By Sarah Glasco

If you want to grow your business and your brand, tackling the mammoth that is social media is essential. Your social media presence can do wonders for expanding your customer base as well as increasing brand confidence, as long as it is properly and carefully managed. The following tips can be applied to any business, large or small--implement them and watch your business grow!

1. Make sure you’re on as many networks as realistically possible. There are hundreds of social media platforms out there in the digital world--pick the ones that will benefit your company the most. Be selective, but not too frugal; the more networks you’re on, the more visibility and influence your business benefits from. Just make sure that you aren’t on so many platforms that you are incapable of consistently updating each of them. At the very least, make sure you have an active presence across the basic networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

2. Keep your posts simple. The most effective and widely read social media posts are the ones with clean, uncomplicated images and straightforward yet informative captions. It’s also better to use visuals instead of plain text--research shows that tweets including images are retweeted about 150 times more than “plaintext” tweets.

3. Adjust your format depending on the platform. You’re allowed 140 characters on Twitter--keep those broadcasts short. Videos work well on Facebook, visually pleasing photos are the most effective for Instagram, and LinkedIn is the best place to post a link to a website or write a long-winded opinion or appreciation piece. Even though the format is different across platforms, you should still be delivering the same content and the same message.

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4. Know your audience. Surely your business has a target audience in mind, and it is that audience that your social media presence should intend to deliver information to. For example, if your business caters to teens and young adults, it would be beneficial to be aware of common internet lingo and trends to utilize in your social media posts. Using #hashtags can also increase engagement in younger audiences. Also, it is essential to know when your audience is usually online, so that you can post information when your followers are most likely to see it. Tools like Tweriod, Google Analytics, and Insights for Facebook provide information about when the most of  your followers are online--this is your target posting time.

5. Be consistent. Once you identify when your audience is usually online, schedule regular posts. Know what you are going to post and when you are going to post it, and be sure to stick to your plan. You can’t expect the same audience engagement if you don’t post anything for months and then suddenly switch to multiple posts in a day--remaining consistent boosts customer engagement because your posts are now aligned with audience expectations. Ideally, you should be posting across all your networks at least a few times every week.

6. Actively respond to and engage with your followers. This can be difficult for large     businesses, but it really is the best way to increase brand confidence. Start by following back your customers. Post responses to their comments on your photo, and say something short and sweet on their posts every once in awhile. Thank them for “liking” your content. Not only does this show your customer base that you really do care--it increases your visibility to all of your followers’ followers, boosting the growth of your audience.

With these six simple tricks, your business’s social media presence will improve positive brand association and will increase visibility. Social media can be extremely intimidating, but with the right tools and these PR tips, you will be well on your way to conquering the challenges these platforms pose.

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