Use Social Media to Boost Your Business

social networkSome people boast about their thousands of social media friends.

Others sneer at the idea of so many.

Obviously you can’t have thousands of close friends.

But wait a minute! Don’t underestimate the value of friends and followers to your business.

Thirty years ago when I started my first business, a flight school, advertising was very expensive.

Beth and Cessna 152

(Yep. That was me.)

Yellow pages ads were essential to get people’s attention but very costly. I checked out the competition locally and elsewhere. The ones that had only line ads didn’t get many customers. The display ads were much more effective and, of course, much more pricey.

TV ads were impossibly expensive unless you opted for running them on a program that consisted of nothing but advertising. I didn’t think that people who wanted to become pilots were the type to watch that kind of show!

Radio advertising was the other option but again, very expensive for effective ones. The best kind had a d.j. talking about his flying lessons. Guess who would have to fund his hobby!

Newspaper ads also were expensive because they had to be big enough to be noticed and run often. Dollars running out of my purse.

Fortunately, I had experience with all of these possibilities when I worked as the chief flight instructor for a multi-department aviation company before I started my own school.

The most important thing I had learned was that personal recommendations were the best way to let people know about my school and the quality of training they would get.

I had a good reputation and an excellent record and was known for my high standards.

Enough of the history lesson!

What does this have to do with advertising businesses now?

Personal recommendations are still the most effective form of advertising.People and social media

Big bonus: It isn’t expensive!

The yellow pages have been replaced by LinkedIn. That’s where people go now to check on the business or person that they are considering hiring.

Personal recommendations spread like wildfire through other social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

We have come to take this for granted.

But don’t just let it happen, maximize the possibilities!

Here are some ways to do that:

Respond to people who do something nice for you, just as you would if it were in person with your family and best pals.

  • When someone comments on your post, be sure to reply to the comment.
  • When someone shares your blog post with her Twitter followers, tweet her to say thank you.
  • When someone retweets one of your posts, definitely thank him.
  • If someone often posts content that would be of interest to your audience, retweet or share them with your followers.

People share, retweet and comment.Engaging with people is a great way to build interest which can turn into loyalty and sales.

Write interesting and helpful content and then drive people to it with social media.

That is how to use social media to boost your business.

Have you used techniques like these to interest people in your offerings?


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  1. I fully believe in returning online favors, but I have stopped thanking people for retweeting my posts. Rather, I return the favor and retweet something they’re recently posted as well.

    • That’s a good alternative, Jeri. We all love to have our posts retweeted.

    • I do the same as Jeri, as well as RT’ing a tweet from a new follower, as a form of thanks. It’s harder to keep up with the reciprocating and acknowledgements as your following grows, but it’s still important to try.

      • Hi Doreen. I too retweet something from new followers if it makes sense to do it. I always thank for retweets and shares if possible and do a bit of this and that but don’t have time to mention mentions too often!

  2. I love replying to comments on posts and always thank for shares, often by reciprocating a share. The points you make are more than good business practices or good manners. Its being social. Love your unique graphics.

    • Roslyn, I love the way you thank for shares and reciprocate. You and I both enjoy making and seeing unique graphics. Being social is how we get people to engage with us.

  3. Great tips on how to engage with your social media community, Beth. If we all follow your advice, we will develop true connections that can bring leads for our business. For my business, knowing that i’m socially active in my community’s digital world makes a big difference!

    • Thanks, Holly Jean. I appreciate that you value my advice. I would imagine that your activity is a big driver of business for you. You provide so much good content and also engage.

  4. It’s definitely important to acknowledge in some way people who value and share your “stuff” be it quotes, tips etc. Sharing their stuff is definitely a good way. Social media is huge so a bit of posting and sharing goes a long way

  5. It’s always important to reciprocate the love. Thanks for the reminder of the benefits.

  6. Good post, Beth.

    I’m thinking there are different categories for engagement and I’m tryng to work those out.

    There are those who follow me and I follow them but don’t feel the need to engage. Just want to monitor their content.

    And others, of course, whose content I admire and want to show support, The next category is for those I would like to offer services.

    A work in progress for me.

    • Absolutely, Sharon. There are different categories and I do engage less with those that I don’t especially see as helpful to me either as thought leaders or potential clients. If people just seem to have randomly followed me, I don’t necessarily follow them back, especially if I find their opinions offensive in any way.

  7. totally agree with engaging with others on social media. I do find it much easier to do with Facebook than I do with Twitter though… How do you keep up with it?

  8. These are great tips, especially for someone who is new to social media marketing!

  9. I spend some time every day saying thank you, returning comments and answering questions. I think it’s really important to keeping the social in social media. Great post!

    • Lisa, I certainly agree that we need to remember the social part. I’m glad that you spend time every day engaging with your fans and followers.

  10. I love your social media tips. I firmly believe you should treat others how you would like to be treated and feel that social media should be no different. It can be difficult to keeping up with thanking everyone but scheduling time during the day is helpful.

    • Thanks, Julie. I’m glad you liked the tips. I think that people sometimes forget that our social media contacts deserve the same courtesy as they would get in person. They deserve to be thanked.

  11. Online reviews have been a boon for the consumer. Which means responding that much more important, right? Instead of thanking people for their tweets, I favorite it (so they know I saw and appreciate it) and then share a post of theirs. This is a great reminder that engaging is so important.

    • Jacqueline, That’s a good idea, to favorite tweets. Sharing a post of theirs is really appreciated. I reward retweets with a little graphic and people seem to like that.

  12. Right on target, Beth, regarding engagement. I’m amazed at the number of people on LinkedIn who are almost embarrassing grateful that I bothered to look at and comment on their profiles when we first make a connection. And while I can’t get to thousands of posts of my connections/followers, I do make a point of responding to everyone who was kind enough to spend time with me.

    • That’s pretty much what I do too on LinkedIn, Jackie. I definitely respond to people who “talked” to me and add a few others that appeal to me. Why do we have to spend so much time sleeping? Just kidding.

  13. Excellent points and tips Beth… sure we have a lot of friends and when I scroll through them and think, I haven’t spoken to them in forever, but then lo and behold, they come around in some way or another, but sure, there are some trolls. But more importantly, word of mouth is FREE and usually the BEST form of advertising!

    • Kristen, isn’t it nice how just the person you need to talk to pops up at the right time sometimes? Yes, there are a few weirdies out there, but there are everywhere. Ignoring or telling them to go away usually works. Word of mouth is great!

  14. Since the proliferation of different popular social media, I have utilized them to boost my business as a matchmaker.

  15. Look at you in your younger years!

    LinkedIn is a great platform to get yourself and your business noticed. It has been of great benefit to me; the tips and advice, the networking. I am networking with people all over the world on a daily basis!

    I agree that we should thank posters for commenting on our blogs or sharing our blogs. Gratitude goes a long way.

    • Hi Phoenicia, yes I looked different all those years ago. It’s inevitable. I’ve gotten to really like LinkedIn and use it every day for a variety of things. Definitely we should always thank people for engaging with our blog posts. Thank you!

  16. I agree, social media often gets a bad rap, but I think it also offers us a way to carry on certain social graces that may otherwise fall out of favor, such as writing a quick thank you note. People don’t do that much anymore, but they can easily write a nice tweet or comment. Social media is here to stay, so we need to learn how to work with it!

    • Right, Meredith. Social media certainly is here to stay. It does make things easier such as thank you notes and I definitely write more email ones or social media posts than I would if I still had to use pen and ink.

  17. Great tips Beth, and I have to say that I agree with Jeri’s approach. I’ve been using the service which automatically thanks top supporters on Twitter, but I’ve decided to discontinue that because it is so impersonal and really does nothing to build a relationship. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Marquita, I guess I won’t check into after all because I don’t like automatically thanking. Hootsuite makes it pretty easy. I’m glad you liked the article.

  18. Love all the ideas here Beth. And I use them to varying degrees. Like Marquita, I often use because it helps to make RT, reply and favorites a little easier on Twitter itself. On LinkedIn I spend just a bit less time for such social pleasantries so thanks for this reminder!

    • I’m glad you found my ideas useful, Patricia. I haven’t used but Hootsuite offers that convenience too. I’ll look at I must admit that I spend less time commenting on LinkedIn.

  19. Catarina says:

    Good points about boosting your business online.Reciprocating and thanking strangers for re-tweeting is the name of the game on social media.

    Social media works wonders for building up a brand. My name is so built up that when I set up a company I decided to use my own name instead of building up a new name. And it worked. Sales is difficult online if you offer expensive services. Then you need to meet people in person or have a Google Hangout/Skype video call. Nobody is going to pay $100,000 just by reading something on social media.

    • Catarina, your business is quite different from the ones I was talking about of course. Naturally you need to talk individually with your prospective clients. That was true for me when I was training pilots. I talked with each one because it was a good sized investment and also potentially dangerous if the company didn’t have high standards.

  20. I think there are a lot of ways to boost your business with social media but you have to follow good manners. I’m concerned that is not really be emphasized nearly enough with younger generations and social media will actually become anti-social in years to come.

    • Manners change, don’t they, Beth – at least in the eyes of the younger people. Hard to know how it will evolve but I agree that good manners are so important.

  21. There are so many tools available to us now and at all levels of budget commitment. The pre-digital world now seems so limited in terms of marketing and advertising opportunities. One of the ones I remember that small businesses with a local clientele would use is advertising on placemats at diners and coffee shops.

  22. Excellent post Beth. I think that not only is personal recommendation the best, but keeping things personal on SM is the only way to go. Reciprocation and good manners is the key. Why not help each other?

    • Why not help each other, indeed, A.K. I’m glad you liked the post. Personal recommendations are golden and reciprocation and good manners would seem to be a no-brainer!

  23. Good tips for engaging with people on social media. I acknowledge and thank RTs and mentions, but I also like Jeri and Jacquie’s approach.

    • Hi Donna. Glad you liked the tips. I agree that Jeri and Jacquie’s approach is good. I’ve pretty much stopped acknowledging mentions but I always thank for retweets.

  24. I can’t even imagine starting a business in a time when purchasing a newspaper ad or a yellow pages listing were really your best options. I love that we have the opportunity today to really connect with people, and even communicate with potential clients before they use our services.

    I’ve had a twitter account for a year, but only started using it within the last month or so when people started following me. I’m starting to get twitter etiquette, but thank you for the great tip!

    • Erica, I’m glad you found my article useful. Twitter is very useful and I think you’ll like it. Good point that we can communicate easily with potential clients which is great. We can try to earn their trust so that they will want to buy.

  25. I truly believe that personal recommendations are so much more valuable on social media. I also feel that referring potential clients are even more valuable than just someone inquiring about services on social media. They are ready to take action and buy the services. Thank you for sharing.

  26. I remember when purchasing a newspaper ad or a yellow pages listing were really your only options. It bee fascinating to watch the changeover to online connection with people and potential clients.

    I have many SM accounts, but to learn to use them to their fullest potential. That said, thank you for the tips. They will help me in that endeavor for sure.

    • Susan, yes, times have surely changed. At least it’s cheaper to market now. Social media can be puzzling, knowing what is best for your own particular needs. I’m glad you liked the tips.

  27. Excellent advice Beth. Personal recommendations are valuable and so powerful. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Good post Beth as always!
    Yup I agree with you, it is always important to reciprocate the love.
    I return the love by retweeting and favourite their tweets. I also comment on their blog posts.

  29. Hi Beth, I have been learning about ‘engagement’ on social media and do comment (and reply to comments and share where I can and thank people for their shares as often as I can. But I know I can do better – it’s just trying to organize my time to learn and at the same time do. Your post will force me to focus a bit better on the ‘Thank you’s’.

  30. Thanks for sharing this. I am a new author, and a former card carrying Luddite, so I love articles like this. They help me navigate this new technology I am finally using. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Excellent insight, Beth! So many people will post tweets or updates, and don’t realize that it’s a two-way street. Good recommendations for engagement, as well. Sharing is caring!

  32. As my online presence expands into the world of Twitter I am coming to terms with the work involved in reciprocating. When it was just me and LinkedIn it was great and I had time. Twitter has opened a whole new area for me and with comes a commitment. As you say Beth, people should realize this commitment and undertake the world of expanding social media as they would any relationship; it all need caring for and nurturing if you want your investment of time and effort to reap rewards,

  33. I try to engage with people on my social media accounts as much as I can. Some have better results than others.

  34. Love the pic of you in flight school Beth! I fully believe in reciprocation. If someone takes time out of their day to follow me on social media and comment on my blog, it’s common courtesy to return the gesture. A network isn’t valued by its size, but by the strength of its connections.

    • Hi Tatia, Thanks; the picture was taken about 20 years ago, with one of my school airplanes. Definitely comments should be replied to. That’s the whole value – establishing a relationship.

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