Top 5 Ways to Use Social Media Effectively

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As a business, your priority shouldn't be just to use social media. You don't want to create a lot of profiles and just abandon them or start using them without a specific plan. You will want your social media to actually benefit your business. The following are the top five ways to use social media effectively so that you can see results from your social media marketing efforts.

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Photo Credit: The Social Media Prism by Ethority on Flickr.

1. Find out what social networks your target audience actually uses.

It's tempting, especially with the number of social networks out there, to start signing up left and right for different social media profiles. Chances are, your target audience will only be using the main ones like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. But you can be sure by running the following simple tests.

    • Use the Twitter search box or a tool like Followerwonk to search for people on Twitter by keywords related to your target audience.

 

    • Find your competitors on particular social networks to see how many followers/fans they have and how much engagement they receive.

 

    • Try creating an ad on Facebook or LinkedIn. You don't have to actually submit it, but you can use the advertising platform's targeting options to get a count for people in your target audience based on demographics and interests.

2. Complete your social profiles.

Although this sounds obvious, there are a lot of businesses who surprisingly do not complete their social profiles and therefore miss out on lots of opportunities to help visitors to those profiles learn more about their business and click through to their website. At bare minimum, make sure you have a consistent profile picture across all of your profiles, a good summary of your business in your about me / bio information, and a link to your website. For best results, go through the setup of your social profiles carefully to fill out any details you can, especially on networks that allow you to add multiple links back to your website.

3. Optimize your social profiles for search.

If you skipped the part about completing your profiles, then don't miss this part about optimizing them. Your social profile has the opportunity to not only come up in major search engines, but also within the social network's internal search results. If you have done search engine optimization work on your website to target particular keywords, make sure to include those keywords in your social profiles and updates. Note that the name you use on your social profiles should always be the name of your business - keyword optimization applies to about / bio fields within your profile.

4. Don't just broadcast to your audience - inform them and engage with them.

It's easy to keep your social media profiles up to date by simply updating your status about your business, but that is not the point of social media. Instead, look to inform your target audience about the topics that would interest them the most by sharing links to news, blogs, videos, and other media. Also make it your goal to really engage with them - ask your audience questions or encourage them to interact with you by liking and commenting on a particular post. And be sure to monitor your social networks for comments and mentions so that you can reply to them promptly.

5. Use tools to help you manage your social media accounts.

It can become a bit overwhelming to track all of your mentions on Twitter, keep up with your notifications on Facebook, and remember to update your LinkedIn profile on a daily basis. That is where social media management tools come in handy. Here are some tools to look into.

    • HootSuite - HootSuite is probably one of the most popular applications to help you manage your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social media accounts all in one place.
    • Sprout Social - If you're looking for a more robust tool to help you monitor your brand along with manage your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, then Sprout Social is worth trying.
    • Buffer - This tool lets you quickly schedule updates to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
    • Commun.it - Commun.it lets you dig into your relationships on Twitter so you can engage with the most valuable members of your community.
    • Argyle Social - Big brands and agencies who need a powerful tool for social media management can turn to Argyle Social to supply analytics, help calculate social ROI, and much more.

Remember that tools are not the solution to your social media effectiveness. You will still need to invest a lot of time and effort into your social media marketing plan to make it a success! These tips and tools will just help you get the best results out of your social media campaign.

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