How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business


With social distancing still strongly recommended in many places, in-person networking and lead generation events are put off indefinitely. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of virtual platforms to continue growing your business.

For many people, increased downtime during the pandemic-driven shutdown resulted in increased time spent on social media. In fact, between March and May, up to 51 percent of Americans reported spending more time on social media. That’s great news for businesses who are pivoting to social media to gain more exposure.

Here’s how to leverage social media to build credibility and drive interest in your growing business.

Identify Your Target Audience

The first step to leveraging social media is to identify your target audience — and the social channels where you’re most likely to reach them. “The first question you have to ask is, ‘Who is your audience?'” says Chris Cummings, founder and CEO at Pass It Down, a digital exhibit builder with an office in Baton Rouge. The audience for Pass It Down, for example, primarily consists of curators at museums or cultural heritage institutions.

Once you know who your audience is, identify the best social channels for that audience. If your clients are other businesses, then LinkedIn is generally the best option, advises Jake Jorgovan, serial entrepreneur and founder of Content Allies. Cummings’ experience promoting Pass It Down bears this out: “It’s easier to speak directly to leaders at the executive level through LinkedIn than other platforms.”

You’ll find that groups on each social media platform, such as LinkedIn Groups, are often the best for getting exposure to your target audience. Cummings locates groups dedicated to his target audience across platforms, from LinkedIn to Reddit. The ability to meet people where they are is one of the advantages social media offers.

Build Credibility First

Once you’ve identified your target audience and channels, it’s time to begin building credibility through content — starting with who you are. “Optimize your personal profile first,” Jorgovan says. “Your personal LinkedIn profile is one of your biggest assets for B2B social media.” In the B2B space, company pages are less critical to prospects than your personal page, revealing much more about who they may be working with in the future.

When reaching out on LinkedIn, never use a boilerplate email, Cummings recommends. “The most important thing to focus on is speaking authentically,” he says. “Make sure you’re speaking with a credible voice.” Take a few minutes to learn about who you’re reaching out to and explain why you’re contacting them. Before sending a message to a museum curator, for example, Cummings explores their current exhibits and initiatives, then suggests ways they could collaborate.

Prioritize Value Over Sales

Focus on sharing engaging content that drives engagement and provides value. If every post sounds like a pitch, you’ve probably already lost your audience’s interest. “We want to make sure that our messages never come across as ‘salesy,'” Cummings says of Pass It Down’s social posts. “Focus on contributing real content that makes an impact.” For Pass It Down, for example, this could be content that highlights a cultural heritage institution.

Generate your own content frequently, but don’t hesitate to leverage other voices, too. “One of our biggest lead generation tools has been PR,” Cummings says. “Let your clients speak for you.” Invite clients to share their stories of working with you on social media. And when they post positive things about you on their personal channels, share and amplify their words. This conveys your value proposition in much stronger terms than you could by pitching yourself.

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