Managing social media profiles for your business can be a tricky maze of guessing and hoping that what you think works actually works. In order to try out new ideas for growth and monetization, it’s important to at least have the basic building blocks of social media in place to assure that when people come to your profiles, they find actual substance. It’s becoming increasingly more common to see an interesting ad, click on the profile connected to it, only to realize that there are near to no content and almost no interactions coming from that profile; they simply needed an account to post their ads.

In my experience, that really can hurt the appearance of a brand. Especially with the social media friendliness that many fortune 500 companies are bringing to the table, a small company cannot simply choose to not provide that same interaction. In the past few years helping small businesses grow online, I’ve found that people actually come to expect more “friendliness” online from small businesses; that is one of the appeals of running a business, to talk to and work with a real person.

The world of social media is ever growing, but it seems that the goals maintain the same. Give people a personal touch to remember. I’ve included a few of the most helpful things we’ve discovered to help maintain and grow your social media, and hope they give you a few things to consider this week as you plan and manage.

1. Post Consistently

The task of posting consistently may seem like an obvious necessity, but you’d be amazed at how poorly most businesses do in this area. Posting consistently provides your customers a constant reminder of your presence and helps keep you in mind when they run into a situation where they need your product or service.

“Posting consistently provides your customers a constant reminder of your presence and helps keep you in mind when they run into a situation where they need your product or service.

Posting consistently can look a lot of different ways, and not everything needs to be directly about your product. If you need new ideas for content, go to analytics and read the interests category under the audience tab. Google Analytics provides clear interests and percentages for the people that visit your site. You may sell a simple service, but if you can include content about something else that your customers enjoy and tie the connection you may be surprised to find that viewers interact more and show more interest.

It’s important that whatever you put out that your content provides and adds value to the life of the viewer. If you aren’t doing that, you are just another post wasting the time of someone scrolling through Facebook. Read more about adding value to content here.

2. Interact, Interact, Interact

It can feel a little awkward, interacting with random people on hashtags and other companies’/peoples’ posts. Don’t let that deter you though. One of the easiest ways to gain a dedicated and involved social media following is jumping out to hashtags related to your product and field and interacting directly on their posts. This can be easily achieved on Twitter and Instagram for free.

I’ve heard everything from companies boosting every post for a month to gain interactions and followers all the way to companies buying followers (PLEASE DON’T DO THIS), and the consistent result is that they have a high number in the followers column and yet have zero interactions. This is what many call having fake followers. Believe it or not, robot followers are becoming increasingly more common, and having more followers does not necessarily mean you are generating the revenue you want from social media.

“…having more followers does not necessarily mean you are generating the revenue you want from social media.

I would recommend you go to twitter or Instagram today for at least 20-30 minutes and simply search for hashtags that relate to your field and simply interact. Comment on posts. Be genuine and kind. Share opinions. Post your content to those hashtags. Just like networking, if you aren’t interacting on social media, how will people know to find you?

3. Don’t Share Everything

This is an easy action item, but simply do not share everything you find interesting to your social media profiles. You may find that some of the articles you enjoy are opinion based and not helpful to your customers.  Unless it is what your company does, sharing politics, negative articles about other companies, opinion articles, or unrelated content to what you do has a higher chance of hurting your brand’s image than actually helping you bring confidence and value to your customers.

4. Orient Everything Around Goals

It’s important that we aren’t just performing “best practices” that we find from other marketers without a plan and a goal. As a brand, you need to establish what your “wins” are on social media. A “win” is whatever you want the end goal to be for your customers. Whether it be lead generation, interactions, brand awareness, donations, or even customer support, make sure that you have a plan and an end goal.

“It’s important that we aren’t just performing “best practices” that we find from other marketers without a plan and a goal.

You can usually tell when brands on social media don’t have a plan. They post random articles, interact aimlessly, and build little relationship with their viewers. Not everything you do has to be “down to business,” but you can keep your feeds light and fun and still feed them the steps you’ve outlined to get them to a win.

Before commenting or posting you should be asking yourself, does this fit into the vision, plan, and cultivate for the goals that my brand has, if not, then back to the drawing boards.