Read These Tips Before Your Business Joins Social Media (or After — It's Not Too Late)

Young people using mobile devicesSo you want to use social media. Great! Social media can be a valuable part of your marketing strategy. It gives you an easy way to interact with customers directly and gets them thinking about you more frequently.

But with pins, likes, favorites and follows, how can you keep all these social media channels straight? How are you going to know which platforms give you the most bang for your marketing buck?

If you're diving headfirst into the world of social media marketing, here are some tips to help you get what you want out of your new adventure.

Get the Voice Right

It's easy to look at social media and think that participating on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter requires a fun attitude. After all, just look at the way big brands like Pizza Hut and Coca-Cola interact with customers on social media. They share a ton of fun pictures, videos and GIFs, and people love them.

However, having an uninhibited voice on social media isn't right for everybody. A company that produces medical supplies wouldn't benefit from a goofy Twitter persona. In fact, LinkedIn might be a better fit than Twitter due to the seriousness of the company's life-saving products. When you're planning which social media platforms to use, be sure you know what kind of tone you need to use to convey your message.

Avoid Emoji Overload

We Heart our customers and enjoy Smiley with them through our not-always-serious blog. Would you believe that we're planning on doing a blog post where we talk Pizza, Taco and Cake? We're just kidding, of course (maybe not about the cake).

Society has really embraced the usage of emojis, especially among millennials. It's like they prefer Egyptian hieroglyphics to written words. While using emojis in your social media campaigns can be a good way to connect with the people who use them the most — check out the Domino's pizza-ordering emoticon — you can still go overboard. Chevrolet's mysterious emoji press release for the new Cruze is a perfect example of how you can go too far with them. If you're going to use emojis, just be sure you don't use so many that nobody can decipher your message.

Know the Value

So you've figured out what tone fits your company best and you're trying really hard not to Heart emoticons too much, but what does it all mean? How does social media help your business? Sure, you can see how many times you've been liked, shared, pinned or retweeted, but you need to know if those individual digital cheers are making you money, let alone making the investment worth it.

Social media marketing can be a valuable tool in building brand awareness, but it can be a money pit if you and your staff are focusing time and effort on your social media presence but customers aren't ultimately buying from you. If your social media marketing is generating leads, you need to know about it. That's where an online analytics tool that tracks online-to-offline conversions would come in handy. Once potential customers click through your social media ads to visit your website, you'll know exactly what they viewed on your website and can then trace their phone calls back to the social media ads that drove them there.

If you're ready to hop on the social media bandwagon, you need to know about potential social media pitfalls. Read our post "What We Can Learn From These Social Media Disasters."