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You are in a new city and looking for a restaurant to eat dinner. What do you do?  You begin to search online. You look at the reviews, website and social media. All three of these play a major role in your decision-making. Here’s what I do.

If their website looks like 1980 and you can’t find a menu – I’m moving on to the next restaurant. If they have a lot of negative reviews – I’m out. And if their Facebook and Instagram is lacking pictures of the food, atmosphere, and staff – I’ll keep searching.

The food at that restaurant may be amazing, but based on what I saw online, I’m not going to give them a chance. And that’s not just me. This happens time and time again.

According to We are Social, around 2 billion people — more than a quarter of the planet — are now on social media.

Nine out of 10 U.S. companies, according to Social Media Examiner are already using social media. And they’re seeing concrete results: 90 % of businesses see increased exposure and more than half report improved sales from social media.

Social media and your website give new and existing customers a sneak peak into what you have to offer. If doesn’t look appealing, clean and updated they will move on.

It’s all about image and presentation. Think of your social media like your first couple of dates. You do everything to look your best- new outfits, hair and makeup, you are on your best behavior and want your date to think that you are perfect.

Your social media should be like your first date.

  • Great pictures
  • Videos that tell stories
  • Valuable content
  • Behind the scenes and stories about your company and staff
  • Testimonials
  • Constant engagement with your followers. Have conversations with them, not at them

Don’t get comfortable with social media like you would on your 10th date. No sweatpants here. Always put your best effort in and treat it as if it’s one of your most important parts of your business.

Now that we have that under control, let’s talk about likes. Don’t buy likes. PLEASE don’t do this. Buying likes will hurt your organic reach and it’s not about how many people “like or follow” your page –  it’s about the engagement You could have 20,000 likes, but if no one is commenting or sharing your content, your page is pretty much dead.

Most businesses have multiple social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. It’s great if you are using all of those, but make sure to post differently on each as they have different audiences.

Facebook is meant to share out your message.

Instagram is all about sharing photos.

Twitter is for writing a short tease to get them to click on the link. For example, Lose five-pound in five days…click here to find out how.

Pinterest is for sharing more recipes, outfits, and inspirationLinkedIn is a great place to share a business article. Find groups in your industry and start discussions. This is not the place to share selfies and cat pictures.

LinkedIn is a great place to share a business article. Find groups in your industry and start discussions.

Snapchat is more for behind the scenes, quick tips, more of in the moment experiences. For example, if you are a construction company take photos and videos of the project. Show the crew working and even having fun. Give your followers access to something that normally wouldn’t have.

And when you are posting on social media, make sure that you tag the other businesses and people involved. This increases their chances of sharing it and now their customers are seeing your posts.

These are all great platforms and will help your business grow if used properly. You must be prepared to invest time and money into your social media marketing.

There is so much competition out there, that you need to stand out. From Insurance agencies to construction companies you must utilize social media to cut through the noise and make a lasting impression on new and existing customers and clients.

Create a strategic plan and stick to it.

Now, what’s your strategy?

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