Why does your business use social media? Do you use it because everyone else uses it? Or do you truly understand it? Do you see its purpose and value, and are you using it in the most effective way for your business?

Cendrine Marrouat, Social Media Coach, Blogger, Content Curator, and Author at Social Media Slant, recently spoke with Media Shower and offered insights into the right way for business owners to think about social media.

What is the most common misuse of social media that you have seen in business?

One of the things I blog about most and keep repeating to others is that social media is not a sales-centric platform. You cannot sell to people who are behind a screen, just like you cannot stick a flyer on someone’s doors and expect them to show up at your store. Unless, of course, they already know and like your business.

And that’s truly the problem. If you make no effort to get to know your readers or potential customers, you can’t expect them to return the favor in a heartbeat.

When used currently, what is the greatest value of social media?

The benefits of social media are proven. To me, the most important benefits are:

1. The ability to connect with a huge number of potential customers from all around the world.

2. The ability to build solid relationships and communities of advocates.

3. The ability to gain exposure with a tiny budget.

You’ve written, “Social media is about the human journey.” Is that what it was originally intended for, or is that a byproduct of the way it is used?

If we look at the definition of social media, it’s all the tools and platforms that allow people to create and share content and interact with one another. Actually, things like phones, emails, and letters are social media too.

Each person uses social media differently. However, at the end of the day they do it because they want to feel that they belong somewhere. It’s part of the human fabric.

Social media gives people a voice and the feeling that they matter. They have a chance to be found and “heard” by close to 4 billion individuals!

With so much clutter out there, how do you earn the trust of readers so that they will choose to peruse your posts?

To stand out and earn the trust of readers, you have to stop thinking about yourself and how much your business rocks. Instead, you must put yourself in your audience’s shoes. You have to bring people the content they need, give them the answers they are looking for, and deliver products and services that make their lives better. It’s customer care at its best.

The good news is that a big budget is not needed. You don’t even have to create content, actually. You can actually reap great rewards by just curating other people’s stuff.

Millions of posts are published every day. Most of them just rehash information covered everywhere else, and drown the more creative content as a result. Curation is the practice of finding the stellar information and organizing it in a way that makes sense to your audience. The best curators do not just share links and leave. They know their readers like the back of their hands and spend a lot of time packaging their curations to increase value.

Without curators, many of the bloggers and business owners we know and love would have never been discovered.

Follow Cendrine Marrouat on Twitter!