Here’s how the last brand conscious consumer bought a unique handmade piece of jewellery on social media.

They went onto Instagram where their favourite celebrity or influencer showed off her new earrings by a new designer. They followed the link to the designer’s Instagram page where they found their Whatsapp number and sent them a photo of the piece they would like.

After confirming the price, they paid via EFT or eWallet and Whatsapp’d back the proof of payment and waited for the courier delivery. When they got their earrings, they went back onto Instagram to post a picture of their new pair, which inspired her followers to visit the designer’s Instagram.

There has been strong upsurge in the number of small businesses that have built their growth, purely on social media. On such example is Ntozinhle Jewellery and Dainty Frocks, who although have established premises, have largely grown their popularity on the strength of the effort on social media.

But growing a following is only half the work. Refilwe Khumalo, entrepreneur and executive coach, says an online brand awareness strategy should focus on educating your potential customer on the benefits of adopting your product or service. “Once you have the attention of potential clients, you should strive to build a long-term relationship with them to convert them from one time buyers to a repeat customers with brand loyalty.”

Building and having a presence on social media also enables you to strategically craft your desired brand perception, and build your reputation and credibility. Khumalo recommends the following tips for growing your following:

Assess your brand

It’s important to take into account what type of brand you are. Define your brand personality and consider the demographics of your potential consumers when developing your social media advertising strategy.

Begin by assessing who your target market is and then researching which social platforms they frequent. For example, if you are a cool brand targeting a younger market that has access to multiple social media platforms, it may not be necessary to be on LinkedIn.

Tailor make content

Different content resonates better on different platforms, so what works on Facebook may not work on Twitter. Also the consumers that follow your brand on Twitter are likely to differ from your audience on LinkedIn. So, always ensure that you create content that works on the specific platform and speaks directly to that audience, while staying true to your brand personality and key message.

Do not over share

It’s important to strike a balance between being informative and annoying. The fastest way to get people to unfollow you is to over share content. According to research done by American company Socialbakers, top brands average on one post per day. On Twitter, it is best to post up to four times a day, twice a day on Instagram, and once a day on LinkedIn and Google+.

Share relevant content

Khumalo says you shouldn’t share everything that the company gets up to on social media. She suggests applying the WIIFTC strategy. Always ask yourself: what’s in it for the customer?

Customers are more likely to engage with your brand on social media if they feel the brand cares about them. Avoid brand narcissistic syndrome – where you as a brand focus solely on yourself and not what customers stand to gain.

Share quality content

It is crucial that you invest in quality content curation, which you can do by researching what kind of content are your audiences more receptive to. Look at the kind of content that is working on your competitor’s social media, both locally and globally. Remember to always stay true to your brand’s purpose and story because consumers connect well to brands that are authentic. Also avoid posting poor quality images as this is an indication of the quality of your brand.

Be consistent

Have a clear strategy outlining how often you plan to post on each social media platform. Strive to post on the same day at the same time each week, as customers will then know when to expect content from your brand.