If you are in business today using social media effectively is important

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube; whether you are a social media guru or not, these are things that you have heard of. You might be thinking of adding them to your marketing strategy, or you already have, and are trying to figure out how to use them properly.

When it comes to social media, the key is to start out small. Try all three mediums (you can use LinkedIn and Google+ too, of course) to see which is the best for your business. For instance, if you have a restaurant, the best medium would more than likely be a combination of Facebook and Twitter, as you can advertise meal specials on Twitter and provide pictures of your menu items on Facebook.

The following is a brief summary of each medium, which might help you to choose the best social media for your business.

Twitter

Twitter is more like a radio advertisement than anything else. Being at only 140 characters, Tweets need to be short, to the point and interesting enough to capture the reader’s attention. They can be repeated as often as you like, and can include as many variations on a theme as you’d like. Twitter is excellent for short-term sales (like the aforementioned lunch specials), real estate listings (Twitter is a superb tool for Realtors, as you can Tweet open houses, new listings, what have you) and advertisements of any kind. When you are writing your Tweets, keep in mind that you need to add hashtags (#thisisahashtag) and shorten your URLs (there are many out there, with Hootsuite and Tiny URL being the most popular).

Facebook

Facebook is more of a medium-term venue; most people visit Facebook when they have some free time to waste, so you can go into more detail with a Facebook post. Posts should be about 100 words, lengthwise, and always include a picture—the more engaging the picture, the more engagement your post will get. A picture of a question mark will do nothing to increase the engagement on an upcoming surprise sale, but a picture of the sale item with some parts blacked out will get people interested in the mystery. Facebook posts should either provide information, ask for an opinion or for people to participate, or be entertaining.

YouTube

Most people watch YouTube to learn something new or to be entertained. If you are a Realtor, for instance, you can post YouTube videos of your new listing; you can do a short how-to on improving your home’s curb appeal, or you can post a funny video about some of your Realtors. It all depends on what will best engage your current and potential clients, and the best way to reach them.

All three of these social media platforms work interdependently, but can also be cross-promoted; for instance, if you’re having a sale on winter tires, you can Tweet the actual sale, post a funny winter photo on Facebook and mention the sale, and on YouTube, you can post a video on choosing the right winter tire. The options are endless!

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