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Social media marketing is an indispensable gold mine to any business growth strategy. It can be used as a vehicle to drive traffic to your website, introduce you to potential clients, and build brand recognition. But how can you make it work for you without getting stuck in a rut? We’ll show you how.

Create and implement a plan

Results just don’t materialize out of nothing. Without investing in a concrete vision or plan, you’ll end up haphazardly putting something together at the last minute or wasting hours stuck in the Facebook vortex absentmindedly looking for shareable content. By taking the time to plan out your posts, you can more effectively strategize in advance on themes surrounding holidays, industry events and seasonal demands. Create a monthly content calendar with well-thought-out and relevant posts.

Grab your free calendar template and checklist here.

Engage, engage, engage

Say it with me now, “social media.” Key word here: social. This means communicating with your audience, not simply posting content in hopes of raking in likes, shares or retweets. Respond to comments, share their posts, ask them questions, and make yourself accessible to your community. Build authentic connections with your followers, address them by name, recognize their existence, and they will in turn, view you and your brand as one worthy of trust.

Share top-notch content

Just cranking out posts is not enough. With so much information being spewed out there, you must stand out from the crowd by consistently posting authoritative, original, and shareable content. Vary the type of content you share; mixing in videos, quotes, and inspiring subject matter you’ve curated from the web. Everyone has a different way they prefer to take in information and by displaying an assortment of vehicles for your content, you’ll be sure to catch the interest of every member of your audience.

Hashtag, rinse, repeat

Ahhh … the beloved hashtag: we’ve seen that little pound sign everywhere from #throwbackthursday to #nofilter, but how can it really help us when it comes to tagging our content? When used correctly, hashtags have the ability to categorize or index content on social media channels, making it easy for users to find what they’re looking for. Add general hashtags like #marketing or #smallbiz to your content to have it indexed under those broader categories. To create a hashtag for your own company, choose a short, easy to remember tag that displays your brand best. And remember, keep the hashtags to a minimum to avoid annoying overload, with three per post being the maximum on Twitter.

Read more on Hashtags: The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

Be yourself.

Forget “fake it ‘til you make it.” People are doing business with YOU, not your avatar. Think of the people you know who really stand out: they are bold, successful and unapologetically authentic. People have the ability to sniff out fakes like bears have the ability to smell honey, and when it comes to social media, no one wants to do business with a phony. Building a brand that is all yours means having your DNA in everything your company does. This means allowing your personality to shine through to attract customers and clients that can honestly trust you, not the show you’re putting on.

So how can you be yourself, while still getting support with your social media marketing? Take a look at this exciting program.