It’s 2014 and social media is not a trend anymore, but a reality even though it’s still making the buzz online. Over the last couple of years, many businesses started using social media marketing as a solid component in their overall marketing strategy. Any business owner online knows that they need to be engaging and active wherever their target audience can be found. Without a doubt, those places includes most of the popular social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

While many brands and organisations have social media profiles on all the top social media channels, many are missing the point with their social media marketing strategy that it’s really not all about shoving your services and products in people’s faces. The sole purpose of the social web is interact and engage with friends, family, and colleagues. Social media is an instrument on communication that facilities social behaviour. Not a microphone that you can use to push your sales messages in front of someone with the hopes they will be happy about it.

Social media for business

From a business perspective, social media should be used to build relationships with current and potential customers by publishing magnetic content that sparks engagement, communicating, and sharing relevant information. Put yourself in front of your business. Would you like it if you are connected to a specific company online and all you see in your news feed are sales messages by them? There is a very good chance you will dislike them and tell your friends to avoid them at all costs.

When a person follows you on your social media channels you are using or like your Facebook Business page, in reality they are letting you into their own world because they find your company interesting. This doesn’t mean you can shove what you are selling in front of them the whole time. When you receive a new follow or like, see it as a privilege.

Don’t over promote yourself

Instead of going in over promotional with your social media campaign, make one of your goals to engage and build relationships with your audience. Share interesting content that they will find valuable. Comment on their photos, and retweet some of their tweets. When you have real relationships with your audience, you will find that the sales will follow eventually because you have built trust with them. People like to do business with people that they know and trust. Not with robots so don’t act like one. This will help you build a natural following and that is worth much more in the long run.

Take some time and really interact with your target audience. Don’t take the hard sell approach because it will not work. Even though it’s not that easy to measure the ROI of social media marketing, it can help you achieve your business goals.