With social media gaining popularity, more and more small businesses have started to use social networks as part of their marketing mix. However, it is important that they should implement the right strategy in order to turn this marketing channel into a successful one.

I was reading an interesting article in the Telegraph over the weekend which suggested four simple rules for successful social marketing:

First of all, do not use the hard sell on social media – for example: BUY NOW! Make promotions, offer coupons or discounts and create content that is interesting for customers.

Amelia Harvey, founder of yoghurt manufacturer Collective, knows that this rule works. Using social media, her company seeks to provide useful information for its customers, as well finding stockists for its products. Collective´s social media marketing has helped the company find stockists such as Tesco, Sainsbury´s, Boots and Morrisons, Harvey said.

Secondly, do not forget the power of images. Paul Charalambous, founder of Lego reseller Firestar Toys, believes in the success of posting images on social media networks. His company, which spends more than £20,000 on photographs of its products, now has 45,000 Facebook followers and almost 3,000 Twitter followers.

Thirdly, make intelligent social campaigns built on data about customers. Shingo Murakami, managing director of Rakuten´s online retailer Play.com, said that his company carefully studies data about its customers before deciding what kind of social media campaigns to create. It has found that its average sales go up by 24% when it attracts a customer as a social network fan.

Lastly, use social media for crowd-sourcing and then take real-world actions. When you are not sure what customers will like, ask your social media fans first. Popcorn maker Love Da Popcorn, which generates sales of £1.2 million, did the same when it was not sure whether to use paper or plastic packaging; its Facebook fans chose paper, co-founder Martin McLaughlin said.

Social media content is so important when it comes to building brand awareness and creating brand loyalty. Producing content that your customers will find interesting, useful and share-worthy is crucial to building your online presence. Conjuring up this sort of content, however, is harder and more time-consuming than you might realise. M2 Bespoke are content generation specialists: we produce engaging, tailored content for a variety of business sectors – this content can be used on your website and linked to your social media channels. Imagine having peace of mind, knowing all your online content is being taken care of… Call us today to find out more.

By Ben Hollom