It’s great knowing you have thousands of people following your Facebook business page. But are they translating to sales? If you’re not converting your followers to customers, here are a few tips to help you benefit from your presence on social media channels.

1 – Know your target audience. The shotgun approach helps you to connect with a few people most of the time, but if your target audience is women between the ages of 20 and 45, it doesn’t help you if your marketing appeals more to men between 40 and 60. Knowing who you want to reach will determine your messaging.

2 – Stay Active. It takes a bit of work building a social media following, so don’t squander the opportunity. Letting your social media channels go stagnant will render you a stranger when you do start posting more regularly. But you also shouldn’t post so frequently that your followers are annoyed by your over-saturation of their feed. Every post should be a quality post geared toward getting your followers to act. Don’t forget to be responsive to their comments and messages, customer service matters most!

3 – Use automation tools. You’re running a business so you can’t be online all day. Plan your posts ahead of time with a social media/content calendar. Use the Google calendar or whatever standard calendar you use to manage your appointments and tasks and schedule your social media work there, too. Tools like Hootsuite will help you schedule and publish posts among multiple social media channels in both their free and paid versions of the platform. Automation will give you back some of the time you waste online.

4 – Offer exclusive promotions. Loyalty to your customers can really pay off. Since they’ve chosen to follow your business on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and anywhere else you’ve placed yourself, you now have a captive audience. Tell them about your 10% off Tuesdays or Social Media Sunday specials. Choose an offer tied to that social media channel. This allows you to measure the success of that particular channel by the sales tied to the offer. Data analysis is key to growing a successful business.

5 – Run Contests. Another way to connect with your followers is to run contests that encourage some type of engagement. Their engagement and sharing of your contest will allow you to connect with their friends and family. As a result, you might see a spike in your followers. Everyone loves something free, so a quarterly contest can really excite your followers and generate some growth during your seasonal downtime.

6 – Leverage social influencers. Brands are beginning to rely heavily on social media “celebrities” to market their products. Social influences are people with a large following on their social media channels. They’ve become the new spokespersons for companies willing to spend advertising dollars to have access to their followers. Its an interesting new trend and can even be applied at the micro-level. Who are the micro-influencers in your region or community? Make those connections if you haven’t already and find out how they can help you effectively promote your business.

To sum it all up, if you’re going to rely on social media for your business, you have to know how to effectively make it work for you. By knowing your target audience and remaining active on your chosen social channels, you can deliver offers to your loyal followers and convert them into customers. Time management tools like Hootsuite and workflow calendars will make it easier to schedule your contests and promotions and allow you to spend more time offering your customers the service they expect.