It’s no secret that social media channels are one of the most powerful promotional tools available to modern marketers. Whether using social media monitoring to pick up on customer service issues or using Facebook ads to put your brand in front of consumers, social media channels have become a core part of doing business.

In fact, with the right approach, any product or service can gain popularity using this form of comms channel. Following these steps can also help set yourselves up for brand promotion success.

1. Create a strategy

The first and most important step of brand promotion is to create a social media strategy. This will include defining your target audience and figuring out what social media sites they’re using. Spend some time determining what weighs on their mind and figure out what content can be created to cater for such needs or wants. This is also the stage at which KPIs – key performance indicators, will be set. For example, “increase website traffic from social networking sites by 75% within the next six months.”

2. Work with influencers

Influencers are those people within the industry who are setting the trends and stimulating the conversation. By working with influencers in your industry, you can tap into their existing and loyal audiences and get honest feedback about your product or service from the people who use it. Influencers also add a sense of authenticity as well as credibility to your brand. This will help aid brand promotion.

3. Paid advertising

Social media advertising budgets have doubled worldwide over the last few years, hitting $31 billion in 2016. With organic reach so low, using social media channels without running advertisements is a waste of time. Small businesses often reach hundreds of times as many people with a relatively small budget. At the very least, it’s worth setting some budget aside to dip your toes in the water.

4. Engage the audience

Step 4 for brand engagement is engaging your audience! There’s no point in maintaining a social media presence if no one is listening. That’s why you’ll need to use campaigns, competitions, discussions and more to get people talking. Use a social media monitoring tool, such as Meltwater, to find out what already has them talking – whether that’s infographics, YouTube shows or blog posts – then apply what you’ve learned into your own strategy.

5. Ask for feedback

The final brand engagement tip is ask for feedback! The great advantage of social networking is that it’s a two-way conversation. That means brands can solicit feedback from customers by asking questions, posting surveys, using social media monitoring techniques to identify common problems and simply reading what people say when they comment on updates. Of course, asking for feedback is all well and good –but it won’t achieve much unless we act upon what we’ve learned.

Ultimately, the best way to get started with social networking sites is to jump straight in. Getting the foundations right is like checking the route before heading out on a road trip, but you’ll still need to put in the hours and check directions from time to time.

You can use tools like ours to assist with social media monitoring. Follow relevant influencers and start contributing to the conversation. Stay respectful and focus on adding value – not trying to score direct sales. Your social media presence will be a success in no time.

Use these 5 tips to help you with brand promotion! 

A version of this article originally appeared on our UK blog.