In the last twenty years the growth of online social media has been phenomenal. New social sites are popping up left and right. This social media explosion can be a powerful tool for the growth of your business. But trying to gain control of your social media skills for business development can be a daunting task.

Below are some ideas on how you can zero in on your social media marketing campaign and use it to expand your online network and intensify your business.

1. Establish Identity – Starting with your username, establishing the appropriate identity is very important. Define who you are and be clear on your purpose. Do not try to be too cutesy or trendy. Trends come and go but your username will be forever. Using a good photo of yourself for your avatar is usually best. This will help brand you as a person to connect with your company.

2. Build Relationships – Establishing and building relationships is the cornerstone for all businesses. Taking the time to cement a relationship with your followers will be much more effective than being a collector of friends. Let them get to know you so trust and respect can be formed. From this will come more conversions and sales.

3. Share and Share Alike – Don’t expect everyone to share your posts and information without ever sharing back. You will need to reciprocate these actions. Let people know you appreciate the sharing of your posts, videos or information. Do not take advantage of others just to get the share.

4. Value and Quality – Do not watch conversations and then jump in when you feel your sales pitch fits. Participate in the conversation, offer sound advice and quality information. Become a regular contributor who is always willing to offer value. Don’t just copy and paste. Provide original ideas, information and resources. Take the extra time to establish your expertise and willingness to offer assistance. This will carry over into your business when the people you have helped need your services and/or products.

5. Understand Your Customers – Do your research and always be aware of your potential customers’ needs and wants. Periodically take surveys, stay on top of the marketing trends and information. There are tools that can help you compile consumer data which you can then analyze to see what is working and what is not. DataHero, NetVibes and Google Analytics are a few you can use for free to sharpen your analytical skills.

6. Analyze and Adjust – As there are tools to help you compile and analyze consumer information, there are also tools to help you track and measure your marketing responses and effectiveness. Study your engagements, likes, shares, followers, etc. to see where you can improve. Klout, HowSociable and SimplyMeasured are just some of the tools you can utilize to sharpen your social skills.

7. Focus – The number of social media sites is grown to staggering amounts. It is impossible to join them all and expect any usable results. You need to choose a few that you can excel at and spend the time and focus needed to make them work for you. My favorites are Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. I know if I attempted more, the effectiveness level would go way down. Focus your skills and concentrate them in a smaller area for more success.

8. Interactive Events – Posting and providing helpful and valuable information is a great start but you also want engagement and interaction. Holding events, contests or other such promotions can be a great way to draw interest and get the interaction you need. Hold themed contests each month. Be creative with promotions or “parties”. Games and contests are always a big business booster. Use images and videos to bring your event to life. Make it fun and exciting to people will come back for more.

9. Consistency is Key – When becoming a social pro you will need to be consistent. Stay active regularly and always respond to comments, whether positive or negative. “When you have time” unfortunately will not do the job. Social media is a full-time commitment so doing it “whenever” is a waste of time for you and your followers.

10. Separate and Distinguish – One mistake people make is to plaster the same posts over all their social sites. This is a mistake. Separate your social accounts and give each one its own identity. Distinguish what is needed for each group of followers and satisfy that need.

It is hard to describe the impact that social media has had on all businesses, not just online. You may resist embracing this power because of the total feeling of being overwhelmed, but you cannot delay any longer. Get your feet wet, learn the ropes and hop on the social fast track. Getting involved in social media and expanding that network could mean a total about-face for your online business success.

About Sarah Mullen

I wandered lonely as a cloud. That floats on high o'er vales and hills,. When all at once I saw a crowd,. A host, of golden daffodils. I love life. I love to fly.

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