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8 Tips to manage social media for your business

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Social media is an easy, affordable and great way to connect and engage with your customers, but wading into the fast-moving flow of it can be a daunting task for anyone. Social media’s constant evolution can be a time suck. So how do you manage it all? Here are eight tips…

Manage your time – Take a few minutes each day to check your social media platforms, post updates, respond and take any other actions necessary on the sites. This will help you keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening in your industry. However, don’t spread yourself too thin. Having 10 profiles on different social media sites isn’t useful if you aren’t able to keep them updated. Not only is it a time suck, but the last think you want is outdated material or feeds that are unresponsive to customers.

Consistency & frequency – Keep your image consistent so people recognize your brand. Turning followers and/or fans into customers requires consistent and frequent messaging. Users who interact with your brand are more likely to be turned into brand advocates. Determine your frequency of posting – whether it be daily, weekly or somewhere in-between – and stick to it so your community knows when you’ll be there listening and ready to respond.

Vary your content – Messaging on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ should have a slightly different flavor. Update all of your social profiles, but don’t be repetitive. Craft messages differently to utilize relevant keywords that will help you get noticed easier. Examine the audience of your platforms to determine which content belongs to which audience. LinkedIn might include updates that are specifically business news; Twitter might offer specials, trends or statistics; Facebook might direct your customers to your blog post; and your blog might have a personalized message. Also, take into account the character limit. Facebook status updates have 63,206 characters (it was just updated at the end of November), Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet, and Google+ doesn’t have a character limit (although Josh Constine, a technology journalist and writer for TechCrunch, says his tests showed that it stops publishing at 100,000 characters). Do what works for you, but each platform should be a little unique.

Respond and Engage – Make sure you are responding to and engaging with your community. Pick messaging that will inspire your audience to read, react and respond. Create a place for people to talk and communicate with you. If you don’t create engaging messaging, your community may think that no one is listening.

Be a resource – People visit your page to ask questions or to get valuable information, so make sure you are posting useful content. Give them tips, links to articles or other free sources. Consider content such as hot topics or trends, industry news, links to thought provoking articles, and your thoughts on things you’ve read. Content isn’t always created by you, but it should be relevant to your community’s interests.

Measure – Make sure you are measuring your progress. Don’t just watch the growth of your fans and followers; watch the posts that are getting the most interaction and give your community more of what they like.

Set up your RSS feed or Google Reader for blog posts from social media, PR and marketing gurus (some of the bloggers in my feed are Social Media Explorer, Spin Sucks, Marketing Pilgrim, Marketing Conversation, Deirdre Breakenridge, Conversation Agent, Convince & Convert, Social Media Examiner and about 50 more). Research to find out what works, what doesn’t and get to know social media.

Look at other brands on the social networks you want to put your brand on whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Look at what they are posting, how they are using it, what is working and what isn’t.

There are people who suggest that you need to be on every social media network. Wouldn’t that be nice? Realistically, I don’t think it’s possible especially if you’re a one man show. “Prioritize based on which networks can show you the biggest impact and develop content and participation there,” Jason Falls, author, keynote speaker and CEO of Social Media Explorer, wrote. However, if you tell customers where they can find you, they will find you. Think of each network as a place to build and host your brand’s unique personality and connect with those that care about it.

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