Social Media TipsAs a modern-day business owner, you’ve got (or know you need and are preparing to get) a domain name and a website. Now you’re ready to take your online presence to the next level: social media.

Perhaps you’re already somewhat familiar with big players like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can’t wait to start connecting online with your current customers, reaching out to prospects, and building your brand in the Internet’s booming social arena.

But what guidelines should you follow to ensure your social media success? Check out these social media tips and best practices.

Establish your goals.

Whether you hope to gain new customers, showcase specific products or services, or position yourself as a thought leader within your industry, it’s important to write down your goals. Be specific.

Locate your audience.

Do your customers and prospects gravitate toward LinkedIn or spend more time on Pinterest? Do they have active Facebook and Twitter lives? Do they gobble up YouTube videos? By knowing which social media sites your target audience frequents, you can work smarter to develop profiles on those sites.

Do your homework.

Learn the ins and outs of making the most of individual social media sites by spending some time on their support pages. (One word: hashtags.)

Get on multiple social media platforms.

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, you should still have a website. The same is true for social media. It’s easy to repurpose relevant, quality content for use on multiple sites. Figure out where you customers like to spend their social time online, and make sure you’re there, too — your presence on multiple sites increases your opportunity to reach more customers and prospects.

Start slow and work your way up.

Don’t try to do too much, too soon. Learn the basics of one site before you start on the next.

Make friends.

Social media is about people connecting with people. So, even if you’re representing a business, be sure to let your genuine, human side shine through. Be authentic, helpful, and considerate. And return favors (such as “liking” and “sharing” posts and pages).

Post relevant and engaging content.

When you know your audience, you can post content that will resonate with your followers. Post photos, videos, and other visual elements to boost engagement.

Practice restraint.

Don’t over-post — once or twice a day is adequate — and always remember that you’re representing your brand.

Remain active.

Make sure your content is fresh and up-to-date for all of your social sites. A non-monitored or dead social space is worse than no social space at all.

Add value.

Provide useful information in your posts, such as links to related articles and videos. This will help establish your credibility as a valuable resource within your industry.

Connect your social media profiles to your website. People love to follow their favorite companies, but your customers might not always know you’re on their favorite social media sites. Make it easy for them to find you by placing social media widgets on your business website — a place they’re sure to visit.

With these social media tips you should be ready to launch a successful strategy for your business.