Three thousand members in your Facebook group! You’re following 5,000 on Twitter! You’re well on your way to social media nirvana, right?
The low barrier to entry for most popular social media tools today means that anyone can be in the game. But it also makes it very easy to abuse your audience, perhaps resulting in the opposite of what you intend.

In the best world, using social media tools and community websites to promote your brand means that you reach more prospects and you are in the same space where your customers already hang out. To reap those advantages, think about these points:

  • Your social media efforts are part of your overall marketing. Already sent three all-list emails this week? It’s probably not a good idea to also send a message to all your Facebook friends. But, critical: Know your audience. A younger audience may be more receptive to the Facebook pitch in the first place….an older audience may be more sensitive to the total number of communications you’re sending. Don’t just go with your gut on these issues. Survey, read the research, and know you’re right about the best channels, and the ideal frequency, to communicate with your audience.
  • Make it relevant. Posting to Twitter every time you post to your blog? Make sure you’re watching your stats — do you lose followers when you post? Have you stopped growing your followers? Each Twitter community can have its own characteristics, but a general rule for any content-driven tool is: Provide valuable information your audience can’t get anywhere else.
  • Be methodical. Treat your social media like you would any other marketing effort. Create a plan. Set goals. Follow through step-by-step. Then, evaluate. You’ll quickly find what does and doesn’t work for your audience.