Social media con­tin­ues to surge as a chan­nel for busi­ness­es to mar­ket them­selves and engage with cus­tomers. And with its con­tin­ued growth and pop­u­lar­i­ty, there’s no short­age of social media “how-to” advice out there direct­ed at busi­ness­es try­ing to scale up.

If you make it a point to keep up with social media trends, you’ve like­ly found at least some over­lap in these tips—but every so often, there are uncon­ven­tion­al or uncom­mon prac­tices that can lead to great results. As experts in social media mar­ket­ing, the mem­bers of Young Entre­pre­neur Coun­cil shared their most sur­pris­ing social media tips—that tru­ly work—and how you can take advan­tage for your busi­ness.

1. Interact With Your Followers

It may seem obvi­ous, but many busi­ness­es focus only on pro­mot­ing their prod­ucts or ser­vices and shar­ing con­tent and for­get to inter­act with their fol­low­ers. Inter­act­ing with your fol­low­ers will help you increase engage­ment and help you to build stronger rela­tion­ships with your cus­tomers and tar­get audi­ence. One of the coolest parts of social media is that it gives you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak direct­ly to your tar­get audi­ence, so take advan­tage of it. You can find out direct­ly from your audi­ence what they think of your busi­ness, what their goals are, what their biggest strug­gles are and so on. All of this is infor­ma­tion that can help you build a bet­ter busi­ness. So, be sure to start con­ver­sa­tions with users in your posts, likes and com­ments, and reply to them as well. — Stephanie Wells, For­mi­da­ble Forms

2. Work With Micro-Influencers

We are attract­ed to the idea of our prod­uct reach­ing a broad audi­ence through influ­encers. How­ev­er, micro-influ­encers are much more effec­tive at cre­at­ing a long-tail ROI. Instead of focus­ing on big-name influ­encers, look for small­er chan­nels with an audi­ence that aligns with your cus­tomer per­sonas. The peo­ple fol­low­ing micro-influ­encers are much more engaged with the cre­ator and, in turn, are more like­ly to check out your web­site when it pops up in their feed. For instance, if you run a busi­ness that sells make­up, you’re going to want to look for niche health and beau­ty micro-influ­encers. — Syed Balkhi, WPBe­gin­ner

3. Pay Attention To What Your Audience Wants

As a busi­ness own­er, I use Pin­ter­est dai­ly to con­nect with my audi­ence. Pin­ning between 30 to 50 times per day with 20% of my own blog con­tent and 80% from oth­er pro­files has helped me build an engaged email list. In fact, I gen­er­ate any­where between 30 and 35 email sub­scribers dai­ly from Pin­ter­est alone by pin­ning rel­e­vant con­tent that my audi­ence wants. Cre­at­ing visu­al­ly aes­thet­ic pins with strong text over­lay head­lines and calls to action is the best way to attract web­site traf­fic and gen­er­ate email sub­scribers. — Kristin Kim­ber­ly Mar­quet, Mar­quet Media, LLC

4. Choose The Right Channel

One sur­pris­ing social media tip is to stick to the best plat­form. While hav­ing Face­book, Insta­gram, Twit­ter and LinkedIn pages may seem ben­e­fi­cial, odds are that not all of these plat­forms are giv­ing busi­ness­es the same amount of web traf­fic or sales. When you stick to the best plat­form for you, the one that’s per­form­ing the most and reach­ing goals, you can bring in even more sales. Some busi­ness­es don’t ben­e­fit from Face­book, and that’s okay, but spend­ing more mon­ey try­ing to make some­thing work that isn’t can be detri­men­tal to busi­ness­es.  — Richard Fong, Bliss Dri­ve

5. Cross-Promote Your Social Profiles

Pro­mot­ing your social media is just as impor­tant as cre­at­ing valu­able con­tent and post­ing reg­u­lar­ly. Algo­rithms change too often, so you can­not rely on people’s feed. You must pro­mote your social media chan­nels. Here’s one thing peo­ple tend to ignore: If some­body watch­es your YouTube videos, that doesn’t mean they vis­it your blog or fol­low you on Insta­gram. Cross-pro­mot­ing your social media pro­files is a real oppor­tu­ni­ty, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort. You can add links to your oth­er social media pro­files in your YouTube video descrip­tion or add a link to your blog in your Insta­gram bio. This real­ly worked for our busi­ness. — Solomon Thi­mothy, OneIMS

Cross-Promote Your Social Profiles

6. Remarket Via Social Media

Social media and remar­ket­ing are pow­er­ful. Are you spend­ing on tar­get­ing new clients on search, calls and offline media? This is also for you. New client tar­get­ing will nev­er achieve the pin­point accu­ra­cy of those who have already expressed on your site. If you have a lot of traf­fic already, this is ampli­fied. Build a remar­ket­ing list even if it’s not ready to launch. Lat­er, you’ll want to have that remar­ket­ing data for Google, Bing, Face­book, etc. The adver­tis­ing you spend on one plat­form will build remar­ket­ing lists for oth­er plat­forms with every vis­i­tor. 4LegalLeads is results-focused, but there is huge brand uplift when vis­i­tors con­tin­ue to see you as they scroll Insta­gram feeds or browse CNN. Con­ver­sion is bet­ter. Costs are low­er. Seg­ments by user behav­ior offer end­less poten­tial. — Vince Wingert­er, 4LegalLeads.com

7. ‘Spy’ On Your Competitors

Social media is a great way to keep an eye on your com­peti­tors. You can see what is work­ing or not work­ing for them, how they are inter­act­ing with their cus­tomers and what trends they are cre­at­ing and fol­low­ing. While you don’t want to copy them under any cir­cum­stances, it helps to see what the oth­er team is doing some­times. Specif­i­cal­ly, I will often con­duct a com­peti­tor analy­sis to learn from my com­peti­tor’s suc­cess­es and fail­ures. I use it as a type of self-analy­sis to see what I can work on to reach my own spe­cif­ic goals. There are some great com­peti­tor tools out there, too—for exam­ple, Social Blade, Sprout Social, SEM­Rush and Ahrefs (which I per­son­al­ly use). In short, “spy­ing” on your com­pe­ti­tion can help you fine-tune your own mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy in fun and dynam­ic ways. — Shu Saito, Godai

8. Take A Unique Approach To Each Platform

It’s impor­tant to rec­og­nize that every social media plat­form attracts a dis­tinct crowd that’s unique to it. That means some­thing that works real­ly well on Twit­ter isn’t like­ly to achieve sim­i­lar results on oth­er plat­forms like Pin­ter­est, for instance. I learned ear­ly on that in order to max­i­mize returns from invest­ments in social media, it’s cru­cial to deal with each space in a dif­fer­ent way to match its unique vibe, and the good news is, it does­n’t take too long to under­stand what that is. Things like char­ac­ter lim­it and mul­ti­me­dia restric­tions are built-in and will give you a good idea of where to start, and how to pro­ceed. But it also helps to study indus­try lead­ers to see what works for them and think of ways to cus­tomize and opti­mize your posts in a dif­fer­ent way, for each plat­form. — Abeer Raza, TekRevol

9. Focus On Building A Personal Brand

Cus­tomer pref­er­ences have changed, and brands are no longer viewed as brick-and-mor­tar enti­ties. Per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of brands leads to high­er engage­ment across the dif­fer­ent social media chan­nels, and the best way to achieve that is by build­ing a strong, val­ue-based per­son­al brand. It helps the con­sumers con­nect with the brand in an organ­ic man­ner. Know­ing the faces behind the brand helps forge more inti­mate con­nec­tions. Giv­ing behind-the-scenes glimpses into what goes into build­ing your brand makes it relat­able and appeal­ing to the audi­ence. Per­son­al brand­ing as a means of estab­lish­ing thought lead­er­ship also serves to sky­rock­et your­self as an indus­try expert. It builds your net­work as well as your cred­i­bil­i­ty. When you share con­tent that adds val­ue, reach and engage­ment grow organ­i­cal­ly. — Rahul Varsh­neya, Curve­Break

10. Market With Authenticity And Passion

Social media is part of near­ly every­one’s dai­ly lives, and entre­pre­neurs and busi­ness­es alike have latched onto it in order to mar­ket them­selves and engage with customers—some more suc­cess­ful­ly than oth­ers. I have found that the best way to use social media mar­ket­ing is to be authen­tic and pas­sion­ate about what I post. Every­thing I put up on my pages needs to reflect me. Show­ing off my prod­ucts, ideas and lifestyle is good, but when those things are your pas­sions as well, it’s not dif­fi­cult to be authen­tic, which is what your fol­low­ers want. They want a win­dow into your life; it makes what I have and what I do attain­able and allows me to cre­ate con­sis­tent­ly good con­tent. Addi­tion­al­ly, across my social media, I keep my brand­ing uni­form. This helps me cross-pro­mote myself on plat­forms. — David Chen, Share­bert

11. Forget ‘Best Practices’ And Just Be Yourself

I actu­al­ly teach social media strate­gies because I took all of the cours­es and went to all of the sem­i­nars and learned very quick­ly what was miss­ing. Social media is a place to grow togeth­er, build com­mu­ni­ties and lever­age our own strengths to help each oth­er. For­get the need to be per­fect 100% of the time. For­get the flaw­less wall aes­thet­ic on Insta­gram and the rehearsed videos that are sup­pos­ed­ly “live.” Be your most authen­tic self and show­case your brand in a way that invites the com­mu­ni­ty in, instead of going to the likes and com­ments. Every few posts, post some­thing that you can’t mea­sure the ROI on, because that’s what grows your account and con­nects your tar­get mar­ket to your brand. For­get every­thing you know and focus on the rela­tion­ship, not the met­rics. — Klyn Els­bury, Shark School

SOURCE: Forbes