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How Small Business & Agency Owners Can Find New Customers via Social Media

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According to an Ambassador study, 71% consumers who have a great brand experience on social media tend to recommend the brand to friends and relatives. Social media is ripe with opportunity to grow your business. If you’re a small business or agency owner, you can find new customers via social media and save a lot of money otherwise spent on advertising or sales. How?

We asked small business and agency owners and digital marketers how they found new customers via social media, and here’s what they had to say. Real value in organic content, a reliable social media management tool and smartly targeted social media ads can bring you new customers. But before we delve into the strategies they shared, here is the question that was posed to them.

What are the two best ways to find new customers via social media?



Joe Sinkwitz
CEO at Intellifluence

Expert advice:

Use data that already readily exists. Look at who follows your competitors and approach them, or work with a list of complimentary companies.

“While I’ve written a book on the subject, having found new customers over social in a variety of ways for thousands of clients, I’d like to discuss a slightly different angle that I don’t believe I’ve seen written about nearly enough: using data that already readily exists.

Let’s say you’re a brand new software tool that is in a new product market segment, so you cannot use social media to look at who follows your competitors and approach them. Instead, what you’d do is think about what other tools your new software solution compliments and start building a list of websites that use those tools on Builtwith. After filtering down to the most likely scenarios, you can then run the domain list through Clearbit to determine the social profiles and possible email addresses of these prospects.

Next, the choice becomes taking an inbound or an outbound approach: if you prefer outbound you’re able to take the Twitter accounts and load them into a custom ad targeting these individuals, playing to the benefits of your software for those already running the other tools you identified and letting the ad run; for a more inbound approach you might load all these Twitter profiles into a Twitter list and begin interacting and positively commenting on their own social posts, building up the relationships necessary to cultivate sales.

Software is just an example; I’ve seen this technique used in a wide variety of industries. With enough imagination and understanding of the market you want to target, you can scale the concept with great success.”

Alexandra Cote
Digital Marketing Manager at Paymo

Expert advice:

Always know your audience. You can only turn your audience into leads if you can offer value. And value is different for each buyer persona.

“One easy strategy of finding new customers is by creating and sharing engaging content. You can either write new articles and share them on your social media platforms of choice or create exclusive social media content. Some ideas for unique content you can easily post to websites such as Facebook or Twitter include fun facts, thank-you messages, tips and tricks, product presentations, customer interviews, photos from your office, pictures with your team, and more. We’ve recently started testing sharing useful content by introducing a new term every other day. So far the engagement rates are higher but what we’re doing to bring possible leads to our website is adding a link to the article in which we discussed that specific term. This way people can learn a new word and find out more about it at the same time.

However, content is not limited to blog posts. Videos are starting to be favored more often on social media. The catch is that sharing videos from YouTube is not the same as posting a unique video directly onto a social media network. This why sharing our own YouTube videos on Facebook didn’t work that much for us compared to the engagement that sharing a motivational speech from another Facebook account brought.

Another tip would be to always know your audience. You can only turn your audience into leads if you can offer value. And value is different for each buyer persona. Customer targeting is vital for social media campaigns. You can take a look at your insights to see which kinds of users usually interact with your content and which types of content they like.

But if you don’t yet have any data, you can start by analyzing the data from your other channels: website visitors, email list, client database, etc.

If you have no data sources at all, create an ideal audience. These are the people for whom you’ve created your brand or service to begin with. If nothing else works, just look at what your competitors are doing and the people they’re targeting.

The problem is that your ideal audience might not even be active on the social media channels you’re promoting on. Even so, no social media accounts should be deleted. Make sure you test some social media networks to see where your audience is and what’s working for each one of them.”

Ian McClarty
President & CEO at PhoenixNAP

Expert advice:

Social media comes down to engagement. Whether it’s “Likes” on a photo, a “Retweet” of a blog post, or a .gif response used to humanize your company, it’s essential to monitor and promote engagement.

“Any business that is not using social media in their marketing plan is missing out on an inexpensive opportunity to engage directly with their customers.

The strategy is simple: build an authentic audience, engage with your users, educate and inform, and promote when reasonable. If the thought process is that social media can be something set on auto-pilot, you’re missing the point of why this industry is thriving.

Social media comes down to engagement. Whether it’s “Likes” on a photo, a “Retweet” of a blog post, or a .gif response used to humanize your company, it’s essential to monitor and promote engagement. The more engaged your user-base is, the more successful the opportunity becomes to have your customers act as your evangelists. Who better to talk about your business, your products, or your brand than those who already love and use what you offer.

However, don’t forget about those valuable people. You want to make sure that you keep your base engaged and excited. Offer referral programs, special offers, and exclusivity opportunities and watch your audience grow into a promotional powerhouse.”

Brandon Chopp
Digital Manager at iheartraves

Expert advice:

Work with influencers who make a good culture fit both online and offline. Have influencers cover relevant events live on social media.

“At iHeartRaves, we’re curators of print clothing and world leaders in festival fashion. We currently gross over $20M a year and we’ve been featured in the Inc. 5000 four years in a row. We’ve amassed over 397K followers on our iHeartRaves Instagram page. We like to use influencers as part of our digital marketing strategy. Our target audience includes fashion oriented people who attend music festivals and enjoy electronic dance music. We engage in influencer marketing in a variety of ways. We find popular accounts who meet our criteria for selection, and we start a conversation to gauge whether or not it’s a good fit.

Often times, we will send one of our products to an influencer for free, in exchange for an honest review that is posted to their blog or social media followers. In the case of Instagram, this leads to a ton of new followers for us, as well as sales. For us, the most important element of an influencer package aside from cultural fit is the overall reach of their blog or social media accounts. We measure our return on investment based on the number of new followers we receive, the number of impressions we receive, how much referral traffic we get, and of course – how many sales come as a result of the campaign.

In terms of content, we send ambassadors to music festivals to cover the events live. We also post photos of influencers, ambassadors, and team members wearing our outfits. In addition, we post plenty of sales and discounts.”

Maggie Berghoff
Virtual Health Consultant at

Expert advice:

Be the person you want to attract, or you will bring in followers, but they will not convert to customers.

“I am a licensed nurse practitioner, functional medicine clinician, and celebrity health expert. My entire business is run from instagram – I don’t do any paid advertising at all.

My top tip for finding customers via social media is using is as a business tool! Yes, I think that picture of you and your girlfriends drinking margs at the beach is adorable, too, but it’s not going to get you customers. Also think of your social media platform as a business card – what do you want them to know about you? What type of person do you want to attract? Once you know those answers, every post must be geared toward that person in your mind you want to bring in as a customer. If they are elite CEOs in NYC, don’t be posting pictures of you and your baby snuggling on the couch every morning. Be the person you want to attract, or you will bring in followers, but they will not convert to customers.

One example I have is bringing in the wrong customers once I had my baby boy. Of course I was obsessed with him (still am!!), but posting a picture of me and my baby every two seconds, and having him pop into my instagram stories all the time was attracting mommy bloggers and stay at home moms. I have a very exclusive luxury health brand, and work with the high-performers of the world. I was attracting the wrong customers by posting these photos. Instead, I still included my baby (which is fine!) but only about once in each visual grid. AND the photos become more professional mommy & me photos rather than a blurry iphone snapshot. My feed became visually appealing, high-end, and professional, which is exactly the type of person I then began attracting consistently. ”

Phil Singleton
Agency Owner at KCWebDesigner

Expert advice:

Generate top 10 lists for target clients and focus on creating content targeted at them.

“My favorite strategy for generating leads and new business via social media is to generate top 10 lists for target clients. We research and find 20+ prospective clients in a given give niche and create an optimized title, a long form blog post, and optimize for SEO. Keep in mind, we only rank 10 event though we target more (you will find out why below).

The true gold comes from sharing and tagging the post on social media, especially on LinkedIn (by tagging founders and marketing team), Facebook (by tagging the company) and Twitter (by tagging the company). People really love the recognition and will engage and share this kind of post..The social interaction often draws an inbound request, and in some cases generates a lead, or at least a chance at some level of collaboration with the target client.

But it doesn’t stop there.In most cases, we can get these lists to rank on Google.

Once that happens, we often get inbound leads from other companies that want to be on the list. Remember above where we find 20+ target clients? Now is the time we reach out to the ones not on the list and ask if they would like to be included. This really opens the door for a marketing conversation, because the “”give”” is so valuable.

Examples would include:

National: Top 10 Content Marketing Tools 2018
Screenshot 2018-07-04 19.25.04
Local: Top 10 Kansas City Advertising Agencies

Screenshot 2018-07-04 19.26.33


Seriously, this method works really well, and it’s the social tagging at the beginning that helps open the door, and even power some of the SEO.”

My pic
Ashish Goswami
SEO Specialist at Zestard

Expert advice:

Retarget your website visitors on their social media accounts such as Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter.

“You’re browsing for something on Amazon; then you suddenly see advertisements for the same product on your social media profile.

Retargeting also referred to as remarketing, is a means of targeting those who’ve interacted with you previously (by visiting your site, filling in a form online, etc.).

With the help of Google Analytics, I use to target those people who’ve visited my website and hasn’t done any financial transaction. With the help of Google Analytics, I will come to know their social media profile, and I can show them again whatever pages or products they’ve seen on my site. On their social media accounts such as Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter.

The most common way to retarget individuals is by installing a tracking code on your website. By way of instance, by installing the Facebook Pixel on your site, you can track what pages on your website folks visit, the length of time they spend on those web pages and so forth.

The Facebook Pixel permits you to make smart retargeting campaigns, so that do not just target individuals who visit your site, however, retarget individuals based on their behavior on your website.

Another way you may retarget people is through your email database. By way of instance, on Facebook and LinkedIn you can upload or sync a listing of your prospects or customers to retarget them.

There are many other tricks you may find on the internet to retarget your website visitors on their social media profiles.

It is a lot easier to sell something to an existing client than it is to sell something to someone who has never bought anything from you before.”

Brittany EB Hardy
Owner at Empty Desk Solutions

Expert advice:

ENGAGE with your audience. As you continuously build your audience on your various social media platforms, take the time to share meaningful and valuable content.

“We are actually a social media marketing company, so we have quite the range of experience with this one.

Our top TWO strategies are as follows:

ENGAGE with your audience. As you continuously build your audience on your various social media platforms, take the time to share meaningful and valuable content. Share things that show a behind the scenes look or more personal items here and there so that your customers and potential customers can develop more of a relationship with you or your brand. Reply to comments and messages and always ‘be human!’.

Use a tool to optimize your ads. There’s no sense in spending a bazillion dollars on ads that aren’t effective. Find a tool that will help you analyze the conversion and improvements you can made on your ads. And don’t forget to initiate a follow-up sequence so you can nurture your leads. People are rarely ‘ready to buy’ right then and there. Success is in the follow-up!”

Photos of Jennifer, president of The Cat Ball, LLC.

Jennifer Boaro
COO at The Cat Ball

Expert advice:

Social media accounts offer your potential customers two ways to access you: passive contact (SEO) and active contact (the content you post). Use both fully.

“My business is in a unique niche: we design and make cat beds. We’ve started our social media focus on Instagram, and are now branching outmore on Facebook and Twitter.

Social media accounts offer your potential customers two ways to access you: passive contact and active contact. The passive contact is everything in your identity, profile, logo, banner images and contact information that users can locate on their own. Active contact is your posts and interaction with the public. We started by focusing on how and what we were offering in passive contact, and our first step was to make sure we were consistent. We edited the user names on each account so that they were the same. We want it to be obvious to users that they’ve reached the correct account, and to make it easy for them to find us everywhere. Our logo is also consistent.

Next we learned more about the SEO tools available on each social media platform, for example on Instagram the “username” is the @usernameon Instagram, and this text is searchable. Instagram offers another searchabletext section in your account, the “name”. This is the text in bold. To make our Instagram account more searchable, we carefully crafted the text in this “name”field so our account would populate in relevant searches. These searches are picked up by Google searches as well as on the Instagram app. Facebook offerseven more options for potential customers to learn more about your business through the passive tools, so we try to use them fully. All of this work pays off, because it makes it clear that you’re a legitimate business, and the contact information you’re including comes up in web searches: your social media profiles are an important of your business SEO.

Our next step on Instagram was to start posting excellent content so we had a lively feed full of engaging photos. This was also a time to start learning more about Instagram hashtag strategy. Once our feed started to look good, we began to start to engage with other users who we thought might like our products. We found that sincere engagement was the best way to go, sowe paid attention to who we were talking to. We also used a lot of humor and posted compliments. Instagram now also allows you to reply to comments, so now we also engage by replying to comments, rather than to the original post. “

Jake Mastrandrea
Head of Marketing at

Expert advice:

Reach prospects where they’re comfortable and with content that doesn’t disrupt their experience on that channel.

“Social is a great way to find your ideal client in a non intrusive way. First thing is first…Know your personas.

1. Where are they? – which platforms?

Reach prospects where they’re comfortable and with content that doesn’t disrupt their experience on that channel. i.e don’t force feed long form content to your audience if consumption preference skews towards bite sized, snackable content. E.x Dwell time on Youtube is much greater than that of instagram. Produce content accordingly.

A great first step is surveying your client list. Which publications do they read? Which channels are they on? Push content through these mediums that does not sell them anything. It may sound counterintuitive but conceptually this shakes hands with the law of 7. Clients will see your content (cross platforms), 7 times before they make any purchasing decisions. Building trust is paramount. An amazing way to do that is by showing that you’re willing to do the heavy lifting. Providing value upfront and over delivering shows that if they give you their business, it’s understood the culture of your company goes the extra mile to assure they are more than satisfied with you and their decision to work with you.

So how do you figure out what content is valuable or what you should put in front of them?

2. Social listening/ what are they saying?

Once you’ve done a full industry wise social audit, diving into content strategy and production is a great continuing initiative. This caveat is that this process is never done. Keeping tabs on streams of content produced by people in your industry, and streams of the interests and values of your customers will help you keep a finger on the pulse of your personas.

*Bonus: Networking through social is an excellent way to build relationships with prospective clients or partners. Especially if you’ve built an audience and have earned clout in your space. This process is meticulous but if done correctly (and consistently) the ROI is uncapped. ”

Mike Khorev
Growth Lead at Nine Peaks Media

Expert advice:

Targeting lookalike audience on social media works well, especially when you have an email database for your customers.

“You will find a lot of articles on organic ways to find customers like engaging on Facebook groups related to your industry, etc. But in my opinion and based on my experience, there are three effective strategies to find new customers via social media:

  • Paid advertising campaigns
  • Remarketing campaigns
  • Targeting lookalike audience

Running paid advertising campaigns is the most effective and scalable way which I’ve used with some of my clients in the past. For example, say you are a hair salon business, you can use the advanced targeting features on Facebook Ads (or other major social media platforms) to target females in your area, where you can specify age, interests, specific keywords, and the groups they are in (hair related, beauty related, etc.).

With remarketing, we can target people who have visited your site in the past with Facebook and Twitter ads. So, say you decided on showing remarketing ads to those who have booked your service on your website after one month. Remarketing works by getting a code snippet from Facebook and/or Twitter and putting it to your site. This way, Facebook and Twitter can find your site visitors on their platforms, and show them your remarketing ads.

For the third strategy, targeting lookalike audience, this will work if you have an email database for your customers (or you can build it based on your website visitors). You can upload this list to Facebook and Twitter, and the platforms will find lookalike audience automatically (those with the same interests, joined the same groups, etc.). So, this way you can target people who have never heard about you in the past and direct them to your Facebook group or site where you can give introduction offers like discounts, free services, etc.”

Rachel Lindteigen
President/Founder at Etched Marketing

Expert advice:

Don’t set out to find customers. Provide value and help and answer questions.

“I’ve found several great customers on social media recently. My tip – I don’t set out to find customers. I provide value and help and answer questions. I’m active in a few Facebook groups where my ideal target audience spends their time and when they have questions about what I do, I try to give them the right guidance and help answer their question. I don’t pop in and say, “Hey, I teach this in my class” or “Oh, you can hire me to do this for you”. Instead, I answer the question and provide value for them and others in the group.

I’ve had people tag me in posts where someone needed my services because they knew what I offered. I’ve had other people search through the group posts when they needed to hire someone who does what I do and they’ve then connected with me because they saw that I knew what I was doing and provided value to others in the group. I’m in SEO and Digital Marketing and a lot of people are trying to sell themselves as SEO experts with only a tiny bit of experience. I’ve done it for years and it shows when I answer people’s questions.
Provide value and in time, people will get to know you and the business will come. I’ve signed numerous clients because I answered people’s questions and provided guidance when they needed help. I don’t think anyone I answered questions for hired me but other people did because of the help I gave to someone else.”

Eric Johnson
Digital Marketer at Feedback Wrench

Expert advice:

If you give away real value for free, then you’ll convince people that the product you’re asking them to pay for is worth the money. Providing real value in social media posts.

“The best way to find customers on social is simple – providing real value to them in the things that you post. Lots of social media advertisers and marketers put all of their efforts into getting clicks on their ads, but this kind of strategy can easily lead to a whole lot of untargeted traffic.

By focusing on the actual content within your post or on the page that you’re linking to, you’ll make potential customers feel as if you genuinely have something that’s worth sharing. If you’ll give away real value for free, then you’ll convince people that the product you’re asking them to pay for is worth the money.

After realizing that photographers were an ideal client for my company, I put together a blog post that spilled just about everything that I would recommend a photographer do to get started with digital marketing.

I didn’t hold back key tidbits and didn’t ask for any kind of reward (contact information, etc.) from the people reading the post in order for them to get the full value of it. After posting the link to this article on social media, we received more feedback than we ever had before in regards to a blog post.

This simple post generated three new leads, one eventual client, and lots of social media buzz. It was all because we decided that giving away value is the best way to market on social.”


Jean Ginzburg
CEO and Founder at Ginball

Expert advice:

The two strategies that are working best now are Facebook ads, which is a paid strategy, and Instagram posts, which is an organic strategy.

“The two strategies that are working best now are Facebook ads and Instagram posts. Facebook ads is a paid strategy, while Instagram posts is an organic strategy. To start the process to execute, you would first need to identify your ideal target market. We would be using the information from the ideal target market to find our audiences on both Facebook and Instagram. Identify your target market’s age, gender, geolocation, their challenges and pain points and how your product or service addresses those pain points.

To execute on the Facebook ad, create a video with valuable content as your ad unit. Next create a Facebook ad by targeting a specific audience from the information from your ideal target market findings. Add in your video, marketing copy, headline and a call to action. Run the ad for users to find you and engage with your content. For the Instagram posts strategy, create an image and copy about your business or your personal brand. Post it to Instagram and then use hashtags to find the right audiences based on your findings from your ideal target market. Content under hashtags is discoverable on Instagram by new users. For both strategies, social media is the first step in finding prospects and nurturing them to become paying customers.”


Some small business and agency owners find real customers through real value in organic content while others rely on remarketing and ads. What’s worked best for you? Tell us to be included on this post.

If you’re not sure what to apply for your business, run social media marketing experiments and work with the strategy that suits your company and audience the best.

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2 thoughts on “How Small Business & Agency Owners Can Find New Customers via Social Media”

  1. Eric Johnson July 9, 2018

    Thanks Disha! This was an amazing post filled with so many valuable insights – I’m looking forward to taking some strategies presented here into my next social campaigns.

    1. Disha Dinesh July 10, 2018

      Yeah, I’m excited about this one too. Thanks for contributing, Eric!

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