If you want to find potential customers these days, one of the most likely places is on social media. Here are five dos and don’ts for building a strong social media presence:

  1. DO pick one network and do it well

    It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different social networks out there and think it will either take all day to update them or it will mean expensive outsourcing. It doesn’t have to require either. The key is to pick one social network platform and do it well. That means regular, consistent posts and prompt responses to people who contact you. Nothing is more frustrating for a follower or a fan than random and infrequent updates. They might want to follow you but they won’t if there’s nothing there.

  2. DO figure out where your audience hangs out online

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    Twitter and Facebook are the social networks most people are comfortable with. You can be pretty sure your audience is there. But a more niche platform might work better for your company. Pinterest and Instagram are more photo-oriented, for instance. If your business is a highly visual one, like a bakery or a fashion business, one of these might be more appropriate. If video is a key marketing strategy, consider YouTube as your platform.

  3. DON’T just talk at your audience

    Advertising used to be a one-way street but today people expect to have a conversation when they engage with a brand. Whether you are Apple or a small business, consumers expect they can have a relationship with your brand. You want to make sure you are listening and responding—or your audience will avoid your business.

  4. DO be yourself

    It might seem like a good solution to just hire a 20-something and tell them to keep your social media up to date, but if you don’t give them guidance about your brand and how you want them to speak, it will just be that 20-something speaking from his or her own voice, not your company’s voice. Whether you take care of your social media in-house or outsource it, be sure that your social media sounds like your brand.

  5. DON’T oversell

    Managing your brand on social media means being careful not to promote yourself too much or too often. People want to be educated and informed— even entertained. If all you post is direct sales promotion, people will tune you out.

When you think about how to reach your customers these days, social media is a major tool. If you ignore this, you will be missing out on a good chunk of your potential market.