With over one billion active users on Facebook alone, it’s clear that social media is a party that’s not going anywhere any time soon.

Like any media with a massive reach, your customers are going to expect that you’re there, somewhere, in the mix. After all, it’s never too early to start growing your business with social media.

Getting Started with Social Media Marketing

Marketing on social media gives you an opportunity that businesses have never had before: truly being able to connect to your customers, 24/7, on a personal level.

Instead of simply pushing out marketing messages to no one, social media is about connections and conversations. You get back from social media what you give. Depending on the type of business you run, it can be enough to post a restaurant menu or your store hours and photographs of your products, and then follow up by creating interesting and noteworthy content for your followers.

The benefits of building your base on social media are innumerable, including giving you access to the currently difficult to penetrate mobile device user market. But actually building your social media base can be a little more difficult, especially for a young business. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend for social media advertising, you’ll have to get creative. eCommerce businesses might ask customers to sign up for newsletters, then offer coupons via social media or simply continue to push social media sign-ups via your CTAs (“calls to action”).

Even though opt-in email lists can work for almost anyone, brick-and-mortar business will need to try much harder than eCommerce sites to win fans because there’s an extra step between the customer’s experience and their signing into social media to follow the company there.

Encourage sign-ups with custom printed receipts that remind customers of your social media options and special online merchandise previews. Giving your social media followers a little something special is often all it takes to encourage existing customers to convert to online followers. The greater your collection of followers, the better your signal will be amplified to the rest of the social media “party.”

Getting Prepared for What’s Next

Committing to building your social media network is great, but it’s only half the equation if you really want to make your marketing efforts work. It’s not enough to simply have social media marketing, you also have to be able to service it, as the soul of this sort of advertising is responsiveness. The good news is that you don’t have to run out and hire a bunch of staff to wait around in the hopes the phones will ring. You can get an answering service for that.

Instead of having full-time staff you might not be able to afford, an answering service only charges you for the time you use. So whether your social media efforts generate one call or 500, you’re covered. Many also work around-the-clock, giving you the same competitive edge of any world-class corporation.

Growing your social media efforts is a great way to get the word out about your business without spending a lot of money, but only if you have a plan for all the callers that you’re going to attract. After all, they’re ready to start doing business with you today.