Note! Always be sure to read up on your company's compliance and regulation requirements for social media before you begin.
 
These days, if you don't have a social media presence, it's almost like saying you don't want to succeed. Approximately 68% of adults in the U.S. use Facebook, the most-used social media site by Americans, and the number of social network users is expected to top 220 million by 2022. With the majority of the population using social media, it can be a highly valuable tool for growing your business. In fact, salespeople who utilize social selling have 45% more sales opportunities than others, and are 51% more likely to hit their sales quotas.

What does that tell us? If you want to stay relevant, get noticed, and grow your business, you need a social strategy. But even the most robust social media plan is useless without a key ingredient: followers. To that end, we've compiled a list of the top ways you can expand your social reach and grow your audience.
 

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Who is your audience? Older adults tend to use Facebook more, while younger people gravitate to Instagram and Twitter. Shape your messages to the audience you want to attract, and post on relevant platforms. One tip: It's generally agreed that Yelp is worth more to people in service industries than LinkedIn for B2C relationships. People turn to Yelp to find recommendations for excellent service providers in their local areas. Be sure you're asking every satisfied customer to review you on Yelp. But don't count out the power of LinkedIn for strengthening B2B relationships, either.
 
 
 

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Your social profiles may be the very first impression you make on your potential clients, so it's critical that you keep your business information complete and updated. This means you need a professional-sounding user name, a photo, a professional bio, several ways to get in touch with you, and your hours of availability posted on every platform so people know who you are and how to reach you.
 
 
 

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Use keywords and hashtags to drive up your results in search engine listings and make it easier for people to find you. Strategically place keywords on your website, social posts, blog, and photo captions. Start with words you would use if you were looking for someone in your line of work. You can then branch out into more niche and specific keywords. For example, you might always have homebuyer as a keyword, but what about terms like FHA or MLS, or geo-specific keywords like your metro area or the neighborhood you specialize in?
 
 
 

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Provide relevant information targeted specifically to your audience and the types of clients you want to work with, whether that's first-time buyers, downsizers, or anyone in between. More importantly, post content on a regular basis. As a general rule of thumb, posting at least twice a week will ensure you're staying visible and keeping your pages fresh with new information. Schedule your posts a few weeks ahead of time, if possible, so you're always ahead of the curve.
 
 
 

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Post articles from your blog on your Facebook account, link to them from Twitter, and include icons linked to your social media accounts on your website and email signature. Even better, make all of your content easily shareable by keeping it concise, inserting social sharing buttons, and including an image. Having your existing followers organically share your content is a great way to build credibility and gain more followers. Be sure everything links back to your website, and include clear calls to action, so you can easily capture new leads.
 
 
 

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Seek out opportunities to publish content on industry websites and newsletters. Share best practices, pieces on industry trends, and successes within your company and your own business dealings. Link to other sites and request reciprocal links. Engage with everyone who posts on your sites or responds to your tweets, as much as possible. When they know you're really listening, you'll boost your credibility and reputation.
 
 
 

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Link your name to other standouts in your field by commenting on their posts and sharing their content. Trade posts with other industry professionals in your area, such as builders, landscapers, and mortgage lenders, helping you reach an even bigger audience!