Social Media: 3 ways to leverage it the right way

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There is no denying that social media is a powerful tool to generate leads, build brands and grow businesses. There's also no denying that every 'expert' has their own view on what success looks like or how best to leverage the power of social media.

Jacqueline Raw, Owner and Founder of Ycagel says, “Let's get real, most of the time these views are polarising at best. It's only natural to get overwhelmed in the face of all the conflicting information. The truth is that there isn't one single way to best use social media, the trick is to define your objectives and understand what you're trying to achieve through social and then measuring and pivoting according to your results.”

She offers the following 3 tips to leverage social media properly:

Lead Generation:

When it comes to generating leads on Facebook (for example) the time of boosting posts or relying on organic traffic and interest has come to an end. With the changes in Facebook algorithms, boosted posts are positioned in front of audiences with a propensity to like – not necessarily an audience poised to invest in your product or services.

Furthermore, most social media platforms have powerful engines that sit behind them that allow you to optimise your lead generation activities according to the platform's innate characteristics and consumer usage. The Facebook Ads Manager and Business Manager platforms are equipped with sophisticated audience targeting and tracking tools that will ensure you reach the right audience and can track your ROI effectively. YouTube also has its Creator Studio where you can leverage tools to create amazing content, understand how to optimise that content and then monetize accordingly.

The reality is, no matter which social platform you use for lead generation, you cannot quantify your success unless you can track and measure your results – and ego metrics such as likes and follows do not translate into quality leads generated.

Brand Development:

In terms of brand building, social media is key. But, this is where many businesses are getting it wrong. If you're leveraging social media to build a loyal, engaged audience, hard-selling with every post is a surefire way to sabotage your efforts.

Brand building and establishing your brand as an influencer or authority takes engagement. This means that you understand what your target audience is interested in and then use it to start a conversation with them. Simply posting pretty “window dressed” images with catchy captions, does not equal engagement. Engagement is about conversation and about leveraging relevant social media communities to drive conversations around what your audience is interested in, offer value in terms of insights and over time, position your business as a solution. This is the secret sauce in social media success when it comes to brand building. It does mean total dedication and committing a fair (read massive) amount of time and energy into really getting up close and personal with your audiences but the rewards – in due course – will blow you away.

Influencer/Thought Leader:

You have to work your butt off on social media to make an impact. Being inconsistent and generic is not going to get you the engagement you're looking for and when it comes to measuring brand success on social platforms, engagement is where it's at. Many entrepreneurs and businesses think that brand building is a nice-to-have but the reality is that if you're leveraging social to make connections and expand possible business relationships, you simply can't overlook the power of business-to-business platforms like LinkedIn or Medium.

“In the end, it all comes down to what success looks like for you. From lead generation, creating audiences, brand building and creating circles of influence, each objective does have effective and ineffective strategies in achieving your goals. Define what success looks like for your business upfront, research the power of each of the various platforms and communities and then decide how best to approach them and how to tie them all together. Once you've selected the right platforms for your business and have bedded down your strategy for each, have fun with it and you'll see the results!” Jacqui concludes.

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