There are all sorts of overnight social media success stories that result in a million followers—and millions of dollars of product sold. However enticing those stories are, they are the exception to the rule. Most social media marketing efforts take time, although there are some tools of the trade that can be applied to achieve stronger results faster.

 

So what exactly is a “good” result? “Results can be defined differently for different companies,” says social media strategist Beth Granger. “Early results may be eyes or clicks on content, while success over time can mean more purchases, email sign-ups or phone calls from customers. It’s about consistency, monitoring, experimenting and waiting until clear patterns emerge.”

 

Jeremy Goldman, founder and CEO of Firebrand Group, LLC, a digital branding and marketing consultancy, agrees. One of the biggest mistakes he sees is small businesses giving up on social media if they don’t get immediate satisfaction. “They’ll go whole hog with social media for a few weeks,” he says. “When it doesn’t result in a drastic uptick in followers or sales, businesses may give up, rather than look into the reasons why they have not yet been successful.”

 

Clearly, when it comes to social media, patience and practice are a virtue. But what if waiting is not your strong suit? Here are three tips from the experts to help speed up your social results:

 

Keep Track of Timing

 

You may start by “winging it”—posting what you can, when you can—but it won’t take long before you discover that you need to plan it out. Decide which types of content will be of greatest value to customers and distribute it at the right times for them to consume it. If you are a retailer with a big Saturday sale, try posting on Thursday and Friday evenings, when customers are home from work and thinking about their weekend plans. If you are an attorney specializing in commercial licensing, posting during the workday may be most appropriate.

 

Study your social media analytics to discover when you get more traffic, followers and inquiries. The more qualified prospects you reach at the right time, the quicker the results from your social media efforts.

 

Develop a Segmentation Strategy

The goal isn’t to see how high your numbers can go—it’s to attract genuine prospects and customers to build authentic relationships that result in more sales and repeat business.

 

Your prime customer is 45, male and consumed with sports. So why are you avidly posting on Pinterest? “Know what makes each platform special and select those that will home in on your target audience,” says Mimi Banks, founder of social media agency MB Social. She points out that Instagram is great for branding, but Facebook is more effective for driving potential customers to a company website. Top picks for B2B marketers are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and SlideShare.

 

While you may want to get a toehold on all of these platforms, the key to getting faster results is to resist the temptation to rule the entire social media world. Concentrate on building a strong presence with one or two platforms that have the potential to yield the greatest return.

 

Promote Your Posts

 

No question, this is one of the fastest ways to get results. The more you spend on the right platforms with the right message, the higher the numbers will climb. However, keep in mind that the goal isn’t to see how high your numbers can go—it’s to attract genuine prospects and customers to build authentic relationships that result in more sales and repeat business.

For this reason, many small businesses take the time to grow their followers organically before investing in paid promotion. They start small and experiment with different techniques and platforms to drive traffic and build momentum. One important tip: No matter how anxious you are for rapid results, don’t resort to buying fans and followers. The practice, called “cherry blossoming,” will do nothing for your business and can be damaging to your reputation, not to mention your wallet.

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