How To Use Social Media: 10 Tips for Harnessing Its Power

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You know there is wisdom in marketing on social media, but you’re not sure you’re doing it right. Follow these 10 tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your social media marketing efforts.

  1. Listen! Put your ear to the ground before starting your social media program. What are your competitors doing in social media? What are experts in your line of business saying? What’s the public saying about your company now?
  2. Establish goals and create a strategic plan for achieving them. Start by setting goals for your social media program. Then determine your key audiences, topics that would interest them and the products or services that you want them to buy.
  3. Choose the right social media tools for your target and for your capabilities. These may include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram. But also consider other “niche” platforms that reach a more targeted audience like Pinterest, Vine, Google +, Ning, Tumblr and Polyvore.
  4. Keep your posts short. Twitter posts must be 140 characters or less. Facebook allows for longer posts, but don’t go overboard, as attention spans when using social media can be extremely short. Use links to drive to your blog or website. Also, tailor your content to the tool you’re using.
  5. Social media isn’t only about linking to your site. While Twitter and Facebook are a great method of linking customers to content on your site, doing that exclusively would limit the value of your messages. Social media is about interaction, so think about topics that would be interesting to your audience and start conversations with your customers. Also consider posing strategically phrased or leading questions to engage your audience in a discussion.
  6. Create buzz with your posts and reward people in your social community. Do this by incorporating images and interactive experiences such as videos. Offer contests, discounts and giveaways as a way to thank people for their participation.
  7. Respond quickly to comments. Customers are used to social media being a place for a real-time conversation. Don’t keep your audience waiting for days for a response.
  8. Build your reputation as an online expert. Keep your finger on the pulse of your industry and share your opinion.
  9. Promote your social media activities through your marketing materials. Your website, postcards and emails to customers are a few of the many elements you should consider utilizing. You should always be working on growing your social media community – regularly extend invitations to appropriate businesses and individuals to join your social media community.
  10. Monitor and measure. Social media makes so much data available to you. Take advantage of it. Set goals and regularly check your progress. Determine which types of posts most successfully engage people. Use insights gained through the data to make your social media activities ever more successful.