social mediaSocial media is an important tool that allows online businesses to connect with customers and drive traffic. But not every company is achieving results from social networks.

There is a code of conduct – social etiquette, let’s say. Knowing how to correctly use social media is the first challenge marketers need to master. So to get you started, here are some top tips from social media marketing experts.

Mine Twitter to Grow Your Audience

The first objective of a successful social media campaign is building a community of followers that engage with your content and have a genuine interest in your products and brand.

Easier said than done, and a fair amount of research is involved building customer profiles. And time is not a luxury many online businesses can afford to flitter away.

According to social media consultant, Mark Schaefer, the quickest and most effective way of accruing valuable followers and developing an audience is by mining Twitter.

Look for specialist communities and follow influencers in your field of expertise. This will allow you to tap into users engaging with the people you are following.

Influencers are bloggers and celebrities that show an interest, or are affiliates of a specific brand, most of whom use Twitter as their social tool of choice. They like quick tweets, it’s fast and efficient.

And mining the followers of influencers enables you to tap into people that already have an interest in your services and products, thus are more likely to engage with your content. This is best practice for businesses that are new to online marketing or if your social media strategy is not working.

Use images as visual gateways

Visual images are eye-catching and tend to get more clicks and shares than any other type of content. Although images are typically used in written content, they do not become the stand-out feature.

But by making images the main feature of your content, you increase your chances of attracting traffic. But image-only content alone will not help you improve conversions – so it should be used as a stepping stone to richer content.

Using visual content as a gateway to services or product pages, or even detailed blog posts, becomes a vital part of your purchasing process, and given users are reluctant to engage with advertising content on social networks, is a user-friendly approach to lead consumers along the path.

Consistent content

To maximise the potential of social media networks you have to be visible. You can do this by publishing content on a consistent basis. Don’t panic, it doesn’t always have to be your own content – unless you have the resources to publish high volumes of content of course.

But most companies do not have time or money to invest in publishing content through social networks on a consistent basis. Which is why sharing the work of others is so popular. Experts have been saying this for years and it still features on their list of social media strategies.

Strategic hashtags

According to Peg Fitzpatrick, author of “The Art of Social Media,” using hashtags willy-nilly is not a strategy. Well, not one that works. What she recommends is to use hashtags that tie your pieces of content together.

That means curating content for a social media marketing campaign that correlates with one another – a series of articles that reveal stage-by-stage processes for example.

Once you create hashtags, they can be picked up by other users searching or posting content on the same subject. Hashtags that are easy to spell and remember are the most effective.

Linkedin Publisher reach

The Linkedin Publisher feature has turned out to be an effective platform for online professionals. Perhaps more than any other social media network, Linkedin enables you to target the right people, especially B2B users.

And because social media marketing success relies on brands increasing visibility and positioning yourself as an expert in your field, Linkedin publisher enables you to your content in front of more people that will take an active interest.

Every time you publish a piece of content on Linkedin Publisher, your connections receive an alert. The social network may also notify users of your content through the Linkedin Pulse feature if the user has shown an interest in your content or the subject matter in the past.

According to senior content marketing manager at Linkedin, Jason Miller, writers publishing long-form content that is detailed, well-researched and offer rich value to readers are having the most success on Linkedin Publisher.

There are many strategies you can use on social media, and what you do next depends on your company interests and what state of affairs your social campaign is currently in.

Regardless of which social network you prefer, there is always a key strategy. What you have to discover and decide is which social network best suits your company, and which strategies will be most effective to promote your content and interact with prospects.