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If you want to get ahead in business – get social.

social media is here, and it’s here to stay. Ignore the advice from any doubting Thomas’ who might proffer an alternative opinion; if you want to get ahead – get social. But if your business has yet to take the plunge, the question is, is it worth the effort? Will social media benefit your bottom line in the longer term? Can Facebook and Twitter help you grow your business? Well, the simple answer is yes, they can. Social media marketing can get you noticed. It can help potential customers find you. It will also help you find out exactly what customers want and, armed with that knowledge, be in a better place to give it to them.

However, it’s important to understand that social media is not, in itself, a magic bullet. It only works well if you understand it properly. If you go at the issue half-cocked, then you’ll probably come unstuck. If your business is looking to optimise its social media marketing efforts, what you need is knowledge and understanding. Hopefully these 4 important tips might set you on the right path.

Listen and learn

Listening is at the core of social media process. Monitor what people are saying about your brand. Acknowledge the feedback you receive whether it’s good or bad, and respond positively. Good social media management lies in knowing how to respond and what to say. If there’s a problem, fix it: if there’s an issue, deal with it speedily and effectively. People will not think any less of you if you acknowledge faults or omissions on your part. In fact, they’ll think more positively about your business because they can see you have integrity. When you get the balance right and learn to listen effectively, you could well be on your way to developing some important and potentially lucrative leads.

Analyse

How do you know your social media marketing effort are working? The answer lies with analytics. By using analytics you can track the performance of your marketing efforts. Every social media platform has its own free analytics property, but if you want to get more valuable insights, then use applications like Hootsuite or Social Sprout.

How do you judge the performance with analytics? Well, you’ll need to judge it against what you ultimately want to achieve socially. Are you trying to build your audience and attract more followers, or are you trying to build your business by attracting more customers?

Once you’ve decided what you looking to achieve, then every tweet, post or Instagram picture shared should be created with that end-goal in mind. Don’t tweet or post simply for the sake of it: share for a purpose. People are more than happy to share and re-share messages that clear, relevant and informative.

Social media is not an end in itself: it’s a process

It may be a cliché, but it’s true to say that everything comes to he who waits. Don’t expect instant success because that’s an unrealistic expectation. Social media marketing is a process, not an end in itself. You have to be patient, and prepared to redouble you efforts time and time again if you want to achieve long term success. It’s not for the faint hearted, so be prepared to play the long game. You might have initial success and get great results early on, but the key to true success is consistency over the longer term.

If your social campaign is failing to attract interest, pull it and start again

Persistence and stubbornness can be admirable human qualities in certain circumstances. But when it becomes obvious that trying is not enough, then the wisest course is to move on and start afresh. Good social media marketing relies on knowing when to quit and when to start again. If a campaign is obviously not connecting with an audience or failing to attract attention; then pull the plug on it and do something different. Not all your efforts will prove to be successful. That’s the inevitable drawback of all advertising, not just social media. Don’t waste your efforts flogging a dead horse: be wise and come up with a different strategy.

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