The number of social media users is rising at an astonishing rate and is expected to reach 2.62 billion by the end of 2018. Given this fact, it’s not surprising that social media marketing has become one of the most significant aspects of every business’ digital marketing strategy.

Now, the majority of your competitors are already using social networks to promote themselves. Studies show that 71% of SMBs are planning on using social media marketing to attract new customers, while 38% of them will invest more in these practices in 2018.

So, to stay competitive, you need to use social media marketing actively and strategically.

Here is how to do so.

Work with Influencers

People don’t love branded content. It’s self-serving, overly promotional and, not engaging enough.

So, instead of promoting your products on your own, let someone else do it. For example, you could reach out to someone your target audience trusts, someone really famous.

And, this is where influencer marketing steps in.

Namely, some recent reports tell us that 49% of Twitter users search for reviews from influencers when making buying decisions. Furthermore, 40% of them were inspired by an influencer to buy a certain product.

Today, social media influencers are true celebrities. They invest years in building a recognizable personal brand and an extensive community of followers. By getting them to create content around your product and promote it, you will reach out to a much wider group of people and boost their awareness of your brand.

Offer Incentives

Statistics tell us that an average consumer participates in at least 14 different rewards programs.

However, this is not something only your customers benefit from.

On the contrary, implementing a loyalty program into your social media strategy is a two-way street. Your customers get incentivized for their loyalty, while you get a chance to engage them with your brand, boost their experience and, above all, inspire them to come back.

You should reward your customers regularly, for making purchases on your site, sharing your content, making referrals, or even providing feedback. Still, you need to make sure that the rewards you choose are relevant to them.

They can be as simple as giving out a visa gift card, providing free access to your exclusive content, or offering massive discounts to anyone who signs up for your VIP program. You could also spice things up with a contest, where your users will have to unleash their creativity to win a premium product.

Share User-Generated Content

Who would you trust more- a salesperson or a user who has already tried the product out? The latter one, I suppose. Well, the same goes for the majority of your customers.

Simply put, you’re not the one selling your products. Your customers are.

Still, this shouldn’t worry you because there is a way to turn this to your advantage and that’s sharing user-generated content (UGC). UGC is the basis of your social media strategy- by collecting and sharing content made by your customers, you will shape people’s perceptions of your brand and engage them more effectively.

To make the most of this practice, you need to implement it smart. First, invite your customers to share UGS, not only via social networks, but also through other channels. Second, make sharing UGC as simple as possible by offering dedicated hashtags. You could even automate this process by using tools like Hashtagify to research hashtags or Engage Hub to gather reviews, ratings, images, and your consumer stories.

Listen to your Customers

To know how well you do online, you need to know what your target audience thinks of you.

Start with keeping track of their discussions on social networks. Namely, there is a plethora of powerful social media monitoring tools that will let you know whenever your brand or product is mentioned on social networks. This will not only help you tailor your marketing efforts to their expectations, but also let you participate actively in their conversations and provide them with valuable, real-time tips.


Promoting your business on social networks isn’t about opening a bunch of random accounts and sharing mountains of irrelevant content to the people who aren’t even interested in buying from you. It requires lots of research and planning.

Remember, you can never bore your customers into buying from you. The only thing you can do is inspire them to do so.

Lauren Wiseman is marketing specialist, contributor to and entrepreneur. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in the fast-changing and demanding market, strongly believing in a holistic approach to business.

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