Social media has only been around for a short while and it has greatly exploded into a network of possibilities. Not only is social media used to communicate with friends and family, shop, and find love, it is also a way for businesses to market to their present and hopefully future customers. Social media has allowed marketers to transform one-way communication into an interactive experience. The ability to shape products and services based on real time customer feedback is the brilliance behind marketing via social media. Although social media sounds so simple, it may be difficult to decipher how to utilize social media for marketing purposes.

Here are 11 tips to help with social media usage as part of a marketing strategy:

1. Research: There are many social media outlets available and it can get crowded and confusing trying to decide which ones to use. Research should be conducted on how to use social media and what social media outlet is the best to use.
2. Set goals: Have a plan set so you can measure your progress and success.
3. Use the correct social media outlet for your audience: Different social media sites cater to certain things. To reach a specific audience, the right outlet must be used. For example, if your business sells consumer products, Facebook might be the best platform.
4. Be on your best behavior: Everything said online can be seen and gets recorded. It also becomes permanent. Think before you type.
5. Be interesting: Anything boring will not be read or followed. Updates or tweets should be lively and catch the attention of your audience.
6. Communicate instead of broadcasting: Social media is about engaging your audience and creating two-way communication. Avoid bombarding followers or fans with useless information.
7. Don’t be negative: Never say anything negative about another business. It could come back and haunt you and ruin your reputation.
8. Keep updated: Make sure you are keeping current. Don’t leave your audience to wonder and become stagnant.
9. Personalization: Make profile pages match the business atmosphere and incorporate the business culture.
10. Quality over quantity: Don’t go overboard and sign up for every social media site available. Keep it simple and only choose a couple of the top sites.
11. Use links: Add links to your social media accounts. Links help to get customers to your actual website. Also do the opposite and link your social media sites on your company website.

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