Work Smarter Not Harder — 5 Ways to Better Your Business’s Social Media Use

Social media continues to dominate people’s free time and work time, and businesses continue to try and figure out how to monetize it. From small-business owners to Fortune 500 companies, everybody knows it’s important, but how in the world are you supposed to leverage it effectively?

Sell too hard and you risk alienating the very people you’re seeking to reach. Don’t sell at all, and you risk missing out on an amazing — and totally free — marketing platform. What’s an organization to do? Well, don’t lose any more sleep over it. The trick is working smarter at social media, not harder. Here are five ways to do just that so you can better reach your business’s goals.

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1. Post Great Video

When most businesses approach social media posts, they think first about the text they’d like to employ. Taking a multimedia approach, however, is much more effective — especially when it comes to using video. Why? YouTube is the second-most visited search engine in the world behind Google. People — your customers — are looking for video, and many of them find their way to YouTube via a social media post. On average, 68 percent of the people who watch a video will share it. So, ramp up your social media efforts by getting some great videos made for your business that are in line with your overall goals. Then, post those videos across multiple platforms. Whether you provide information, how-to segments, or entertaining content, give your fans and customers a reason to click-through.

2. Make It About Customer Service

One common problem for businesses trying to make the most out of social media is that there’s a disconnect concerning what social media is for when it comes to business. Too often, businesses assume social media is just an advertising platform, but the people who make and use social media sites don’t see them that way. A far more effective way to leverage the power of social media, then, lies in treating it as it was intended: personally, and customer service is ideal for that application. Like it or not, your customers are talking about their purchases and customer service experiences on social media. Why not meet them there? Every time you see a social media mention, be it good or bad, get on the horn and address your customer’s needs as well and as quickly as you can.

3. Get Mobile

As mobile use continues to increase, businesses will need to adapt to make room for it. More and more, social media use and online purchasing happens via mobile devices. Because of this reality, customers who find you via a social media site’s mobile app need to be able to click-through to a site that’s been optimized for their mobile device. Over 1 billion people actively access the Web via smartphones or tablets every single day. Ensure they can seamlessly move between your site, your Facebook page, their Twitter app, and more without ever having to change devices.

4. Choose the Right Platforms

While it can seem like a wise move to try and maintain a social media presence across every platform, doing so is likely to spread you too thin or even hurt your brand. Instead, select the platforms that make the most sense given who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. Choose the platforms that naturally attract your specific customer base. Then, hunker down and produce meaningful and interesting content. It may be that LinkedIn is more valuable to you than Facebook, or that you can forego Instagram entirely. While there is wisdom in having a presence on the largest sites: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., always keep in mind your needs and where your customers are. Then, get social accordingly.

5. Treat Every Like/Pin/Follower Like a Person

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Likes, pins, and shares are not just numbers to toss around at the next marketing meeting. Each one has a real, individual person behind it, who has made a real choice about your brand. Avoid the trap of thinking about social media as a place where you’re chasing mass statistics. At its best, social media is super-personal, and, as a business, you will succeed best by always remembering that. In posting, responding to complaints, giving shout-outs, and running giveaways, always remember that it’s people who are the engines of social media — not money and not sales.

Become a business that wins at social media by following these five tips.