Can you find new customers on social media? Of course. But perhaps not in the way that you might be expecting.

CRM has traditionally been driven by companies, where strategy focused on scheduled contact and generating responses after diligent monitoring. With Social Media, the tables have turned and customers have more power when it comes to interacting with brands. With social media, customers are behind the conversations taking place about your brand and can initiate contact rather than simply reacting to it.

How does this knowledge help you acquire new customers via social? Apart from actively engaging with customers when they post to your pages, it’s about tailoring your social media strategy to focus on inbound marketing. The goal is to get your customers to do the work for you by advocating your brand.

Consider this: social media is primarily used as an outlet for users to connect with families and friends. Any sort of brand interaction usually comes second to this. In a 2011 study conducted by the IBM institute for Business From Social Media to Social CRM, most consumers surveyed responded that they would only really interact with a brand’s social media page if they were already advocates of that brand. 55% of consumers do not engage at all with brands, and of those who do, 65% say that they need to have an established interest in the brand.

It might seem like a lot of effort for little return, but developments in the way social networks accommodate businesses have now seen an increase interaction with social profiles.

According to a Yellow Pages Social Media Report, 25% of social media users are now following brands, and 52% brands rate social media as important to their overall marketing scheme. 90% of customers also said they would recommend a brand after interacting with them via social media, and social media leads have a 100% lead to close rate as opposed to outbound marketing.

Here are a few ways you can make the most of Social Media to find new customers.

Know which platforms are going to help you

With all the social media platforms available, it would be unrealistic and counter productive to invest time in every single one of them. Find out which platform is best suited to your business and work on maintaining that. For B2C, the most successful platforms are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For B2B situations, LinkedIn, Google + and Facebook are your best bets.

For example, a restaurant trying to draw in more patrons won’t have much luck advertising their latest deals on LinkedIn. Due to the nature of their service, it would be better to invest in pages such as Facebook, Instagram and perhaps Twitter to drive conversation.

Interacting with your brand on social media should result in some kind of return or reward for the customer investing their time.

The primary reason customers interact with brand social media pages is for some sort of return for their time. 61% of consumers stated that the main reason they interact with brand social media pages is to find discounts, while 55% did so to carry out a purchase.

Use your social media pages to demonstrate that you are invested in delivering quality service to your customers.

You want to make sure that the resources and content customers are looking for are available to them. It’s through connecting with your established customers that you will find new ones.

About half the respondents in the IBM  report stated that they visit sites to gather information, meaning anything from reading reviews to learning more about brand products, as well as providing their own opinions about the brand’s services.

Monitor your traffic

Social media isn’t merely a platform for you to broadcast your brand. You can also use it to gauge your audience by monitoring your analytics. So while you can use it to acquire new clients, it is also a valuable tool for finding them in the first place. This can be helpful especially when trying to measure the success of an online campaign, or when trying to better target your marketing strategies to particular demographics.

Create opportunities to engage

Whether it’s by creating a campaign or giving customers a call to action, engaging with them creates conversation. This also encourages customers to share their experiences with your brand with others.

You might use your social media page to hold a competition or post content and invite customers to have their say on what they think. By creating these opportunities, you not only gain better insight into the type of customers you have but give them something to talk about with their friends, family and acquaintances across social to better promote your brand.