Since Social Media is so new, we’re all in the early stages of learning how to use this powerful tool to its full potential. But we know enough to be dangerous (so to speak!). If you are using social media as part of your marketing mix, these tips will help you get more out of your efforts.

(1). Have a target. There are millions of people on social media. Who is going to find you most fascinating? Finding your ideal prospect and speaking directly to him or her makes a huge difference in the results you will get from your social media efforts. Having tens of thousands of followers does nothing for you if they aren’t people who can, and will, buy from you.

(2). Distribute broadly. Content is hard, and great content is really hard. So when you’ve put all the effort into developing a solid idea into content that demonstrates your expertise to your ideal prospect, don’t keep it a secret. Post it to your blog or website, and share it on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn. But there’s more you can do beyond that:

  • Make a short YouTube video of you talking about that same idea.
  • Take a big idea and make a blog post into a series of posts.
  • Take a series of blog posts and make a Slideshare presentation out of it.
  • Post it to your Scoop.it or storify.com sites.
  • Interview another expert, or client about that same idea.
  • Where could you place a guest post about that same material? Think about spending as much time promoting content as you spent creating it.

(3). Go person-to-person. If you are active on social media there are likely a few folks that you “chat” with regularly – folks who talk about the same issues or passions as you. Which of them would have a particular interest in the piece of content you just created? Who can you @mention in a twitter post, or in a G+ comment who would really appreciate that content? Would they retweet it, or comment on it? Make sure they see it.

(4). Take baby steps. It’s a big step to get folks to go from interacting with you on social media to calling to hire you. So take baby steps to walk them closer to you so it’s easier for them to make that call. All of your social media efforts should be directed toward pulling folks into your website; that’s the ultimate goal. Once folks are there, how can they experience your expertise in “baby steps”? Can they watch a video of you in action? Are there some longer form written works (eBooks, white papers, etc.) where they can “know” your thinking? Is there an email newsletter they can join to find out more about you over time? What are the ways in which prospects can “date” and learn more about you?

(5). Don’t forget the “real world.” Social Media is great, but nothing beats face to face communication. Whenever you are going out to an event or a conference, think about who might be interested or go there. Can you reach out through your social channels and arrange to meet up? If you aren’t going to be out and about, can you set up a phone call to get to know folks better? Just because you met them on the web doesn’t mean you can’t meet them in the “real world” too!

There is no doubt that Social Media is here to stay. So, you better take the time to acclimate yourself.