This post is an extract from a lesson in our small business training program, ASBAS Digital Solutions, which is designed to help small business get access to digital advice and training by offering 1:1 mentoring, workshops, and practical online lessons. Eligble small businesses with an ABN can join here.

Social media offers the opportunity to connect with your target audience, customers and clients on a deeper level. With a solid social media marketing strategy in place, you can engage your audience and build a community, drive traffic to your website, demonstrate credibility and authority, and connect and collaborate with other complementary brands.

With low barriers to entry and large global audiences active on the various platforms, there has never been a better time to start to promote your business at low cost.

Still not convinced?

We’ve listed out 12 ways social media can help you grow your business.

1. Reach new audiences

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Twitter, and LinkedIn have incredibly large active user bases. So if you’re wanting to connect with your target market online, social media offers a great opportunity to do just that.

2. Drive traffic

Sharing your content – products, services, helpful information, videos and blog posts – on social media is a great way to drive traffic back to your website.

3. Social proof

Large and engaged social followings of brand accounts may be looked upon as a vote of confidence, and help other potential customers trust the brand. Plus, many social media platforms offer the opportunity to leave reviews or recommendations which demonstrates social proof.

4. Understand your audience

Social media builds a deeper understanding of your audience. Through listening, engaging and monitoring analytics, you’ll learn what content interests them, demographic and geographic information, what content performs best, what products and services they’re interested in, and what social channels are most effective at driving traffic and conversions.

5. Build relationships

Social media is unlike other marketing channels. It’s a lot more about connecting and engaging – building relationships. Having an active and empathetic social media presence, with content that’s relatable, insightful, inspiring or informative, can help you connect with your target market on a deeper level.

6. Amplify your content or message

If you have a website or blog and want to increase brand awareness, amplifying your message or distributing content across various social media platforms can help you achieve this.

7. Provide customer support

We’re connected 24/7, so when things go wrong or answers are needed, people are quick to turn to social media for support. Being able to provide support to customers via social media is invaluable.

8. Advertising

Many social media platforms offer the opportunity to pay to advertise, which means you can target and retarget your ideal customers and clients with relevant and convincing content designed to entice them to visit your website or purchase your products or services.

9. Easily evaluate competitors

Many social media platforms offer “competitor insights” as a feature, so having a presence gives you the opportunity to evaluate what’s working and what’s not working for your competitors.

10. Increase sales or leads

If social media can be used to build a community, engage your ideal customers and clients, and drive traffic to your website, you can be sure that social media can also assist with driving sales or leads. Increasing sales and leads is often a key objective of a marketing strategy, so it’s nice to know this can be achieved with social media.

11. Cultivate conversation

The rise of messaging apps as part of the social media universe has opened up a whole new level of direct engagement between consumers and brands. This is great for customer support, and can also result in sales – it’s sometimes called conversational commerce.

12. Generate word of mouth

Social media is a great way to drive “word of mouth” exposure for your brand, as it’s just so easy to share on social media. Be warned though, it’s just as easy to share bad news, so make sure your social strategy is carefully considered.