Posted by Bethany Handy ● April 8, 2013

Social Media and Business- 5 Inbound Marketing Best Practices

Social media is a great platform for large and small businesses alike to promote their brands.

If used correctly social media is a powerful tool that can help grow your business.

Here are 5 best practices for social media and your business:1) Plan to Succeed

Like any aspect of business, it is important to approach social media with a plan. Start by deciding which social networks work for your company.

After you have selected the networks that fit your company's needs you need to decide who will be responsible for posting on the various networks.

Once you have selected the networks and the responsible party you can develop a plan. Your plan should include how much time you will be dedicating to social media, what types of post you will be creating and what times you will be posting. It is very beneficial to create a week-long or month-long spreadsheet to chart out every post.

2) It's not about you!

Do you love constantly being marketed to? No? Well neither does your social media audience. Your goal with social media should be to start relevant, thoughtful conversations. People are looking for some type of value from the people they interact with online. You have the opportunity to use these social media platforms to really get to know your clients, and prospective clients.

If you have a product or service you want to promote on your page, you can do so in small doses. Your Facebook or Twitter feed should not just look like one big advertisement for your company. Sprinkle in your sales message with educational, fun, or thought provoking posts so that your customer knows your focus is in relationship building and not shoving your sales message down their throat.

One of the goals with all of your social media effort should be to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. You do this by listening to your community and responding to their needs and wants- PUT YOUR AUDIENCE FIRST.

3) Content is King

In the social media game quantity does not outweigh quality. Posting content just for the sake of posting content will annoy your audience and will cost you. Building your social media audience starts with creating content that makes you a thought leader in your industry.

Your content should be thoughtful, authentic and shareable. Get inside your audience's head and think about the types of posts they would like to read.

4) Don’t Auto-post

When it comes to social marketing, Facebook and Twitter are very different platforms. While you may share some similar users, keep your audience in mind. What works for one social media site, might not work for the other and you could risk alienating your readers.

When you take the time to craft a tweet (hashtags and all) you look like someone who cares about their online presence (and in turn their followers and fans) and that speaks volumes. Don’t you want to be seen as passionate and thoughtful?

Most importantly, people will scroll past these auto-posted tweets and status updates. Engaging with the public is what social media marketing is all about. Don’t lose out on this great opportunity to connect.

5) Interact

Posting on your social media channels a few minutes here or there just doesn't work. Your audience interacts with your company over social media platforms with the expectation they will get a response from you in a timely manner.

Building your online community takes time and effort on the part of your company. You need to be committed to putting in the time it takes to manage your social media channels correctly.

Your audience wants to know they are being heard. Interactions via social media allow your company to show your customers you care. Likewise, if you do not respond to these interactions you are communicating that you do not care.

If you do not think you have the time to invest or you don't know where to start with your social media strategy, let the inbound marketing experts at Thinkhandy show you the valuable ways inbound marketing through Facebook, Twitter and many other sites can boost your businesses’ presence online.

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