social media iconsJust a few years ago, social media was the hottest topic for small and large businesses alike. But the odds are that by now, your business has taken the plunge by creating a few basic social media profiles on websites like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter for marketing purposes. Right?

Yes, small businesses are using social media more than ever before. According, 78% of small businesses are already using Twitter, and 75% are using Facebook as of 2011. So which website is delivering the best results? Twitter seems to be the more interactive choice since 50% of businesses’ customer comments come directly from Twitter.

On average, 62% of small businesses are posting to social media 8 times a week, and 24% are posting 1 to 7 times per week. Clearly, small business owners have gotten the memo that it is vital to be active in social media if you want any chance of reaching out to your customers to build relationships and draw them to your brand.

So what can you as a business owner do to up the ante when it comes to social media?Here are a few tips to take to heart to take your social media strategy to the next level:

  • Less is more. Yes, you heard me right. If you are new to the social media realm, it’s better to focus on one platform until you have mastered it. For most businesses, the most successful platform will be Twitter since Twitter users are more likely to follow brands and engage in conversations with strangers.

Twitter is your perfect opportunity to ask questions, ask for feedback, and start conversations to gain more followers. Remember, social media is all about relationships, so it’s time to start reaching out.

  • Give before you get. Sure, the majority of small business owners are posting to social media 8 times a week, but what are they saying? If a business owner is making the mistake of posting marketing messages over and over again, then they’re not going to get anywhere.

That is probably the biggest mistake that you could make on a website like Twitter or Facebook. Instead, the best approach to take is to give, give, give. Give your followers free information, links to interesting articles, and even free downloads to attract them to you. Once you gain trust in social media, your followers will spread the word about you to their friends.

  • Don’t forget about your blog. If you have a social media presence but don’t have a blog to link back to, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. The whole purpose of social media is to reach out to people on a neutral ground.

But then, you need to draw them back to your blog so that they can become a part of your unique community. This can be done by building up your blog with relevant topics and interesting content that visitors will be likely to link to and pass around to their friends in social media.