Social MediaAccording to a survey by Hiscox USA, conducted among 500 small business owners and decision makers in July 2012, only around 35 percent of the respondents said that they are actively using social media for business, while another 33 percent admitted that they are not sure how to use social media for business. This, however, doesn’t mean that small business owners underestimate the importance of using SMO. As of December 2012, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) had around 13 million local business pages, a 40 percent increase since January 2012, says Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of global SMB marketing. This goes to show that a lot of marketers are interested in social media optimization (SMO), but most of them don’t know the best techniques. Read this article to learn how small businesses can best use social media.

Top Three Social Media Tips for Business

  1. Join appropriate social networking sites – Choosing a social network platform for your business can be quite tricky. For this, you need to identify your goals, and recognize your target customers. For example, if your target customers are in the age group of 18 to 25, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is an obvious choice. On the other hand, if you are targeting professionals, Linkedin Corporation (NYSE:LNKD) is a better option. There is no harm joining multiple networks, as long as you can manage them. Another good idea is to join not-so-popular networks, such as Gowalla and Foursquare. This helps you avoid unwanted crowd and target niche customers within a quick around time.
  2. Create exclusive content – Create quality content exclusive to your social media networking sites. Uploading the same type of content on Facebook, Twitter and all other networking sites may not work. For example, Facebook is the right platform for sharing news or announcing an upcoming event. On the other hand, Twitter is great for posting quick updates, as you are allowed only 140-character posts. Another idea is asking questions in your content. This helps to engage the audience. For best results, ask for feedback, suggestions and new ideas.
  3. Be active to respond and analyze – Once you get a reply or feedback from your audience, respond quickly. When replying, ask another question. This helps to continue a conversation, which eventually helps building a long term relationship with your audience. It is also important to measure and analyze the outcome of your social media efforts. Use tools like Google analytics to know whether you are on track.

Managing multiple social media accounts can be a daunting task, and you may need professional help from time to time. For best results, consider using social media managing tools like Ping.fm and HootSuite.