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The Do's and Don'ts of Marketing through Social Media

When it comes to marketing your business online, social media is at its most basic form, word of mouth advertising. It is typically free to use and a very effective marketing technique. There are some things you should do when using social media to market your business online and there are also some social media faux pas to avoid. Here are a few do's and don'ts of marketing through social media.

Do: Do use social media to develop relationships. Those who use social networking websites generally share what they like and will do your advertising for you if you have developed a relationship with them. Use your social media profile to brand your business and give people a face for the business you are marketing. You should be engaging, genuine, and a good source of information.
Don't: Don't use your social media profile as a platform purely for advertising or spamming your friend list. Spamming your friend list is a really fast way to lose business. Your friends want to keep in contact and up to date with your business, but they don't want to be constantly sold to, even if you're advertising with deals and coupons.
Do: Do be an expert source for your friends to come to when needed. You are building a relationship with everyone you interact with online, so answering questions without expecting returns, giving advice when it's asked for, and generally being available will all build your social media marketing campaign toward success.
Don't: Don't leave your profile blank or incomplete. Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo index social media sites just like any other website and as such when someone searches for you or your business, they will find your profile. If your profile is incomplete, you've wasted an opportunity to market yourself or your business, and you've proven to them that you are new at this and don't really know what you are doing.
Do: Do check-in regularly and post up-dates often. The more people see that is interesting and engaging, the more likely you are to generate business. If you aren't posting updates or content that would be of interest to your clients, they are likely to forget about you in the wide world of social media.
Don't: Don't do nothing and expect returns. Like any other traditional marketing technique, marketing your business online through social media will take effort and time. Probably more than you expect if you want marketing through social media to truly have an impact on your business. You can't expect to remain viable in the social media market if you aren't visible (and not annoyingly so). If you don't have the time to make social media a successful part of your marketing campaign, hire someone to focus on it full-time. It can be a powerful tool for generating business, but you have to put the time into it to make it a success.
Do: Do use more than one social media site. If you are going to use social media to market your business online, figure out how to utilize each social media site that offers a unique platform. YouTube is different than Facebook, which in turn is different than Twitter, which is different from LinkedIn, etc. And not all of your potential customers use one social media site. Use multiple forms of social media and you'll be placing yourself if a place to gain more.
Don't: Don't try to use all of the social media sites out there or try to reach every person in the world. Where does your target base hang out? So some research and find out where your potential client base spends most of their online time, then use the same social media to market your business online.

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