Small businesses are being increasingly encouraged to add social media to their marketing mix to promote their products and services.  But the question for many is whether sites such as Twitter and Facebook can really be effective or are they just a total waste of time.

Let’s face it; if you’re running a small business you know that one of the biggest challenges is prioritising the competing demands on your time.  Like face to face networking, social media doesn’t produce instant results but business can be made if you take the time to build up relationships with fellow users.   It needn’t take more than an hour a day if you do it right – just dip in and out during the day when you’ve got something useful to say or share.

So if you’re new to social media and feeling frustrated at not getting results, here are 5 top tips on using social media to promote your business effectively without too much effort.

Complete your profile fully so that other people can see exactly what you do.  It’s important to include a picture of yourself as it not only adds credibility but helps people to “know, like and trust” you.

Connect with your target market.  Use the search tools on Twitter and Facebook to find relevant people.  Join groups on LinkedIn to connect with like-minded business owners and get involved in discussions.  Use Twellow, Twitter’s own “yellow pages” to find people by profession or location.

Don’t sell! Drip feed updates about your business or blog posts in amongst other non-business related messages.  Post links to relevant articles/blogs from other sites – use Google Alerts to get the latest news on your industry; interact with your followers by asking questions; and retweet their posts if you find them useful.

Manage your accounts and schedule updates using tools such as Buffer, HootSuite and SocialOomph. With HootSuite and Buffer, you can send one update to all your accounts at the same time.  However, be careful and don’t duplicate too many posts as that joke you post on Twitter may not go down well on LinkedIn.

Delegate! If you’re really struggling to find the time then you can outsource your social media management to a someone else.  They can help you to post your blogs and updates to your social media accounts, while you get on with running your business and making money!

So now you have some tips on using social media to promote your business, but if you need help with setting up and managing your profiles, then check out our social media marketing services. We can help you to create a clear strategy to get your marketing messages seen and heard by your followers and fans and turn them into clients.