If you are trying your best to leverage the many social marketing sites that exist, you’re not alone. Many businesses of all sizes are doing their best to figure out how to best capitalize on tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others. Here are some tips to help you in that regard:

1: Develop a strategy and regularly revisit it.

In order for you to succeed with social marketing you’ll need to gain an understanding of how each tool works and develop a strategy and schedule for orchestrating your strategy.

Furthermore, you’ll need to revisit it often so that you can see what is working well and what is not. You’re more likely to succeed with implementing a thoughtful and consistent strategy rather than simply creating accounts and trying to make time for them.

2: Make sure you’re social.

Social sites are supposed to be social. If you’re just pushing out links and status updates and not socializing with others, you’re not ‘getting’ the purposes of social media. That said, remember that what goes on the internet is forever (usually even if it’s deleted) and that appearances mean everything. The right blend of professional and sociable is important.

3: Monitor your accounts.

It’s important to not only use your accounts but to monitor them. By watching what’s happening you’ll be able to see what sorts of results you are getting and you’ll be able to quickly deal with questions or escalations. It has become commonplace for customers to take to tools like Twitter to make complaints about a company. This can be stressful but it presents a good opportunity to show your customers what your customer service skills are made of. Be sure that you or one of your staff members (or even an agency that offers this as a service) is continually monitoring your social marketing accounts.

4: Integrate other activities into social media and vice versa.

One of the great things about social media sites is the fact that they can be integrated into other sites and vice versa. Leveraging this ability can help you get better results as well as save time on your online marketing and strategizing.

You can add social bookmarking tools to your website to help your customers share your content on Twitter, Facebook, and so on. You can encourage sign-ups to sites and applications by enabling people to quickly and easily sign up with their Facebook account. You can set your business blog up to automatically post your updates on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other accounts. Conversely, you can add a Facebook or Twitter widget to your blog or add a plug-in for lead generation to your Facebook page that feeds information into your CRM tool.

There are many ways to leverage social media to send traffic to your website and to leverage your website to build up your social media profiles and following.

5: Follow good social marketing etiquette.

It’s not the end of the world if you are a late bloomer in the social marketing space but you don’t want this to be glaringly obvious. Many of your customers and prospects are extremely social media savvy. Learning the socially acceptable etiquette rules is important so that you show customers you are a consummate professional. If you appear to be a newbie on these tools, people probably won’t take you seriously. A bit of research and reading some tips guides for various tools can help you avoid looking unprofessional.

6: Analyze your website traffic reports.

This will help you determine where you are getting results and traffic from. You can use this info to help you tweak a strategy or spend even more time somewhere that is bringing you great results.

7: Leverage great tools to help you.

Social marketing can be time consuming. But there are tools that can help in many ways including helping you save time with automatic posting and extracting valuable analytics for you to use for strategy purposes.

8: Watch your competitors

Competitive analysis is vital in the current day and age and social marketing makes it easier than ever because of the transparent nature of the web. Watching your competitors can help you see what they are doing well and what they aren’t doing so well and this info can help you improve your approach.

9: Listen to your customers and learn about them.

Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and others can help you gain invaluable insight for future reference. Don’t neglect to pay close attention to what sort of reaction you get from various strategies with these tools. They can help you build strong bonds and loyalty with your customers.

10: Make providing value priority #1.

These online communities can be a great place to leverage your expertise and to build a brand. If you strive to provide value in everything you do, including posting helpful updates and sharing useful info (especially if it’s not always self serving) you can leverage social media to help you with your search engine optimization, your reputation, your customer relationship management, and more.

Social media can be a great lead generation tool for your small business. Make sure to capitalize on those leads with the help of a simple CRM like Base.