With so many posts about the “how to’s” of social media, it is easy to forget the “why’s” of social media. Why should you use social media? Why do we encourage businesses to embrace social media so much?


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The answer, of course, is simple. Social media is that extra fertilizer for the plant; it nourishes your business! But, unlike conventional marketing strategies, social media does not grow your business directly. Think of social media marketing akin to when a campaigning official gives out free cigars to his constituents. The cigars did not secure their votes, but the time it took them to smoke the cigars in a big group, sharing ideas and listening to political babble, certainly did. Social media marketing operates much in the same way—80% of posts should be fun and interesting things, while only 20% should be actual marketing. This is called “inbound marketing.”

Inbound marketing is a sophisticated model, centered on getting customer trust before getting their dollar. This means you must pander to your followers—talk about what they like, and answer their questions politely and colloquially. In time, they will buy from you. But only in time. First, you need exposure. Interact with businesses in your online community, talk to people who post on your page—you can only gain exposure by actively exposing yourself.

Social media is a great marketing tool. But remember, it is a sophisticated one. No one likes “noise.” Build relationships with your customers before you try to make sales, and let social media help your business flourish.

See Social Media Fuze for more on the same subject.