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11 ways to grow your business with social media

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Social media can build brand awareness, attract customers and make money if used properly, writes expert Mel Kettle*

Here are my top ways to use social media to grow your business:

1 Have a presence

Now this may sound obvious, but there are a lot of businesses with social media accounts that lie dormant. There are even more businesses with zero social media presence. Your customers expect you to be there and you need to be there consistently. No one expects you to be there 24/7, but if you want to keep regular “hours” on social media, then mention that in your profile so you manage expectations.

2 Have a plan

If you have a social media strategy that dovetails into your marketing strategy and business plan, it will make it a lot easier to know what to say on social media. Think about creating a content plan that outlines your key messages, where you will share them, when you will share them and who is responsible.

3 Engage your audience

The first thing you should do before posting is ask yourself “Would I like, share or comment on this post?” You want to create engaging, shareable and visual content. Social media posts that lack creativity are like a meal that hasn’t been seasoned properly – a bit bland and boring.

As we now have an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish, the challenge is to grab your audience’s attention, and quickly! Three ways you can do this are to tell a story, use visuals and use video. It’s a bonus if you can make people feel something (such as happiness, empathy, joy, sadness), as when people feel an emotion they are more inclined to like, comment on or share your post.

4 Include images in your posts

Most people are visual learners – which means if you use a picture to accompany the words, most people are more likely to recall what you are trying to say. Don’t just limit your pictures to stock photos – take your own photos, and use infographics, drawings and cartoons. Using your own images will help you create original and unique content.

TIP: Use your own photos, and when you take photos see if you can leave some space that can be used for a text overlay.

Also, Facebook posts with images receive 40x more likes and shares than posts without, and tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without.

5 Use video in your posts

Video is another great way to get your message across. Did you know most people would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it?

Live video also needs to be considered. Video Marketing Expert Joel Comm says “Live video is the most significant leap in social media since the creation of the iPhone”. And I have to say, I agree. You can create live video via Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The Facebook algorithm currently favours posts using Facebook Live (and to a lesser extent pre-recorded video), and pushes them to the top of the feed. This is particularly important given most organic Facebook posts are seen by only 2% of people who like your page.

6 Tell stories

Storytelling can make you look smart, funny, insightful and knowledgeable. Use stories to support your brand. Share stories about yourself, your customers, your staff, your products. Of course, if you’re sharing a story that’s not yours, make sure you get permission first. A couple of great resources for budding storytellers are Gabrielle Dolan’s books and Valerie Khoo’s book Power Stories.

7 Be authentic

You mantra needs to be people do business with people they know, like and trust, and an excellent way to build trust is to be authentic.

Yes, being authentic can be risky! But it’s a great way to build trust. Ways that pharmacies can demonstrate authenticity include:

Do what you promise: Listen to your customers and be responsive – don’t just try and sell them stuff. Engage with them on social media, encourage them to converse with you, acknowledge and act on criticisms – even if it’s just a simple “thank you for your feedback”.

If you make a mistake, OWN IT. Think about the brand damage caused to Lorna Jane over the fit-model/receptionist ads. They didn’t apologise, they tried to explain themselves, and dug themselves an even deeper hole to climb out of.

Don’t use industry jargon – use language your audience understands.

As Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”.

9 Be responsive to mobile

People look at their mobile phones more than 1500 times a week, or 177 minutes a day, so have a play with your social posts to see how they stand out on a small screen.

Look at what types of images work – what colours stand out? What fonts stand out? Is your website optimised for mobile?

10 Give VALUE

Stay relevant – know what your customers problems are and help them solve them. Other ways to make your customers feel valued (both on social media and in store) include:

  • acknowledge their presence;
  • remember something about them;
  • do something unexpected;
  • respond quickly on social media; and
  • respect their time.

10 Ask your customers for feedback

People inherently like to feel needed, so ask them for feedback. Don’t take negative feedback as a personal criticism, but instead look at it as a learning experience and a way to improve how you operate your business. Ask:

  • How can we improve your experience here?
  • How could we improve our service?
  • What products don’t we sell that you want?

11 Have conversations

You need to create a customer experience that leaves your customers wanting to come back. It’s about knowing who your customers are and prioritizing them above all else. Customer loyalty is about seeing your customers as people, not users.

When your customers talk to you, answer them. 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. Think about how frustrated you feel when no one returns your phone call, or your email. Social media is the same. If you have an account, people expect a response. Actually, people expect a response even if you don’t have an account.

Finally, remember that social media wasn’t designed as a sales tool, it was designed for conversation and customer service: use it that way.

Mel Kettle is a communication and social media expert, speaker, author, trainer and mentor. For more go to

This article first appeared in the May issue of Post Script.


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