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The Definitive Beginnerís Guide to Social Media Marketing

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Social Media is an ever-expanding arena for expressing the essence and values of your business. The number of people using the various social media platforms is constantly increasing, and the sophistication of the platforms themselves is always changing to allow you increasing control and accuracy in sending your messages to the consumers that you want to reach. Social media refers to the group of Websites that are commonly used by large numbers of people to communicate about their lives. Each platform has a different characteristic, base of users, style, format, and benefits. The main ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Reddit. There are many others, and you should check out as many of them as you can in your search for the best way to market your business through social media. What follows are some tips to help you along your way as you get started into using social media, and some advice to help steer you clear of common pitfalls.

Tip #1 The Lifespan of a Post
It is important when using social media to remember that you are speaking as your business. Keep the message of your business in mind when you use these platforms. It is important to remember that what goes into the Internet will exist for as long as the Internet does. It is difficult, if not impossible, to get things out of the Internet once they go in. Deleting a tweet from your Twitter account canít make the people who saw it un-see it. And it certainly doesnít stop them from sharing what you said with others. After you release something into the wilderness of social media, it will have a life of its own.

Tip #2 Be Professional and Courteous
Because of the potentially extremely long lifespan of Internet posts, keep your messages professional and courteous. It is best to have a professional tone, and to be courteous when interacting with others.

Tip #3 Steer Clear of Arguments
Avoid getting into heated arguments with people or saying negative things about others. It is probably best to stay out of arguments in general, as that is not really the point of having a social media presence as a business. This is especially true in debates that are likely to inflame emotions because no matter what you say, youíll offend someone who might be a potential customer.

Tip # 4 Controversial Issues
While some businesses take positions on controversial issues to solidify their base of support, it is advisable not to attempt this strategy until you have really thought it through and mastered all social media techniques. For beginners, its best to get your experience in ways that are unlikely to permanently damage your business or brand. A simple gaffe that does not offend anyone might be recovered from, but one that causes controversy may make your business famous for the wrong reasons.

Tip #5 Spread Your Influence
The users of different platforms can overlap, but there are many users on some platforms that you may not reach on others. If you are going to get into social media marketing, then you should consider having several accounts with different social media sites. Each one is different, so do not rush in and make a bunch of accounts that you canít maintain. Avoid getting overwhelmed or using the account incorrectly, but eventually you should look to expand your businessí presence across several platforms. It is quite common for a business to have a Facebook, Twitter, and a LinkedIn page. Sometimes they have even more types of social media account. Take the time to learn how to use each one, it is not terribly difficult, and spread your influence into the world of social media.

Tip #6 Nuances
Each platform of social media has its own nuances that will allow you to get the most out of your online presence. Doing a bit of research into the best way to make use of a certain platform is a good idea. However, some of these nuances will likely come from experience with the platform. Do not hesitate to read up on how to use a certain website, or what the norms of behavior on that website are.

Tip #7 Time of Posting
There is likely to be a window of opportunity concerning the content you post. There will be an optimum time for posting. Posting at the wrong time will limit the attention that your post gets, and finding the optimum time to post will maximize exposure.

Tip# 8 Amount of Posting
There will be an optimum amount of posting. This will depend on whether you are engaged in conversation, or posting pictures, and other factors. But keep in mind that more is not always better, and not enough is very much like nothing at all.

Tip #9 Know Your Audience
Figuring out who comprises your core audience can be important. If your products are a certain age range, you should avoid using terminology that is more appropriate for a different age range. If you have a company that offers services primarily to students, then you will want to know how to reach students without wasting effort on posts that end up being viewed by people who wonít utilize your service.

Tip #10 Stay on Message
Keeping with the message that your business is promoting is important. Be careful not to get dragged down into the weeds, so to speak, and to only generate content that reinforces the message of your business. If your business sells bicycle parts, it is unproductive and potentially damaging to have your business account engaged in vituperative debate, or voluminous discussion on irrelevant matters. It is best to have the core message of your business in mind when interacting online. Spend some time coming up with what the core idea of your business is. It is not necessary, but it might help you form the identity of your business which will be important to know because you will be generating so much speech on its behalf to keep up your social media accounts.

Tip #11 Interact Well
When people show an interest in your social media account, it is a good idea to interact with them. Respond politely to what people say on your page, and if it is inappropriate delete the message and consider blocking them from posting on your page. It is good to engage with people, and positive interactions are good for your brand.

#12 The Line Between #10 & #11
It is important to toe the line between tips number 10 & 11. Pleasant interactions with people who interact with your page are beneficial, but negative ones are detrimental. It will be up to you to decide how to handle this, but remember that there is a line that must be toed; a line between too much information and not enough, and a line between positive interactions and detrimental ones.

#13 Differences in Platform
Every platform is somewhat different. Remember that what is good for Twitter might not be good for Facebook, and that what is good for any platform might not be the best way to approach interacting on another.

Tip #14 The Right Platform for Your Business
While many businesses operate on many social media platforms, it is possible that some of the platforms will not be that beneficial to your business. Keep in mind that your attention might be better spent on maintain accounts that are well suited to your business type.

Tip #15 Consider Getting Help
Social media consultants are out there, and can be hired to help you on your way to having an effective presence on the web. Consider getting some advice, even if just in the beginning of your journey to a social media presence, because it might be beneficial.

Conclusion
Social media is a great way to advertise your business, and to give it a presence and identity in the minds of those who may be your customers or patrons. There is a lot to know about social media, and you will learn a lot along the way. Keep reading and updating your knowledge of how to use social media effectively, as this is just a beginnerís guide. There is much more to know, so make sure you seek it out. Steer clear of the pitfalls outlined above, make use of the tips, keep reading other sources on how to manage social media accounts, be proactive with your learning, and you will be well on your way to having a great social media presence for your business.

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