There is no denying that we are currently in the golden age of social media. In 2014 alone, 8 out of 10 small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) used social media to drive business growth and three out of five said they gained new customers by doing so. If your company is business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) there are huge, inherent benefits to properly using social media.

5 Helpful Tips to Make an ENORMOUS Impact on Social in 2015We at Social Media Beast want to help make 2015 your most social year yet. That’s why we’ve gathered up some useful tips you can employ in your social media strategy.

1. Pick the right platform

Not every social media platform is right for your business. Your business should choose to designate the most time and effort to the platform that will reach your target audience. LinkedIn is great if you’re looking to connect and network with other businesses. Selling a product geared towards females? You’ll want to jump on Pinterest where 80 percent of the users are women. Facebook and Twitter have the capability of reaching a wide audience, while also giving you the luxury of speaking directly to your audience. When it comes down to it, it’s better to have a powerful presence on a few social media platforms, than a weaker presence on all of them.

2. Post when people will see your content

Some social media platforms, such as Facebook, offer helpful insights and analytics to view when your followers are online. Find out whether your followers are early worms, lunchtime lurkers, or night owls and post content according to when they’re online. In the event that you’re using a platform that doesn’t offer this feature, then it’s up to you to experiment! Try posting content at different times of the day to see when the most engagement occurs.

Jay Baer, the founder of Convince & Convert, urges social media users to post their content just before or after the hour, i.e. 1:50 p.m. or 2:05 p.m. It is around these times when people at work are just getting out of meetings. During that time they are more likely to be using social media. Don’t underestimate the science behind timing!

3. Use images and videos to get your message out

Images and videos are the best way to convey your brand and message to your audience. In the past, we discussed how to best optimize images for engagement because we realize how important imagery is on social media. Image-based platforms such as Instagram are becoming especially popular ways for businesses to share pictures and videos with their audience.

Videos can help increase people’s understanding of your product or service by up to 74%. Social media is a competitive arena and your content is constantly up against other brands. When vying for short attention spans it’s important to post content that will catch people’s eye. Movement catches eyes. And whether you post a colorful image or an enticing video thumbnail, your business must post content that will peak curiosity.

4. Build engagement by engaging with others

Quality engagement starts with good conversation. Posting articles and images that are relevant to your audience is a great way to engage with potential consumers. Tagging and talking directly to businesses and customers adds a new level of personalization to social media.

Did you know that most consumers engage with brands with customer service requests? In fact, one-third of users prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone. It’s important to let people know you’re there and available to help. Also, remember to have some fun. Consumers are more at ease when they feel like they’re talking to a real human being.

5. Stop with the sales pitch

The fastest way to alienate your audience is to bog down their news feed with redundant sales pitches. To combat this, many brands use the 80/20 rule in their social media strategy. This rule says that 80 percent of your content should be interesting and entertaining to your audience. This builds your brand as a reputable and trustworthy faucet for good content that will keep people coming back. The other 20 percent should include call-to-actions and self-promotion. It should include deals or current news concerning your business that would appeal to your audience. It’s important to build an engaged audience before showcasing your products or services.

Following these tips will help ensure that 2015 will be your most social year yet. Choosing the right platform, posting content in a timely manner, using images and videos, engaging with others, and employing the 80/20 rule will help shape your social strategy in the best way possible.