Unless you've been living under a rock for the past several years, it should be pretty apparent to you that the concept of social media marketing is the latest and greatest way to do business. Unfortunately, although most individuals have their own personal social media accounts, many businesses are still struggling to successfully utilize these networking sights to reach their consumer base. The good news is that setting up and maintaining an effective Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account is not as difficult as you may think. Here's a closer look at what each social network can do for your business, and how to get the most out of your account(s).

facebookFacebook for Business - Of all of the social media networking sites, Facebook is perhaps the most popular amongst the masses. Because of this, it's important for businesses to create their own account to improve the odds of connecting with their potential clients. A Facebook business page is slightly different from a personal page in that it allows you to provide an overview of your company including specific information like your hours of operation, your business phone number, your website address, your email address, your business location, and even instructions on where visitors can park upon arrival. It's important for businesses to also categorize themselves as a local business (as opposed to a product, public figures, community cause, etc.) as this will allow your customers to "check in" at your business. This may not seem particularly significant, but when an individual checks in at your location, all of his or her friends will be able to see it. In this way, you are getting free advertising. The same goes for "likes" or "shares". When you post helpful, informative, or thought provoking-posts, you are more likely to get responses from your consumers, and the more responses you get - the more free advertising you will enjoy in the form of likes and shares that will draw in new potential clients.

twitterTwitter for Business - Another option for business owners is to establish a Twitter Business account. Much like on Facebook, one of the best ways to reach your audience is to offer relevant and useful information via your "Tweets". Consider extending special offers for your followers, providing helpful tips that pertain to the goods or services that you provide, or asking questions to engage your readers. Not only does this establish your value and know-how as a business, but it also keeps your followers involved and puts on you the map to attract more notice. Another perk of Twitter is that it will allow you to regularly monitor what comments are being made about your company or brand so that you know where you should "keep up the good work", and where you can make improvements.

linkedinLinkedIn for Business - LinkedIn is the social media site that is specifically targeted at business professionals. Although you may think this site is only useful for establishing business contacts (and it is very good for this), it can also be used to market your own company. The LinkedIn "Answers" features allows you to respond to questions that pertain to your business type in order to show off your expertise. Other working professionals may see your answer and like it, offering you their business in turn. LinkedIn is also a great way to seek out future employees, or even "poach" them from another business. You may also consider joining LinkedIn "Groups" in order to make contacts with like-minded individuals in the same industry who can offer you tips and tricks to improve the way that you run your company.

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