Using social media for your marketing...

"Everyone" says you have to be using social media for your marketing, right? What they may not explain is that although you do need to be found on social media sites, you need to be effective or you're simply spinning your wheels and being part of the online noise but not making your own footprint.

Here are some steps we've developed to help you make your mark in the social media-marketing world:

  • Consistency is key. If you make the decision to jump into the social media frenzy – and we highly suggest you to because your competition already has, you need to be consistent. Don't let your followers wait and wonder when – or if – you're going to have another status update. If you want to become known as the expert in your particular field, let your social media status updates do the talking for you.
  • Go to where your customers are. At a minimum there are hundreds of social media sites available and new ones are popping on an almost daily basis. Do you need to use them all? Probably not. Do you need to sign up on them and register your name and your company's name? It's a good idea. No one has time to utilize every site efficiently so choose the ones that are best suited to your particular industry. Larger sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and even Google+ are great places to begin. You will also want to sign up for sites such as StumbleUpon and Digg as these are high traffic volume sites. Also, do a search for niche-specific social media sites.
  • What are you going to talk about? Even though you're on the social media sites to build awareness about who you are, what you do, and what service you provide, you don't want to be "selling" in your posts every day. You will want to provide content in your status updates that drives traffic to your website. If you don't have a blog, you should get one and keep content flowing through it on at least a weekly basis. Impart information in your status updates that speak to your area of expertise and offer your followers news they can use.
  • Pay it forward. Creating content and networking are two ways to get known on social media. If you have awesome content but haven't built a network, it's like you're speaking to an empty room. Create content that has value, network with your followers and hopefully they will help you spread the word through the use of the "share" button. Using the share button is also something you will want to do when a follower offers interesting information.
  • Convert them. You need to decide what your ultimate goal with your social media marketing is. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Do you want to convert your social media traffic into subscribers? These goals can be accomplished through a concerted social media effort.

Keep in mind, no matter how many status updates you post and how many blogs you write, you need to be proactive and take action on your updates. If your followers comment on your status updates, comment back. Social media is all about interaction and conversation. Get yours going!