As a business owner it’s tempting to see social media as an excellent way to promote your products or service, but there’s more to it than that.

If you operate on a broadcast-only strategy people will rapidly get bored and stop reading your posts.  There are a few boxes that social media posts need to tick.

1: Deliver value

It’s possible to post great value for your customers AND promote your business at the same time.  Think tips, advice, guidance, free giveaways, links to longer articles (like this one) that give the reader useful information.

It doesn’t have to be a tip, it can be a case study, explaining the problem (that other people with similar problems will relate to), outlining the solution and showing the results.  It doesn’t do any harm to add the customer’s testimonial at the end.

If you’re thinking that this falls into the category of promotion, you’re right – but it also demonstrates that there is a solution to problems that many people experience and that has value.

However, offering a free download that might be a checklist, a tips sheet, a mistakes to avoid piece or simply a ‘How to …’ document all offer value – and put your company’s name in the reader’s hands too.

2: Share stuff

It’s not all about you and your business – you’re not the only expert around.  If you follow particular people who inspire, motivate, entertain and inform, don’t keep them to yourself.  Share their blogs, videos, posts with your followers and you’ll be not only giving them great value (see item 1), but also positioning yourself on their level by association.

Sharing good material adds lots of brownie points for you.

3: Engagement

This is the holy grail that everyone chases for their social media posts.  If you’re posting and don’t get any likes or comments, ideally both, you probably wonder ‘What’s the point?’.

However, engagement isn’t just about posting something that people respond to, but it’s also about YOU engaging with them.  If someone likes your post and comments, respond to it.  Add your own comment, give a bit more information, add another thought. 

There is, of course, more to engagement.  The secret of engagement is posting the kind of posts that people engage with.  Each platform is different and you are more likely to get engagement with business subjects on LinkedIn, while the same post will be completely ignored on Instagram or Facebook.  They’re different platforms and need different content.  Do your research and see what people engage with and how you can emulate that kind of popular post.

I’m not suggesting you post cute cat videos, but find out what people respond to on different platforms in your category and then get creative!

What does this mean for your social media activity?

Engagement is about engaging with others too.  So don’t forget to look at the home feed and your favourite pages and see what’s going on, react, like and comment. Follow other people, connect with them – especially your current and former customers and anyone who is on your ‘I wish they were my customer’ list.

Whatever time you allocate for social media activity needs to include research, reading, engagement, creation as well as posting. 

Remember it’s not all about you – don’t be a broadcast-only social media poster.