Social media is inherently a narcissistic thing. It’s the place where people like talking about themselves, first and foremost.

This is where many small businesses fail. They don’t understand that people don’t care about brands; they care about what brands can do for them. This lack of understanding is transparent in their social media postings. They’re either promotional or boring.

If you’re a small business wanting to strengthen your brand with social media, you need to put yourself in the mind of social media users and plan your strategy accordingly. Here are 3 ways you can start today:

1. Provide Value

Always ask yourself before posting on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media channels: What’s in it for them, meaning your customers or audience? How is your content valuable?

Value can be conveyed in several ways. Your posts should be entertaining, offer some kind of a reward (through coupons, discounts, etc.), or be helpful to someone else’s business.

When you publish helpful content on a consistent basis, your audience will start associating your brand with something that provides value.

2. Start Conversations

You’d be surprised how many “one-sided” conversations are on social media. There are many businesses that only post promotional content but don’t interact with their customers. As mentioned in the beginning, social media is an inherently narcissistic concept, but businesses shouldn’t follow suit!

Respond to someone’s off-hand comment on Twitter. Encourage followers to leave comments. Lululemon Athletica, a yoga apparel company, did this brilliantly by posting “fill in the blank” questions and asking people to design their dreams.

3. Tell a Story

Now you get to be a bit narcissistic yourself, but only 1 out of 10 times or so. Tell a story about your brand, how it got started, and who works for it. Stories are interesting as long as they tap into people’s emotions.

Post something that shows appreciation to your employees if you have any, because people like to feel they’re supporting businesses that are nice to their people.

How to Pick the Right Social Media Channel

With so many time-sucking social media outlets, which one is right for your business?

If you want to build a community and your target demographic is older than teens, Facebook is right for you.

If your business is B2B and your content revolves around helping other businesses, LinkedIn is where you want to hang out.

If you’re in a visual industry (architecture, interior design, etc.), consider Pinterest and Instagram.

If you post a lot of time-sensitive information, Twitter is your answer.

If your business revolves around “showing” how things work (like auto dealership), YouTube is the way to go.

The best way to build your brand through social media is to focus on one core channel first, gain a following, and branch out. This way, you can focus on providing the best content and avoid spreading yourself too thin.

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