Facebook can be used to market your business. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
DURBAN - Starting a business can be tough especially if you have very little capital and no money to market your business.

Social media is the solution. Social networking site Instagram has become a popular platform for business owners to advertise their products. Businesses use social media to market goods like jewellery, clothing, food and cakes.

Here are some tips on how to harness social media for your business:

1. Build your social media channels. Whether it is Instagram or Facebook, build the pages for your business in advance, do not wait until the launch date to get the page up and running.

2. Work out your target market and which social media platform is the best to reach your target market. Study the social media platform and if possible do targeted advertising to those platforms.

3. Use video for your advertising. Video posts are dominating social media and Facebook is emerging as Youtube's largest contender for video uploads.

4. Always respond to messages sent to your business page. Whether it is a DM (Direct Message) or message sent through Facebook Messenger, always reply to your messages.

5. Have a highly focused social media plan and content marketing strategy with the intent of building a strong brand. A strongly focused brand strategy has a better chance than a brand that has a broad strategy.

6. Have content that is interactive so people will feel that they are a part of your page. The content could be a quiz or a poll, something that is quick and interesting. This type of content is popular because it gets great engagement and lots of shares.

7. Run promotions or rewards programmes, people engage with a company's social media page because they know that they can receive a discount or be a part of a promotion.

8. Create a blog and post content frequently. By sharing the information that you have, you become the expert. Both Google and your customers will be happy too. Google sends out spiders to comb the web and if you post regularly, you can index higher in search engines.