like us image on keyboardFacebook, Twitter, and now Google +. The social landscape definitely had its share of changes and updates this past year. And the number of businesses logging on and using these social platforms continues to increase. Social media can be a great tool, but you need to know how to use it in order to gain the most value.  

It’s not a popularity contest. Having a lot of followers or “likes” is great, but it really doesn’t matter how many your company has; it’s about the relationships that you create and sustain.

Key takeaways:

  • Create value Tweets and statuses need to be valuable to your readers. Provide information that is meaningful.  Post a link to a blog or article you find interesting and relevant to your business or share the latest news in your company.
  • Ask questions to start interaction – Asking questions is the best way to start a conversation. Get your followers' opinions on a certain topic. Don’t talk at your readers; speak with them.
  • Don’t let negative comments go unresolved – If one of your followers makes a negative remark about your business or gives bad feedback, address the negative remark directly, try your best to resolve the issue and do so in a professional manner.
  • Be careful with cross-posting – Cross-posting can be a huge timesaver, but it has its cons. Just because you post something on Facebook, doesn’t mean that the same post should be on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. If you have users that follow you on all of your accounts, they’ll get the same information over and over again, which can be annoying. Choose information that is relevant to each social network. Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so if you try to post a Facebook status on twitter, (which can be over 140 characters) your readers may not get the entire message.
  • It takes time – Social media is definitely a time commitment, but if you spend just 10 minutes out of your day posting tweets and statuses, there’s nothing to it!
  • Make it fun! Social media is supposed to be a fun way to interact with your peers and followers. Get creative and have contests for a “top tweet” or #1 follower. 

Here’s to a 2012 full of social media engagement!