If you’re trying to use social media to boost your business and getting nowhere, you’re probably frustrated with all of the “experts” who blather on and on about how vital it is. Don’t give up; you may just need to realign your strategies and stop doing social media the wrong way.

The odds are you’re wasting time and money with your current social media strategy and missing out on tons of potential profits. If you’re ready to turn things around, this post will show you how.

You launch a website, start a page on Facebook, open a Twitter account, and send out notices to everybody in your contact list, even Aunt Bertha. That’s great, and establishing this sort of broad online base for your business seems like common sense.

The problem is that it has nothing to do with generating leads and business.

All too many companies have a social media strategy that looks something like this: We’ve got a website so people can learn about our business and maybe get in touch with us. We have a Twitter account so that customers can reach us. We’re on Facebook so that we can reach out to a wider audience.

The problem with a strategy like this is that it has no goal. Is the company trying to generate leads, conduct market research, or talk to customers? What’s the return on the time and money the company is investing in its social media presence?

Getting Honest About Social Media

A lot of people aren’t prepared to face the reality of how social media works for businesses.

You don’t have to look hard to find examples of giant corporations and international brands that have millions of people following their social media accounts. How useful or interesting is the content they post, though? Are they getting huge amounts of attention because people are genuinely interested in the content itself, or is it the millions of dollars that are getting spent on promoting the company and its products? Social media promotion gets a lot easier when you have a seven-figure budget to play with. That’s way out of reach of 95 percent of the businesses that want to make use of social media, though.

The Sensible Way To Use Social Media

You need to start off with the fundamentals. Have something that you want to say and a voice to say it in. It’s almost incredible how many businesses miss these key points. You need to have a worthwhile message and you need to announce it in a unique voice.

What you want to say doesn’t need to be earth-shaking or completely new. There’s nothing wrong with sending out the message that you want to help your customers with a specific problem, for example. You may just want to share a piece of recent news that your followers are going to find helpful.

If you’re not providing compelling content or giving away something that your audience will appreciate, then there’s no way to get the traffic you want. Ignore this fundamental rule of social media at your peril. Your content needs to provide value to your audience and engage with them. Way too many businesses try to attract attention without offering up anything worthwhile in return.

In the current internet landscape, content is the fuel that drives all sorts of marketing, and that very much includes social media promotion. If you’re stuck on how to generate worthwhile content fast, WP Elevation has an excellent guide to content planning available. You don’t have to be a professional writer to make use of it, either.

Timing And Placement

Another major error committed by a lot of businesses is trying to intrude their social media efforts into the wrong phase of their relationship with their customers. If you intend to provide one-on-one help to your existing customers, don’t tell them to start following your public Facebook page. Set up a private group and invite your customers to it.

Delivering a higher level of content to a private group that’s already in a relationship with your company is a lot like building an email marketing list. Instead of collecting email addresses, though, you’re adding followers to your group.

Social media is a better platform for reaching people who have interacted with your company already than for soliciting new business from strangers. Once you’ve made your efforts more discriminating you can start interacting meaningfully with current customers and prospective leads. Don’t be afraid to engage in back-and-forth communication with customers who are already engaged.

What’s the point of spending all this time in close contact with your customer base? You’re learning about their common concerns. You should use this information as your inspiration to generate new content for your website.

Stop worrying about social media as a source of cold traffic for your website. Get the numbers you’re looking for from other sources and concentrate your social media efforts on giving your followers access to enhanced content.

Paying for ads – both on social media platforms and elsewhere – is a valid way to build traffic. In our experience, it’s more effective to re-market specific content to users after they’ve already had their first encounter with our content. Don’t concentrate on driving up “likes,” focus your efforts on finding solid leads and building a community that’s genuinely engaged with your company.

Remember Human Nature

Don’t let yourself get too distracted with all the technical wizardry on display in the world of social media. This is still a communications tool, something that enables you to converse with other people. Human conversation has been around since before the dawn of recorded history, and the arrival of social media hasn’t upset the fundamental rules of that process.

You’re building a network of people who are interested in what you have to say, appreciate the help you provide, or want to share opinions with you. Once you know you have an attentive audience and you provide them with content they appreciate, you’ll be building both traffic and leads.

Some of our best content ideas come straight from our private group on Facebook. We even have members helping other members without our input. All we need to do is pay attention and keep generating content that will play well with both our existing group members and with brand new audiences.