Marketing your business

Using social media for business

Social media can be an effective marketing tool – but if you’re not sure how to use it well, you might not achieve the results you need. Don’t worry if you feel out of the loop, this article will guide you through some tips for using social media to grow your business.

Reading time: 5-6 minutes

In this article

Benefits of social media for business

Far beyond simply helping us keep in touch, social media has become a key marketing channel for many businesses. Here are just some of the reasons why.

Increased visibility

Your social media networks are channels for your business’ voice and content. A social media presence makes your business more accessible for new customers, while also increasing your familiarity with existing customers. Through social media, your audience can easily share your content to their own communities – at no cost to you.


Social media can allow you to communicate with a large number of people in a short space of time. The barrier to entry is low, which means businesses of all shapes and sizes, across every industry, can use it.


With a social media presence, you can follow what your customers are posting about your business, your competitors, and your industry – and you can even join the conversation and learn more.

Voice of the customer

Unlike many other marketing channels, social media gives you the opportunity to have two-way conversations with your customers. You’re not just broadcasting your message to your target audience – you can ask questions, respond to comments, and build relationships.


While it is not free, social media can be cost-effective at reaching your customers and prospects, compared with other more traditional marketing channels. Read about managing your social media.

Choose your platform

There’s a huge range of social media platforms, but not all of them are going to make sense for your business. 

Before you jump in and start a posting frenzy, consider which platforms your customers use and start there. It’s important not to spread yourself too thin – abandoning a profile because you don’t have time to focus on it can be a bad look for your business.

Our guide to building an online presence covers the main social media channels and how they work.

Manage your social media

Although it doesn’t cost anything to set up, don’t make the mistake of thinking that social media is free. If you or a staff member is spending time updating your business’ social media channels, responding to posts, and creating content, that’s time not spent doing other potentially more productive things. It’s important to think about how much time spent on social media for your business is worthwhile.

Working with media and influencers

Joanna James from Bastion Amplify shares some advice on how to best work with media and influencers, as well as tips on generating more engagement through social media. Dylan Fraser-List, Content Creator at Bastion Shine, also covers some basics on creating good photo and video content for your business, with a focus on the food & beverage industry. 

Define your goals

Just like any other marketing channel you use, a clear objective for social media will help you understand why you’re taking the time and effort to post content. That’ll guide you in everything – who you’re targeting, what to post, and how to measure whether it’s working or not.


Your goal might be to:

  • Boost your online presence. Some businesses set up a Facebook profile in lieu of a website, because it’s a free, simple, and low maintenance way to house relevant business information such as opening hours and location.
  • Build better relationships with your existing customers or attract new customers.
  • Send visitors to your business’ website to help drive interaction and sales. For example, you can list the winners of a social media competition on your website, so that when you announce the end of the competition on social media, you can drive traffic to your website.

Consider paid advertising

Reaching your customers is not necessarily free. You might only reach a very small percentage of your fan base unless you pay to promote your posts. 

To reach a wider audience (including people who don’t follow your page), you may need to pay for advertising on your chosen social media channels. 

Paid advertising also allows you to target specific audiences, based on things like location, demographics and interests. This means you can pinpoint your advertising to find potential customers within your target audience.

Measure the results

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can determine how to measure the effectiveness of what you’re doing. For example, if your purpose is to drive visitors to your website, you could measure the percentage of people reached with your post who clicked through to your website as a result. 

On most platforms it’s easy to measure the basics, such as how many people you’re reaching with your posts and how many people are interacting with them (e.g. sharing and commenting). Many social media platforms have built-in tools that let you do a deeper analysis. 

Follow businesses similar to yours, and brands that you admire, to see what they’re doing well. Take a look at what makes their posts engaging and how their customers interact with the content. This could help you set some benchmarks.

Post with purpose

Think about what will engage your audience. Always ask yourself ‘why would my audience care or share this content?’. Consider going wider than just your products or services. For example, maybe you have an opinion to share about a topic in your wider industry? 

Make sure you’re thoughtful when you do this. Avoid commenting on controversial current events or disclosing political or religious affiliation unless you’re certain it won’t damage your reputation or offend followers.

Avoid the ‘hard sell’

On social media, people generally have less time for posts that push a sales agenda. The most effective business pages focus on building rapport and sharing relevant, engaging posts.

Quality over quantity

Research the optimum posting frequency for your chosen platform so you’re not over-posting and cluttering up your followers’ newsfeeds. 

Get your message across with simple, snappy wording with either an image or video – text-only posts can work on Facebook but only if they’re very engaging. 

Feel free to use emojis (if appropriate for your brand), and always double-check your spelling and punctuation before posting.

Make meaningful connections

Social media is not simply a broadcast channel, so make sure you’re talking ‘with’ your customers, not ‘at’ them. If someone posts a comment about your business, respond to show that you’ve listened and appreciate their feedback.

Trust the process

It’s worth remembering that social media marketing is a journey, not a destination, and it often takes time and effort before it starts to pay off. 

That’s why having a clear purpose is important – it’ll help you remember why you’re doing it and what success really looks like.

Digitising your business

There are many digital tools out there that can help run your business more efficiently, from accounting software to an online presence, this video looks at a few of the options.

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