How to Use Social Media to Grow Sales and Build a Better Business

More businesses are taking to social media to help build their brands and sales. With over thirty million companies on LinkedIn, two billion active users on Facebook and one billion on Instagram worldwide, social media is a cost-effective way to become a brand name that industry professionals can trust. 

Navigating the social media world can be challenging for some business owners. While they are focused on developing their client’s base and giving the best and most up-to-date service to all of their clients, learning the workings of social media can be time-consuming. 

That’s why we’ve created this two-part resource. In Part One, we will focus on how distributors can use social media to grow sales and build a better business. 

Part Two will focus on why a distributor’s social media profile should look different than a manufacturer’s. To do this, we’ll look at a case study of one building materials distributor, Brand Vaughan Lumber, and how they have successfully navigated these waters, increasing their social media followership by almost five times!

For now, let’s look at how to use social media effectively and grow your leads and sales.

Using Social Media Effectively

Using social media effectively is not a simple one-step solution. There are many aspects to social media that a business can utilize.

Social Media Campaigns

Social media campaigns are a business’s coordinated social media marketing effort to underscore a message (brand, style, products, news, etc.). A campaign uses at least one social media platform but can cross platforms. 

Because these campaigns are strategically focused, they have measurable outcomes. Campaign content can focus on organic content, ads, or a combination of the two. The type of ad that is used will depend on the business and target demographic. The timing of organic and ad campaigns is also critical, too. Researching when potential clients will be most exposed to your posts and ads is important in determining when to publish content. 

Also important is determining the right audience for you. You need your organic posts and ads to target potential clients, not just cold prospects that may or may not be interested in your company. 

When crossing platforms (Facebook to Instagram, for example), it’s important to keep your brand and message consistent. While Facebook is more text-heavy and Instagram more image-focused, this shouldn’t necessarily change the message, just how it’s delivered. 

Many social media platforms provide engagement reports which a business can then cross-reference with their website hits and hence, growing business sales. If you want more detailed information about social media campaigns, here’s a great article.

Use Multimedia

To use social media effectively, you need to be a storyteller. Whether those stories are campaigns, product successes or insight into the workings of the business, using social media to tell these stories can launch a brand to success. 

But plain text isn’t going to cut it. Combining a message with multimedia helps capture a busy audience while delivering key information to both potential and return clients. Particularly with distributors, images and videos help solidify their product brand. 

Clients want to see the products they are considering investing in and this simply can’t be delivered through text alone. Images — or better yet, videos — give potential clients an experience of viewing the workings and quality of distributors’ products. This helps build trust. 


Community Engagement

It’s not just about creating content that targets the right audience, tells a story and uses multimedia. To truly build a following, it’s important to engage with the community. Posting material that is original and relevant to your target demographic is a key element to using social media effectively. 

Because social media is a relaxed atmosphere, oftentimes statistics and facts will keep people scrolling...right past your business page. Using more emotionally engaging elements such as internal experiences, employee profiles or direct messages from business owners helps engage the online community and build trust and realize, hey, you’re regular people, too! Let your followers know you’re approachable.  

And make sure you respond to comments. It shows people you care about them and what they are saying. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy conversation, but a quick “Thanks for responding!” can make a big difference. And you never know when a quick response to a comment can turn into a lengthy conversation in a direct message that leads to a sale.

Another way to engage the community involves things like polls, questions and feedback. This makes followers feel like they are part of a community your business is fostering, which in turn, helps build a brand clients can trust. 

Create a Social Media Calendar

A large part of community engagement is posting regular content, which can be overwhelming and inconsistent if not strategized. Building a social media calendar keeps content consistent and engaging. 

As mentioned above, it’s important to determine when your followers will be engaging with social media. By using algorithm reports from different social media platforms, you can determine when your social media pages are receiving the most views, clicks and engagement (such as comments, shares and ‘likes’). From this information, you can build a social media calendar, scheduling posts that will be meaningful and help build followers and potential new clients. 

There are many social media calendar templates that you can download, or you can create one yourself with various document creation programs. There are also great programs and apps that can be used to schedule posts. Posts can be pre-planned, usually a week or two in advance, and then scheduled for release at regular and appropriate intervals. 

The Take-Away

Using social media can really help boost a business’s brand and ultimately, future clients. But using social media effectively can be tricky. Learning from businesses who have done this effectively is a huge tool for surpassing that learning curve. 

In Part Two, we will be looking at how one building materials distributor has been effective at using social media: Brand Vaughan Lumber. Stay tuned!