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The mechanics of social media

If you want to use the available social media resources to build your business, it helps if you make a plan and understand the mechanics of social media. A firm understanding of how to use them, what people want, and in many cases, what they don't want, is a key aspect of successfully using social media to expand your business. Here are the mechanics of social media every business should know:

Social media provides a platform for people to get on soapbox and start talking. The biggest mistake a company can make is utilizing this soapbox for something that their target customers are not interested in listening to. If you aren't relevant to what they want to hear, you jeopardize the usefulness of social media.

There are some simply rules worth following in order to better engage your customers. First is be transparent; second, relevant; third, brief; and lastly, connect with your audience. Don't preach at them, ask questions, start conversations, and provide answers.

Use social media to stay in the forefront of the mind of your audience. You can do this by making an effort to communicate on a daily basis with a section of your target audience, and to remain in contact with the leaders in your industry.

Provide people with interesting and relevant information. People love following or becoming a fan of the people who post interesting things to Twitter and Facebook. They want to see links to articles, news, etc. not just hear about your day.

Give value, and limit the self-promotion. Ask yourself what value you are providing your audience when you post something. If you find it does not have value, do not post it. The idea is to give followers and your audience something worth following or viewing on a regular basis. If you do, your following will continue to grow.

Post with the idea in mind that you are adding or taking away from your credibility with each post. You want to improve your personal brand, and the value people feel they get from you by being selective, and consistent with your posting. Because we live in a digital age, personal and professional are intermixed, and your personal brand is going to reflect on or even become your professional one, remember that when using social media.

Be sure that when using social media you are using it to connect with your customers. This means showing gratitude that they exist, and not insulting, offending, or ignoring them. Address their needs and concerns, and make sure that if they message you, or post to your wall, etc. that you take the time to acknowledge and thank them.

If you understand these basic social media mechanics, and create a plan for your social media approach, you can benefit greatly from it, and watch your efforts on social media sites turn into business growth.

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