It's no secret that just about everyone wants more of a social media following. A simple Google search on the benefits of social media for business yields pages of results from all of the media sources that have compiled these lists over the past few years. Increasing brand awareness is a big one, according to Inc. Magazine, so are boosting customer service, increasing sales and distributing content. While these are ways that social media can help content take off, what does it take to get social media efforts off of the ground?

Signing up and in
For starters, Forbes explained that companies should start by making goals that they'd like to achieve before launching a social media site. This sound piece of advice works for just about any new endeavor. How is a company supposed to know if its hard work is paying off if it isn't sure what it's working towards?

Business leaders, get to know your options and how to leverage each site to your advantage. These goals should evolve around what the company wants to gain. In some cases, it's to raise awareness and in others, it's to boost the bottom line. Either way, defining objectives is a start. Once you have a plan in place, it's time to bring the horses to the water.

Plenty of people suggest using the Internet to grow a social media following, but why not do something different? Companies can stand out in their social media efforts by incorporating print reinforcement. Just about everyone receives notifications and invites to "like" a Facebook page, so why not set your company apart by sending out a catalog or a letter to your client?

Mail and catalogs are different
Send out a discount card or a special offer and then ask for feedback on your Facebook or Twitter account. This will not only get people to the site, but some of them may even go to the length of posting something positive about your company. Wall Street Journal contributor Ben Rooney agreed that companies can ultimately gain more by giving something away for free. 

Freebies yield return
He made his case by exemplifying iPhone game Candy Crush Saga. It's free of charge, however, it earned the company its massive following. What's more, it's suggested that the company has made some money because its holding company Midasplayer International Holding Co. was expected to start planning an IPO – an indicator that a business is doing well, typically.

Companies that give away freebies are able to make money because they charge for things like "extra lives" in video games, reported the WSJ. Businesses that would like to get similar results should offer a trail of free breadcrumbs that lead a client to make a purchase. 

Word of social media mouth
In addition to offering something to clients for free to get them to your social media sites, you can also increase awareness simply by including your tags on your print products. If your company has business cards, reserve a line of it for a Facebook or Twitter link. You can also include a QR code on your business card, which would allow someone to simply scan your card and immediately connect with your Facebook page or company website.

Follow up results 
Once a company has started to use print products to boost social media sites, business leaders should follow up on the results. Keep a running track of when your business started distributing cards and catalogs with your Facebook or Instagram account and see if you're getting closer to any of your goals. Continue to use the sources that are working and ditch the ones that aren't. One of the best ways to optimize your social media strategy is to experiment with it and find what works.