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By Sarah Smith
How many times a day do you check your phone? If you’re anything like the average millennial, you might be checking your social media feeds as often as 150 times per day. If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, this statistic works in your favor. With a little bit of social media savvy and your own smartphone, you can sell more products and reach a wider audience of potential customers.
Long gone are the days of print newspaper advertisements and bulletin board postings. Now, you have the power to build a brand following and recruit loyal customers. According to social media platform Hootsuite, 3.48 billion people around the world use social media. This means that 45 percent of the world’s population is accessing social media and using mobile phones to do so.
Build your social media smarts and sell your brand with these five great tips.
Create social media pages for your business. If you don’t already have company pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, make this your Number 1 priority. You should pick what platforms to sell your brand based on your particular clientele and how you envision your brand. Are you making art-based goods? Consider Etsy and Pinterest accounts. According to Sprout Social, a social media solutions brand, 29% of all web users have Pinterest accounts. This makes it a great way to market your visually pleasing products to an audience that is seeking arts, craft ideas, and photography.
Do you think your customers would be interested in a behind-the-scenes look at what you do? Upload videos to YouTube and Instagram TV. Using these social media platforms, you can also connect with other YLAI network members to boost your reach and profit.
Design and implement your digital brand. Making your pages is just the first step. When deciding what to post, think about what image and values you want your company to promote. This could be as simple as making sure you use fonts and colors from your logo in your posts, and as complicated as thinking about who you’re featuring in your posts. Are you a brand trying to reach adventurous young adults? Any image-based posts should show a wide variety of young adults who look like they’re ready for the outdoors. If a potential customer takes a quick glance at your Instagram, they should be able to tell exactly who you’re marketing to and what your product or service is.
Stay active! Create photo galleries of your products, update your business’s contact information, and make sure to link everything back to your website. Creating content regularly is a good way to remind your audience that your business exists and it’s also a great way to advertise your goods and services.
Promote your brand. Once you recruit a following of loyal customers, use them to further promote your brand. This is where social media influencers and hashtag campaigns come in. You can collaborate with local celebrities or influential accounts on social media to promote your products or services, or a particular campaign. Influencers typically have a large number of dedicated followers and know how to produce high-quality social media content. Getting to know your audience on social media — and who typically uses your products and services — will help you identify potential influencers.
Your influencers help by making your products look good. For example, if you run a small clothing boutique that is geared toward young women, send your influencers free or discounted clothing from your store. Then, they’ll take high-quality photos of themselves, disclose that the received the products for free, tag your company, and advertise to all of their followers. This exposes a wider audience to your brand and can lead people back to your website and social media pages.
Not quite at that level yet? Start with a hashtag campaign. Pick a hashtag that makes sense for your business and start using it when you post. Then, encourage your followers to do the same. Hashtag campaigns help increase the visibility of your brand — a catchy hashtag will stand out, draw attention to your business, and get potential customers talking.
Go behind the scenes. Feeling successful on your social media pages and want to give your clients more of an insider’s perspective? YLAI encourages small business owners and entrepreneurs to create blogs to share the who and why behind what they do. You can use YLAI’s toolkit for entrepreneurs (available in English and Spanish) to get started on your very own blog.
Building your brand on social media allows you to reach a wider audience, better advertise your products, and share your brand’s story with potential customers. You can do all this with the phone in your back pocket — and make a long-lasting difference for your company.
Sarah Smith is a senior majoring in government and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at the College of William & Mary.