Social media is one of the most powerful and affordable marketing tools at your disposal.

You can set up business accounts on the major social media sites in less than a day and maintain them with minimal tech knowledge. What you need to know is how to successfully market to clients via this highly influential medium. Prepare your posts carefully and you can build your client list quickly and efficiently with this strategy.

Provide Sharable Content

Social media turns your customers into brand ambassadors. It takes just a click or two to share via social media. Post something worthwhile and your viewers will naturally spread the word to potential clients. The most sharable content provokes an intense emotion. There are many ways to do this:

  • Shock – Friends simply won't believe this unless they see it for themselves.
  • Awe – This is so fascinating, you want everyone's opinion on it.
  • Anger – You must get others involved in the debate or cause.
  • Excitement – You can't wait to share the news and get others hyped with you.

Evaluate each piece of content carefully to determine whether it properly invokes one of these emotions or a similarly forceful response. Don't waste time on posts that fall flat. It's far better to share a smaller number of laser-focused pieces than to flood your feed with fluff.

Establish Your Expertise

It's essential for startups to establish their knowledge base in a given field as quickly as possible. Make it clear that your company has some of the top minds in your industry and you will have intrigued clients clamoring to learn more. Social media offers an ideal medium for showcasing your talent. Have your employees post expert articles on trending industry topics to LinkedIn and they'll build their own personal profiles while also promoting your company as a thought leader.

Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote white papers, ebooks, and blogs published by your company. Define your niche and work hard to establish your place in the pecking order as a company that stays a few steps ahead of the next big thing.

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Make a Visual Connection

Sticking to text limits your ability to catch your followers' attention in social media feeds. You have a lot of competition, so it's important to craft posts that will stand out from the stream. Visual elements accomplish this in an instant. Include engaging photos in your posts as often as you can, avoiding stock imagery. Choose pictures that will spark a viewer's interest, getting them intrigued yet leaving a question that needs to be answered.

The right image will make your viewer back up, slow down, and engage with your content to learn more. Videos are a powerful visual tool. Sixty-four percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product after viewing a video on it, and 70 percent of marketing professionals report that video provides better conversion rates than other mediums. To maximize the effectiveness of your videos, be mindful about the freeze frame that followers see when scrolling past.

Connect with Industry Influencers

Social media gives consumers a louder voice than ever before. Some consumers have so much influence over buyers in a particular market that they're known as influencers. A brand influencer is someone who has a solid knowledge base and a lot of followers. Nearly every industry has some, so get to know yours and make an introduction.

Influencers often receive free or discounted products from companies in the hopes that those samples will entice them to spread the word on their popular social media sites. This is naturally a risky proposition, but if you have a quality product or service, you shouldn't have much to fear. The support of an influencer will help you dramatically increase your client list.

Engage With Your Customers

A strong social media presence includes an open exchange of thoughts and opinions. Impress your current clients by engaging with them regularly. This means favoriting, retweeting, and responding to their tweets, liking and commenting on Facebook posts, and openly addressing any questions or concerns shared with you via social media. Satisfied clients are likely to share their experience with others. Even if they don't, social media interactions are public, so your potential clients will get a sneak peek at the kind of attention they can expect when they connect with your company.

Interacting via social media gives you a platform for wooing curious customers directly. Answer a potential client's questions on Facebook or Twitter in a timely manner and you can convert that interested comment into a sale with minimal effort and virtually no expense.

Social media is a marketing tool anyone can harness, effectively turning every active participant into a marketer in his or her own right. Turn your social profiles to your advantage by managing them mindfully and you'll find your client list taking off.