You know your business needs to be engaged in social media. You definitely have a Facebook page for your business and you probably have a Twitter account. Now what?

Many small business owners suffer from the “build it and they will come” syndrome where social media is concerned. They set up a Facebook page, add some photos, and wonder why they don’t get hundreds of likes. They join Twitter and follow hundreds of celebrities who each have thousands of users, but wonder why no one follows back. In short, business owners often feel that they built it and no one came. So what’s all the social media hype really about.

The truth is, effective social media marketing is work. Your social media presence needs care and attention, just as your business web site and brick and mortar store need care and attention. The other truth about social media is that you definitely need to be there. Increasingly, customers find information about goods and services on sites like Facebook and get recommendations from news feeds like Twitter. Here are a few basic points you need to consider when thinking about your social media marketing:

Understand how social media relates to your overall marketing efforts

Social media marketing is one more tool in a pool of marketing tools. It’s crucial to understand how social media works with content marketing, SEO, email marketing, and all of your other marketing tools or you’ll be misdirecting your social efforts.

Invest in quality content and writing

To put your most professional foot forward, your content must be well-written, engaging, and interesting. Search engines like Google place a lot of weight on content in ranking your website. If necessary, invest in a writing professional to help you produce high quality content for your website and social media accounts.

Understand that content drives social media marketing

Conversations and customer engagement will be very fruitful, but conversations plus engaging content will move your social media efforts to the next level. If your content is engaging, your fans and followers will share it, bookmark, retweet it, and recommend it.

Understand that social media is social

Many businesses use social media only as a broadcasting tool. While that is useful, you must also engage in conversations with your colleagues and customers. The more you know about your customers, the more effective and tailored your message can be.

Invest in the right tools for the job

Social media can be a lot of work and can quickly become time consuming, but there are a lot of tools out there to help business oweners manage and make the most of social media. Whether that tool is a plugin installed on our (Broad Street Network, natch) website, a piece of software, or a social media marketing expert you’ve hired, be sure to invest your marketing dollars in the right tools.