Social media can be a great way to for entrepreneurs to engage with customers, provide customer service and even make a few sales. But it can also be time consuming and not immediately generate the results you might be after.
So what's a business owner to do? We spoke with online marketing expert Jason Falls for a live Google Hangout, "Tap Into the Power of Social Media for Business," during which he answered your most pressing questions. Here are three key takeaways from the conversation:
1. Your content should be so good your followers say, 'Holy Smokes!'
The point here is to give people a compelling reason to follow you on social media -- namely content that gives your audience value and evokes an emotional response. Falls cited a Cisco advertisement that uses humor to promote an otherwise boring product: its ASR 9000 router. "They were able to make a $150,000 router sexy," Falls said.
Extend this philosophy to your social strategy. Instead of simply asking that people follow you on Twitter or "Like" you on Facebook, give them a compelling reason for doing so.
Related: How to Drive Sales Through Social Media
2. Share other people's content.
Don't just broadcast your own marketing messages. Sharing other people's content can be an effective way to give your audience value without taking the trouble to create it yourself.
"Most mornings I get out there and select the 10 or 15 most useful articles on social media and digital marketing, and then share them throughout the day," Falls said. Sharing content from other sources can also go a long way to generating credibility for yourself as a subject-matter expert.
3. Social media sites are not created equal.
Different people use different social media sites for different reasons. Instagram, for instance, appeals to people who love sharing great photos. And a business that has visually-appealing products or service might consider spending more time on Instagram or Facebook than others like Twitter or LinkedIn.
The key for business owners, of course, is to know which social media sites your audience is engaged with most. A good way to find out? Ask them, Falls said.
Related: How to Get Your Money's Worth From Social Media Campaigns