Tales about businesses which used social media to develop into huge enterprises travel far and wide. Most of us have heard plenty of these success stories. Those of us who work in the social media marketing industry will probably tell you that social media will not skyrocket your business into the stratosphere overnight, but it might give it a significant boost along the way.

No matter how apparent the end results of well implemented social media strategies get, these strategies are still able to mystify some business owners. But that’s okay – no one is born social-media savvy, and everyone needs to learn about these things. The following explanations of four ways social media strategies can help your business will make social media feel more like firm ground than quicksand.

How important are branding and brand visibility for business?

The simple, and correct, answer is – a lot. Social media are the places where people go to connect, either with other people or brands, and that makes them the natural partner for a business that wants to reach its customers. Social media are the places you can use to let your existing customers, and even more importantly prospective ones, know who you are and what you’re about.

And that brings as back to branding. Your social media presence has to have sense. It’s not something that should be rushed – you build it over time with an apparent investment of effort.

Graphic designers can create images for your business’ social media pages, which should be in line with the visual branding of your website. You should always provide sufficient information in the “about us” section. If you use your business’ social media page to post content – and you really should – it would be an excellent idea to post content that will be relevant to your customers, and again in line with the overall branding of your business.

Social media will drive traffic to your website – but not just any kind of traffic.

Here’s a splendid thing about social media – it lets you know what people want, and when they want it. You can get leads off of social media, and these “hot leads” will help guide your marketing efforts. You’ll know who wants what and when, and you can utilize that information to adapt your social media strategy in a way that will drive traffic to your website.

All you have to do is simply offer what you see your customers want – giveaways, special offers, or just content. Pair it with call-to-action buttons Facebook allows you to use, and you can have them click on Book Now, Shop Now, Sign Up, or Contact Us buttons and you’ll see an increase in the traffic to your website.

It also might be worth mentioning that this could be an easier approach to driving traffic to your website than chasing search engine rankings.

You probably know how important it is to have a database…

Email marketing lists are as relevant today as they’ve ever been, and you can use social media to help you build yours. Equally important, it can help you zero in on different segments of your consumer base and deliver content that’s tailor-made for them.

For example, let’s say your ideal customers are single professionals, divorced professionals, and midlife professionals. You can make a different type of content for each of these groups, and you can advertise and promote it on social media. Viewing the content requires the users to opt-in by giving you their email address, and there you go – your email marketing list is growing, and the people populating it have the potential to be precious customers. And best of all, this allows you to create separate email marketing lists for each segment of customers.

… and how useful it is to nurture leads.

You need to get new leads for your business, that’s for sure, and social media is perfect for that. But Facebook is also the ideal place to nurture those leads into a great relationship.

First, the trick is to be nice. Being helpful, pleasant and open for communication is the first step towards building a relationship with a potential customer. Reply to comments. Get likes and shares, and you’ll increase your visibility because those likes and shares can be seen by all the people that are in the social media circles of the people who like or share. Start a conversation, and be prepared to continue it.

To continue the conversation and foster the relationship. You need to offer additional content. Be it on your website or your blog. Or even through your mailing list. Make sure you always come up with new things you can offer to your customers and use social media to notify them. You might not land a sale on first exposure – but that’s fine because all good things take time. The important thing is that you’re doing it right and investing the time and effort in the tools that pay off – social media.