Social media: making it work for you and your business

Social networksSocial media marketing has become a mainstream way of communicating — for businesses as well as individuals. Find out how to make the most of the opportunities it offers — and avoid the pitfalls — in our essential set of guides to social media marketing for small businesses

Social media marketing has its fair share of fans as well as a few cynics. However, whether you are an early adopter or a late-comer, the fact is that we have reached a crucial tipping point and — for businesses as well as consumers — online social media has gone mainstream. Never mind the hype — blogs and networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have become an important way to engage with the outside world.

But we’re not here to preach. We’re here to offer practical, down-to-earth guidance for small business people like you so that you can take advantage of what social media marketing can offer — but not let it take over your life!

We’ve got 12 articles covering all aspects of social media aimed specifically at you — entrepreneurs, sole traders and small firms. If you’re a social media beginner, there’s all the information to get you started. But there’s also plenty of advice for businesses that are already networking online and want to improve their performance.

Go to Social media and online networking in Internet marketing or follow these links to find out everything you always wanted to know about social media marketing but were afraid to ask!

What is social media marketing?: We’ve taken the hype out of social media marketing and provided a down-to-earth explanation of what it means for small firms. Read more in our guide, Understand social media marketing

What are the benefits?: Here’s a clear guide to the potential benefits as well as the downsides. Read more in our briefing, How to use social media to attract business customers.

Free marketing: Social media is fresh, fast - and mostly free. But it does require time and effort if you want to get the most out of it. Find out how to set targets and monitor your effectiveness online in our guide, How to use social media to market your business — for free.

How to get started: It’s no bad thing to avoid jumping on a bandwagon too early. You can watch how things develop, see how other people do it and learn from their mistakes. We’ve got all the information you need to get started in our guide, How to introduce social media to your business.

Your personal profile: Your personal profile is the first thing potential contacts will read about you, so it has to be good. We’ve got Ten tips for creating an engaging online profile.

Get new customers: Online social media offer a low-cost way to reach and influence a wide customer base. Read our guide on How to use social media to attract new customers.

Business-to-business firms: If you sell to businesses, you’ll find that many of your prospective customers are networking and buying online. Learn more in our guide Q&A: how can blogging generate conversions?.

An integrated approach: The media may be new but you need to ensure all your marketing works together effectively. Find out how in our guide, Combine social media with other forms of marketing.

How to guides: We’ve got guides to all the main online networking sites that are relevant to businesses today. They include LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

See Social media and online networking under Internet marketing for our full range of advice and resources.