Businesses are past the point of wondering if they should be on social media. They know that having a Facebook page (and perhaps one or two other social media accounts) is necessary, but beyond that, many don’t have a clue how to get started, much less turn their social media efforts into a profit-generating activity.

How do you get real, live, PAYING customers from your social media efforts? Is this even possible?

My answer: most definitely! Here are my top tips on how to find prospects on social media and turn them into community members, paying customers and brand apostles.

Tip #1 – MONITOR Social Media Traffic

We all want social media followers who are actively using the internet, and social media specifically, to find products or services.

One of the best ways to find potential customers or clients on social media is simply to use the social media site’s search function. Additionally, nearly all social media content management software has a search feature.

Run searches for:

• Your own hashtags, your competitor’s hashtags and industry-related hashtags
• Your business name
• Your competitors’ business names
• Your city or region along with your product category (for instance, “mechanic Orlando”)
• Your product or service category and “recommendation” (for instance, ‘web designer recommendation’)

Once you’ve found potential customers, you can answer questions they have asked, suggest products related to their search, or simply just follow them.

Tip #2 – MATCH E-mail Addresses to Public Social Media Accounts

If you already have a significant database of email subscribers, you’re in luck. Many email management services will allow you to access the publicly available social data of your email subscribers.

If your email software doesn’t have this option, there are independent services that will allow you to upload a .csv list of your email subscribers, and find all public social media accounts associated with those emails. is one such company (I have no personal or financial relationship with the Company).

Having a list like this is pure marketing GOLD! You already know your email subscribers are interested in your business, and you likely already have some data on their purchasing behaviors. Combine this with their social media information and you can:

  • • Get a good idea of exactly where your most valuable customers or clients ‘hang out’
  • • Follow and interact with them on social media
  • • Personalize your social media strategy based on subscriber behaviors

Tip #3 – ASK Your Current Customers Where They are on Social Media

This may seem obvious, but have you ever actually done it? Many business owners know to tell their customers how to find them on social media (‘Like us on Facebook’), but then neglect to ASK which social networking sites THEY use.

For brick and mortar businesses, include a line on contest entry forms or feedback forms for customers to write links to their social media profiles. For online businesses, be sure to include a field on your contact form and email opt-in form.

You can also ask your email subscribers where you can find them online: their website or blog urls as well as their social media profiles.

Tip #4 – KNOW the Demographics of Various Social Networks.

Another basic tip, but one that often gets neglected, is assuming Facebook and Twitter are the best sites for all businesses.

I know you don’t have time to be active on all the major sites, so it’s critical that you know exactly where your target (read: paying) customers are. One way to do this is to understand the demographics of each network and make a conscious effort to focus your efforts strategically on the network with the greatest potential return.

For instance, if your target market is educated women under the age of 50, Pinterest will be well worth your time. Teens and 20-somethings? You’ll likely have the best luck on Instagram. Do your research to determine where you target market is most likely to be, and find followers who are actually likely to buy your product or pay for your services.

Finding your potential prospects on social media isn’t all that difficult. It just takes a little bit of time and ingenuity. Finding current and potential customers or clients who are likely to actually spend money with your company is a whole different thing. Hopefully, the tips I have shared with can help you do just that.