Let’s be honest, no one starts social media marketing just to stick with the same 50 friends or interact only with their original 100 followers. As much as you love your Aunt Mildred’s enthusiasm for your new business or your old co-worker’s dedication to your new venture, at some point you’re going to want to branch out to new customers. You want as many people to know about your business as possible, but sometimes you may feel like you are grinding your wheels in the mud of the same-old-same.

Online PR is a little different than traditional public relations. It’s still important to reach out to your customers (they’re paying the bills, after all), but the ability to connect and interact with customers on a personal level is what sets the social media marketing apart from traditional marketing. It may seem a little complicated at first, but these six tips will keep you on the right track:

  1. Avoid the sales pitch. Successful social media marketing is not about flashy salesperson gimmicks. Instead of focusing on the sales, zero in on the person – you. By being honest with your company’s intention and how your products/services can benefit customers, they’ll appreciate seeing the person behind the title.
  2. Be indispensable. Another common misconception about online PR is that it must be utilized at all times. Updating on the hour, every hour, is a good idea – but only if you have something valuable to say. Post links to interesting and relevant articles with thoughtful commentary, and you’ll start to be viewed as a resource instead of a vendor. 140 characters can go a long way!
  3. Stay visible. Many companies have multiple social media accounts, but unless you’re telling people about them, they probably have no idea. Don’t wait for your clients to find you. Use online PR to its fullest and feature the links on your website, e-mails and blog – you’ll get much more attention when you’re easily visible. While basking in your popularity, take the time to make sure your spelling, punctuation and grammar are on point. Web content writing is about communicating clearly and effectively (and you won’t do either if you’re distracting people with your lack of attention to detail).
  4. Reply to people who comment on your posts. You have interested, vocal customers and you are…not saying anything. This is the quickest way to lose their interest (or develop a bad reputation, if you don’t respond quickly to negative comments). Social media marketing is about connecting in ways that were once impossible. Answer their questions and jump in discussions about your company on blog, and do so on a regular basis. Updating once a week or checking for blog comments every few days doesn’t allow for the real-time interaction people have come to expect.
  5. Update often. Letting the cobwebs grow on your accounts will make your customers looks elsewhere. After determining your content prerogative, don’t be shy. Keep the content fresh like a Summer’s Eve commercial – this includes your blog, too.
  6. But don’t update too often. An easy mistake is to flood your social media accounts with updates every few minutes. Space them out (especially for Facebook, think every couple of days instead of every couple of hours), unless you want to specialize in serving spam to your network.

With social media marketing, questions are answered faster, problems are fixed sooner and new ideas are created. This means that you need to respond quickly, or risk falling behind. Keep on top of new trends, and try to be among the first to break important industry news whenever you can – eventually, your online PR efforts will pay off with an increase in fans, followers and site traffic. You’ll also get more backlinks than you’ve ever had before, all without having to pay an Indian company to spam random blogs.

If you think this sounds like a ton of work, you’re right. There’s a definite learning curve with social media marketing and online PR, which is why many companies opt to outsource the job to experts. If you’re interested in learning more about what The Content Factory has to offer (and how much we charge), check out How Much Does Professional Web Content Writing Cost? and How Much Does Social Media Marketing Cost?