social media marketingFor many small businesses, developing a cohesive social media strategy can be a daunting challenge. However, a strong social presence is essential for the success of modern businesses, especially those who need to attract potential customers online. The use of various social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, can drastically widen your company’s reach, strengthen its credibility and build brand loyalty among current and potential customers alike.

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The pillars of successful social media outreach are concepts you’re most likely already implementing in other areas of your business. When deciding where to start, there are a few key ways to ensure your social media channels are reaching target customers:

Lead the conversation

Reaching your target audience starts with you guiding the way. Encourage engagement with followers by initiating a discussion about your service or industry. For example, ask your followers a question and incorporate hashtags to monitor and continue the conversation.

When posting, remember that in today’s media, content is king. Strengthen relationships with your audience by sharing current industry updates that they will find of use. Get creative and share helpful tips and information that will keep your target audience coming back for more.

Be engaged

Connecting with target customers doesn’t end once your post is published—it’s also important to listen to how followers react and respond. Monitor audience feedback for trends and insights into which aspects of your content are most successful. Then, craft timely and helpful responses to relevant questions or comments.

By listening to what your target audience is saying and then engaging in the discussion, you will create a loyal online community. Depending on the social media platform, you may also “retweet” or share valuable posts or comments from others to let them know you’re listening and believe what they have to say is important.

Keep in lively

People are active on social media largely for information and/or recreation. Posts that are overly promotional or use lofty language are likely to be ignored. Let your target audience know exactly what your brand represents by having a personable and recognizable “voice” that is consistent across all channels.

It also helps to keep things simple in your focus by delivering clear and concise messages. Above all, always remember that customer service is essential.

By offering valuable social media content, thoughtful responses and genuine engagement, target audiences will rely on your social channels for trusted information and guidance. Use these tips as you work to broaden your brand’s reach in the constantly evolving world of online marketing and social media.

Emily M. is a copywriter with ProPRcopy, a respected firm offering high-quality social media, blog, website and various other types of written content.