A huge part of your marketing efforts this year will be focused on social media. It is one of the main ways you’ll be communicating with your customers. But you need to do more than just have a social media account for your business. You need to use it actively to engage consumers. Just like text marketing, it is an extremely valuable tool that can bring in a lot of business if used correctly. Here is a how-to guide for using social media marketing.

Sign up for 3 or 4 social media accounts

It is better that you don’t have an account at all than that you have a social media account you aren’t using. For most businesses, having only 3 or 4 accounts is sufficient for their needs. Every business should be on Facebook, so make sure that is one of your main accounts. Then, depending on what you are offering to customers, pick a couple more social media sites that work for your business and your sales goals.

It is worth your time to spend a few days playing around all the different social media sites to figure out what their purpose is and how it could benefit your business. Make sure you consider how you interact with consumers and whether or not it is something you’d like to use.

Use effective content

While you may have social media sites set up, knowing what to post on them is just as important. Your content needs to be fairly regular (at least once a week), and you should be posting information that is relevant to your business. While a quick “Happy New Year” is also good for business, so is a funny video related to your industry. Here are 10 rules to follow for effective marketing:

  1. Focus on customer’s wants and needs
  2. Put up contests to reward customers for following you
  3. Use links in your content to websites, videos, etc
  4. Use call to action links provided for business use in social media (learn more, buy now, etc)
  5. Engage with photos
  6. Use closed-ended (yes or no) questions (users want to complete the thought)
  7. Talk about trending topics
  8. Learn about and use short hashtags
  9. Share posts your fans already like or have engaged with
  10. Mention other pages in your posts, though do it rarely

Use social media for reviews

One of the other powerful uses of social media is to engage with customers through reviews. Thank your customers who have given you good reviews. Apologize to your customers who give bad reviews and try to work towards a solution. Believe it or not, most customers will forget about a bad review they see if they also see your company is attempting to repair the damage.

Social media ads

After all the work you put into getting new customers and traffic to your social media site, ads are still extremely effective in targeting your audience and getting you new customers. What better way to advertise than directly to the customers who are already on social media and who are most interested in your business?