5 Unique Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Business

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Social media has become a hot topic in the online world today. From Facebook to Twitter, to YouTube and podcasts, loads of people are making use of this new “sharing” medium that’s become a prime source for breaking news and has even led to political revolutions.

While many debate its true effectiveness in the business world, companies and organizations are finding unique ways to use social medium to promote their products and/or services to new and existing customers.

Consider the following statistics as they relate to social media (via Wikipedia):

  • Social networking now accounts for 22% of all time spent online in the US.
  • Twitter processed more than one billion tweets in December 2009 and averages almost 40 million tweets per day.
  • As of May 2012 Facebook has 901 million users.
  • In the U.S. alone, total minutes spent on social networking sites has increased 83 percent year-over-year. In fact, total minutes spent on Facebook increased nearly 700 percent year-over-year, growing from 1.7 billion minutes in April 2008 to 13.9 billion in April 2009, making it the No. 1 social networking site for the month.

It’s plain to see there is an audience out there. The challenge then is how to reach them with your product/service. How can businesses make extra money with Facebook?

The following are some ideas that I have seen work for myself and others in promoting their businesses online via social media.

1. Hold contests and giveaways.

One quick way to gain a following through social media outlets is to offer a giveaway. By offering a prize or two you can gain some exposure for your business or organization. Make entry into your drawing as simple as becoming a follower of your business via Twitter or leaving a comment on your blog.

The downside in using giveaways is that you could lose some followers later on who were only in it for the prize. Still, I have found it to be a valuable tool in social media (especially when you are first starting out).

2. Offer valuable content.

The key to creating an engaged audience online is to be someone that folks want to know, like and trust. One way to do be this type of person is to offer valuable and useful tips that help your followers. From time to time, give people unique tips/tricks within your niche through a social media outlet.

If your followers find it useful they may share it with their friends and those friends, with their friends . . . and so on. You’ll be taping into the real power and strength of social networking.

3. Advertise!

A lot of social media outlets offer advertising as a means to expand your reach. I have found the ad costs to be quite nominal compared to other mediums and effective in reaching new customers. You can set your own budget and have the campaign stop when it’s been reached.

4. Give coupon codes.

Twitter has become one of the first places I will check today when I am ordering something online. Many businesses offer special rates or discount codes only to their followers. This is a great reward for your followers and will help promote participation with your brand.

5. Post viral tidbits.

Like useful content that can be shared. You can do this by spreading interesting pics, videos or sayings via your social media account. Oftentimes these will strike a chord in some of your followers and they will in turn pass this along to their followers which could lead to a viral effect. Again, this can lead to more brand awareness for your business.

Are there other ways you have used social media to promote your business? Leave a comment with your own tips!

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  1. Kellz

    Pinterest is also a great way to drive traffic to your site!

  2. JP

    Aaron – Thanks for your article!

    While I know the post is about random social media ideas it’s missing one key thing: focus. Where to focus, for how long, with what goals? Where do social networking tools fit in the larger picture?

    #1 priority for any site is to deliver high quality content. As Tim Ferris says, spend 90% of your time on content and 10% on marketing.

    Too many social marketing tricks/flavors of the day/alternative strategies are pursued at the expense of high quality content.

    Setting this context is important.

    Another approach that I think would add more meat to your post is to take one of the 5 areas and go really deep. Go through a step by step analysis of how FB can be used for a specific type of business for example.

    Social Triggers is a site you should check out if you haven’t already. There are some good specific ideas there.

  3. Larry Rivero

    Looks good but I am on a limited budget so I must ask what the cost is?

  4. Stuart

    What i can relate most is your number 1 tip, ” Hold contests and giveaways.” I agree with this much as i have tried it once before. I used a Facebook to post my contest where people can join by just uploading a wacky picture of them in my site where people can vote and like for the wackiest entry. The winner of course holds the title and some free tickets to a concert. That was really fun.

    • JP

      What was the result? What did you give away?

  5. JP

    Solid idea Shawn. Often times its key to focus your energy and not spread too thin. Quality is what matters in the end. Find one or two places and deliver high quality consistent content. Then as you build a base spread into other areas.

  6. Prafull

    Definitely, social media is a good way to promote a online businesses and blogs. I think expecting a huge traffic from search engines is a stupidity. The most of my blog’s traffic from social media and referrals.
    There are many advantages using social media but, we should use some tips and tricks to get these advantages.
    I’ve used pinterest to optimize my site and the result was amazing my site was jumped from #234 to #9 in few weeks time.
    The trick is we must got our website pinned and repinned by many people this is the hardest part. Most of pinterest users won’t doing repin when they aren’t like what we pinned.
    I do simple thing to outsource it on fiverr and got my site pinned by more than 70 people