Social media is slowly taking over the world and small businesses that want to boost brand awareness and growth need to know how best to use it to their advantage.

Recent research suggests that the vast majority of today’s small businesses are active on social media. However, while 60 per cent claim that using it directly contributes to their business’ goals on a day-to-day basis, 40 per cent seem to disagree – suggesting that many businesses are missing a beat.

In order to be successful in an increasingly competitive online environment, businesses need to go the extra mile to make sure they stand out. Here are some top tips for smarter social media use.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes

In order to be successful online, you need to know your audience, where they spend their time and what they’re looking for. Luxury goods or food retailers are likely to attract more attention on Instagram than Twitter, while professional services firms are sure to have more luck trying to make connections on LinkedIn than on Facebook.

Look beyond the main platforms

Facebook and Twitter are arguably the biggest, best-known names in social media – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the most popular with your target audience, or the best suited to growing your brand and pursuing your goals. Think carefully and don’t overlook the likes of Instagram or YouTube, particularly as image and video content is becoming increasingly popular.

Be active and stay relevant

Pushing out regular content on social media is crucial to building and maintaining a strong presence. Equally, anything you promote or share should be relevant to your goals, brand image or client base. Blogging about – and commenting on – current issues affecting your industry or sector is a fantastic way of establishing yourself as a key player.

Prioritise quality over quantity

While keeping active online is crucial, sharing irrelevant or uninteresting content could alienate your followers – which is bad news for brand-building. Invest time and energy in creating attractive, attention-grabbing content that draws your audience in. There are plenty of apps available that can help with this.

Make connections 

When it comes to likes, shares and comments, it’s just as important to give as it is to receive. This will help to get your business noticed and make more connections.

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