If you’re anything like the average business owner, then at one point or another you’ve probably considered creating a company Facebook account in order to tap into the power of social media. Believe it or not, some companies generate almost 100% of their potential clients through the web and social media interactions are at the epicenter of this type of marketing strategy. Becoming a media mogul in cyberspace certainly doesn’t happen overnight but the effects are almost universally positive with the right types of campaigns.

Here’s the problem that so many businesses have with Facebook and Twitter though; in most cases, there are no guarantees that strengthening your online image will produce additional sales. In fact, the vast majority of corporations find that social media metrics are almost impossible to measure and some question if their efforts generate any interest at all. Instead of being one of these companies, here are a few tips to make your online marketing dollars count-

Stop Focusing On Sales

All of us have that “friend” on our personal Facebook accounts that is constantly promoting their business; from day to day we see their lavish success stories, special “promotions” for friends/family, and virtually every other aspect of how they can make our lives better. This is a classic example of why social media advertising through personal or corporate accounts usually fails; you can’t pitch sales concepts and expect people to keep tuning back in to see what your company has to say.

Now, that doesn’t mean that your social media efforts can’t mention a great promotion from time to time; it simply means that it should not be your primary focus. In a nutshell, people want to be entertained and they do not hop on Pinterest or YouTube to have someone try to constantly sell them something.

Make your Content Fun & Engaging

So what should you bring to your readers on social media websites? Honestly, the topics of conversation are not essentially as important as the tone that they are delivered in. Readers want to see light, witty content that helps them identify with your brand. The sky is truly the limit when deciding on what to talk about so do not feel compelled to go in-depth about just your products and services. Instead, focus on current events, area news, jokes, how-to guides, or anything that compliments your industry.

For example, a car dealership could talk about anything from NASCAR to crazy state driving laws to tips on getting better fuel economy and still be embraced by their readers. A flower shop could talk about the best times to plant bulbs, how to trim back trees/bushes, or what women really want as gifts on the holidays. The content doesn’t have to be directly tied to what the business is selling because you’re ultimately not trying to sell products; you’re trying to gain exposure as a trusted brand.

Don’t Let the Metrics Fool You

In the world of business, we love tracking everything with metrics so we can see the exact return on investment. With social media, that’s not always possible and that’s why so many business owners tend to shy away from it as an effective marketing technique. Don’t let the hidden math fool you though, because online networking is literally a word-of-mouth firestorm that can spread exponentially with the right messaging.software_measurement_metrics1

Think about it for a moment; how much do you spend on locating and attracting one ideal customer through traditional marketing? Since that one person fits into a specific demographic with numerous friends, family members, and co-workers with similar interests, it only makes sense to give that shopper a platform where they can market your business for you. While those “tweets” and “likes” do not automatically add up to traceable dollar signs, few other advertising mediums can match a solid recommendation between friends within an inner circle.

So does social media really equate to additional sales? The answer is both “yes” and “no” at the same time. If you’re intentionally trying to spam “hot deals” and “insider discounts” to your loyal shoppers, then you probably should not expect much of a return on your investment (unless you’re in the fashion industry; women love those exclusive sales). If you’re more worried about entertaining your followers, however, then their friends will eventually become your friends and everyone wins in the long run. The approach is completely your call.