You may have openly embraced social media as a business tool or still feel it has no place in achieving your business goals, yet Social Media continues to shape our online experience. If you understand how it can be used to attract the interest of your potential customers and encourage them to take action, it can transform your business success.

Collectively social Media sites are the most visited pages on the internet. Whether for business or pleasure the majority of the population have a profile on at least one social media site. What’s more they are likely to visit this site on at least a weekly basis, with many people logging into LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. on several occasions every day.

With the right content plan and a commitment to engaging in the social media conversation it is possible to engage with many people who may not otherwise know of your brand. It can be a lucrative way to generate new leads and build a collection of supporters, whilst also supporting others with shared values or complimentary services to your own.

Driving Traffic

Beyond providing a buzzing facility in which to engage with others, social media is also proving to be an effective tool for driving traffic to websites. When an individual captures the interest of the audience with their posts, the audience is intrigued and wants to find out more. They click on links to blog pages, to read reviews or the latest case study. They click through to the website to discover new product ranges, to enter a competition or to find out more about services.

According to data produced by Shareaholic Reports, in December 2013 22.71% of all website visits were driven from social media sites. In December 2014 this figure had risen to 31.24%, a year on and the data is yet to be collated, but the trend is increasing. Facebook is the biggest driver of traffic to other websites, although it is understood that it gives preference to posts that link to other Facebook pages.

Targeted Advertising

Social media has also transformed marketing by offering the opportunity to very specifically target a clearly defined audience. Only individuals that are an exact match to the given criteria are shown the adverts, which means that if you really know and understand your ideal customer, social media provides the best chance of reaching them.

As social media profiles can be set up for free and activity on the pages only costs in terms of time, many businesses are still reluctant to allocate a budget to social media activity. For those that do invest in social media advertising, the results can certainly deliver a return on the investment.

Social Media Scheduling

There are tools such as Hootsuite which make it possible to write and schedule posts for your social media sites in advance. This means that once a week, fortnight or month you could set aside a block of time to plan and write relevant, interesting content. Once you are in the flow, it is much easier to prepare a number of posts all around a common theme.

You can then get on with all the other demands of the job, whilst your posts go live as and when you’ve scheduled them to. It then just requires 5-10 minutes per day to respond to other’s posts, to comment in forums or to share other’s posts and you have an active profile that can attract the attention of the people you most want to do business with.

If you would like a business focused summary of social media and how your business could make better use of this resources, a plain English explanation is offered on this free online social media course.