with customers and potential customers. And you will almost certainly not make many friends by simply blaring out sales messages.

You need to develop a social media personality which reflects your business and post “good value” content that people feel inclined to share.

The golden rule appears to be that what you put on Facebook and Twitter (and I’m using those two as they are considered the main social media sites) should be 80 per cent for your audience and only 20 per cent about your business.

For example, you may consider adding “behind the scenes” shots of yourself and your colleagues at work, share a day in the life story, or even just share a motivational or inspiring quote you think your followers would appreciate.


Ask for feedback – but be prepared

How about asking a “fill in the blank” question relevant to your business, eg If I had £100 to spend at your shop, I would buy……”.?

Another good one is to ask for feedback from your followers. You may be considering adding a product or service – ask them what they think. Ask them what they would like to see you offer.

Ask them to let you know about what they have bought from you and comment on the service. Collect reviews and testimonials.

This helps your business stay relevant and in touch with your customers, but be prepared for what you get back.  You can’t please everyone all of the time, but even negative comments can be turned into big positives for your business if your social media customer service is up to scratch.

Another option is to tease a competition or giveaway  on social media. Link your posts to your website, where participants need to fill in a simple form to enter. This way you are driving traffic to your website, where they can find out more about you and you can collect email addresses and start building a mailing list for your marketing material.

Be active and responsive

The key is to engage with your followers, be active and responsive. Be involved in conversations, become “friends” with your followers – they are all potential customers

In this way, more people become familiar with your name and brand. This builds brand loyalty and even if they are not buying now, you will be the first business they think of when they are in the market for what you offer.