Social media, social networking and social marketing – they’re the buzz words of today, and many would have you believe that unless you’re employing social media in a productive, positive and effective way there can’t possibly be any way in which you can succeed in promoting a business online. Certainly today’s online world is built very much on a platform of social media sites, and if you’re not on board then, although you can still compete online, you’re certainly going to be missing out in a very big way.

But if you’re new to the idea of using social media and social networking for profit and business, then how do you get started? Some people believe that simply by creating various profiles on social networking sites the traffic will come pouring their way. The odd tweet, the odd status update and an occasional article or blog post and you’ll be fighting off the hordes of rampaging customers desperate to give you their wallets and purses.

Getting Started With Social MediaThe reality is, sadly, far from being like this. Social networking and the use of social media sites to market your business this way takes time, and can be hard work. The rewards are, however, well worth it, and getting started needn’t be quite as difficult as some people make out.

The trick is to approach social marketing in the right way, and in the most efficient way. This means doing as little as you can get away with if you’re also running a business as well as carrying out the marketing, but making sure that what you do do is exactly right.

Let’s take Facebook as an example. You might choose to create a personal page, and promote your business this way through regular updates. However, it’s important to be aware that if you create a personal page which is named after your business you won’t be able to create a business fan page with the same name, and a fan page is far more effective than a personal one. If you create a fan page for your business then anyone who becomes a fan of your business will automatically have your updates published on their profile page, and their friends.

Imagine publishing an announcement on your Facebook fan page, perhaps introducing a new product, service or special offer, and then having that update not only immediately distributed to all of your fans or followers, but also displayed to all of those people who follow each of your own fans! If you had a hundred fans, and each of those had a hundred fans that means that your update or announcement becomes visible to a minimum of 10,000 people! Not only that, but people tend to follow people they are interested in, and so those 10,000 people are more likely to have an interest in your business in the first place, significantly increasing the impact of your social marketing.

Twitter is another social media site which is highly recommended, but again it’s important to remember a few basic rules if you’re going to get it right. Some people use Twitter simply as another news site, PR hub or announcement platform. It isn’t any of those, or at least, not exclusively. If you use Twitter it’s extremely important to make sure you remember the word ‘social’ in social media. Listen to other people’s tweets, reply to them, comment on them and re-tweet them.

Make sure that your tweets are a mixture of advertising, comments, thoughts, tips, advice, and pointing out helpful resources or news stories you have come across. Very few businesses achieve success with Twitter by simply becoming an advertiser who has no interest in those followers it is force feeding adverts to.

If you need help or advice with making social media work hard for your business, why not get in touch and see how we can help?