Social media is a must have for any business today. It allows you to reach a global audience and it offers the opportunity to build and mold your brand. You can reach new potential clients and customers that you never could before with effective social media management. The key is to understand exactly what social media can do for your business so that you can take full advantage of it. There are many ways to use this platform to take your business to the next level without minimal work and effort. #1. Pick the Best Social Media Platform to Start With If you are new to social media, you want to start with one platform and build from there. This allows you to learn the ins and outs without getting overwhelmed and reducing the risk of making mistakes. Right now, Facebook is the most popular social media platform for business with 82 percent of small businesses having a Facebook account. After Facebook, Twitter is the most popular with 73 percent of small businesses having a Twitter account. Facebook is easier and more versatile, making it a better option for businesses that are new to the social media game. You have more options in terms of what you can post and it is easier to engage in conversations on this platform. The best strategy is to get your business Facebook account going and focus on this platform for at least three months. Build it up, work in building a solid reputation and make sure that the page is complete. Once you are comfortable, you can add another social media profile, such as Twitter, to your business social media arsenal. Remember that slow is better because you want to build gradually. This ensures that your social media pages are working for you and that you can keep up with them. #2. An Additional Avenue for Customer Service You can head to your social media page to answer customer questions and provide additional services for your customers. Customers can post questions on your wall and send you private messages to learn more about what you offer. Make sure that you are answering customer questions regularly so that no one is waiting weeks for an answer. Ideally, you want to check in on your social media profiles about four to five times a day. Spend a few minutes each time answering questions so that you never have a backlog. #3. Building and Managing Your Brand Approximately 80 percent of people on social media find the brands they love through Facebook. Because of this, you want to spend time building your brand and setting yourself apart from the competition in your industry. You can get help from a company like Brandshield to develop a branding strategy that will work and ensure that people are able to easily recognize your company and what you have to offer. The key to branding is creating an identity that people will immediately associate with your business, ensuring brand recognition. Think about some of the biggest companies throughout the world. When you see things like their products and marketing, you immediately know which company it is. This is what branding can do for your business, even if your business is still small and getting off the ground. Branding is critical and it is a skill, so getting some help is always a good idea. This ensures that your branding campaign is done right the first time so that people start to recognize your business and what you have to offer. #4. Engaging People Throughout the World When you have a social media account, you have access to people living in every country in the world. This opens the doors to opportunities that would never exist if you did not use social media. Make sure that when you post things, you are keeping the global market in mind so that no potential customers feel excluded. #5. Introducing New and Exciting Products and Services There are a number of statistics that support your need to use social media, but the following two should solidify your decision: 71 percent of people are more likely to buy services and products from companies they follow on social media 46 percent of people visit company social media pages before buying something This means that your social medial presence significantly increases your chance at sales and leads. Just make sure that your social media profiles are complete so consumers can get the information they need to make an informed purchase. #6. Better Customer Outreach When you have a brick and mortar business, your customers are generally those within 30 miles of your location. With social media, you open yourself up to people all over the world. You can engage billions of people and increase your overall outreach. This is a critical marketing effort and it is completely free. #7. Business to Business Networking Social media gives you an effective avenue to network with other businesses in your industry. This increases your chances of finding effective collaborations and you can learn from similar businesses. Pay attention to the other businesses in your industry and check out their social media strategy. Of course, you will never copy their ideas, but doing something similar can boost your brand. Like other business pages and interact on them without blatantly advertising your business to start building up new customers and networking contacts. The most important thing to remember when using social media for your business is that you must use it properly. There is a fine line between proper use and being too aggressive with your social media profiles. You should post regularly, but not so often that people get tired of seeing updates. Ideally, one to two posts a day that spark a conversation is the best way to get the most out of your social media profiles. Remember that professional brand monitoring services such as Brandshield are also helpful for aiding you in getting that balance so that your brand continues to evolve and grow. Images: “Group of People with Social Media Concept/Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.