This is a guest post by Anny Solway who is a dedicated writer with long experience in social media. Anny writes about blogging, social media, and technology.

What would you say drives the most traffic to your website? Is it your PPC campaign? Perhaps it is direct traffic from real life customers typing your URL into their browser address bar. Maybe you’re under the impression that your traffic is mostly generated from your direct mail campaign. While all of these are good possibilities, chances are excellent that they’re not the true source of your traffic, at least not if you’ve bothered to get into the world of social media marketing. It really does get the online business world moving, and it can offer some significant advantages to you if you do things the right way.

Social Media Marketing

It’s a Single Picture, Not a Jigsaw Puzzle

It’s tempting to look at social media marketing as a bunch of different pieces in a puzzle. However, it’s important that you do away with that mindset. Social media marketing isn’t a jigsaw puzzle – it’s the picture itself. When you correctly unify your social media efforts, this becomes obvious. So, how do you go about the unification process? Thankfully, it’s a bit simpler than it was getting East and West Germany back together.

The first step is to develop a hub. Now, this shouldn’t be a particular network. Instead, it should be a different location from which you can branch out to all the networks that you decide to put to use. Your blog makes an excellent choice. If you don’t have a blog, you can use your website, but that’s not as effective. Really, if you don’t have a blog yet, it’s time to make one. There are plenty of premium WordPress themes available so you can create the look and feel that you want, and you can easily build in any type of functionality necessary.

What’s the Purpose of a Hub?

As you can gather from the name, the entire point of having your blog as the hub of your social media marketing efforts is so that you can tie everything together. Ideally, everything will flow out of your blog, to your social networks, and then back in (via your followers and fans coming to pay a visit). Of course, this does require that you do a few things to optimize your blog for social media users. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Commit to Regular Posts – No matter how big your business is, no matter how popular you might be online, you can’t be very successful with social media if you can’t commit to regular posts on your blog. You don’t have to do daily posts, but you should update the content a couple of times per week (3 times is sufficient).
  2. Add Sharing Buttons – Now, the goal of posting here is so that your readers can come, read your words of wisdom, be inspired, and then share your posts with their own connections. If you think they’re going to do that on their own, you’re sadly mistaken. You need to give them the tools to do so. Social media sharing buttons at the bottom of each post will do the trick (and they’re easy to install with most WordPress plugins).
  3. Respond to Comments – If your readers take the time to comment on your blog posts, then it behooves you to reply. It’s a simple matter of respect. If you don’t respect your potential customers enough to pen a quick reply to a thoughtful comment, then you can bet they’re not going to be very impressed with your company.
  4. Sidebar Widgets Showing Social Media Accounts – One final word needs to be said about the layout of your hub. You need to install social media widgets (just the appropriate icons) in your sidebar or in the footer. These give new visitors the means to connect with you in other places and helps to grow your audience.

Social Media Foibles – The Balancing Act

Now that you have the hub all laid out, a little bit needs to be said about your use of social media. We won’t go into the basics here – you should be familiar with creating an account and filling out a profile. Instead, let’s look at post types, frequency, and responses.

Post types will range from purely promotional to sharing the posts of those connected with you and more. It’s imperative that you avoid doing nothing but promo stuff. No one wants to connect with a company that only talks about itself. You’ll lose followers in the long run.

Frequency is another important matter. Too many updates in a short period of time will encourage people to ignore you, or even block you. Too few and you let them forget about you. You must strike a balance with the frequency of your social media updates to avoid this fate.

Finally, just as you have to respond to comments on your blog posts, you have to respond to comments on your social media posts. You don’t need to reply to each and every “Hi!”, but you do need to make an effort.