Why does your business need social?

Short answer:  so your fans can find you.

There are now 1.15 billion Facebook users and 304 million users on Twitter. If you want to increase your online presence and brand awareness, set up a social network business page and let potential clients find you.

Of course, setting up a business page alone isn’t going to win you legions of new fans. An effective social media presence requires that you regularly post valuable, relevant and engaging content to your fans. When users visit your Facebook page, imagine they are visiting your storefront. Be friendly and helpful. Point out sales and discounts they may find appealing. Share tips, tricks and advice to get the most out of your products.

There’s another benefit to having a strong social presence. As Google recoils from the spammy and shady practices of link-building, social signals are gaining more strength. Social sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have high authority. Your search ranking improves with the more fans and followers you gain, the more content you produce that gets shares and more often people find your site through your social networks

To get the most out of your social networks, keep these best practices in mind.

Make sure all social profiles are accurate and complete

This is an easy task to do. And, apparently, an even easier task to ignore. Far too often we come across business pages with incomplete or inaccurate contact information. Make no mistake about it, updating your company details is the most important step in creating your social media presence. Imagine a fan who discovers your page and finds themselves intrigued by your services — only to discover that there is no way to contact you directly to learn more. Frustrating, right? Make sure that you include a working website URL, correct address, contact info and hours of operation in every social profile you have.

Keep branding consistent

Your online presence benefits from establishing a clear branding goal. Make sure that the images you choose reflect your target audience and their lifestyles. Always use the same logo on all your social networks to make it easy for your fans to recognize your business. When adding a logo to your social profiles, make sure to size it appropriately. A clear, perfectly cropped profile pictures means the difference between a company that pays attention to details and looks professional, as opposed to someone who cuts corners.

Create key-word rich content

Want to really boost your web ranking? Host a blog on your website and keep it active with regular, keyword-rich blog posts. Search engines emphasize content freshness in ranking, so this is a great practice in and of itself. But when you share blog posts on your social networks, you reap even more benefits. Shared content — either on your own social networks or on others — boosts your social signals, gives you stronger web authority and is powerful way to provide a path to both spiders and consumers to your website.

Explore other channels that are right for your business

Find out where your ideal target audience hangs out and join the conversation. If you are B2B, consider LinkedIn to broaden your network. This is an ideal space for people who work in such industries as law, education and technology.  If you have the time and the dedication to devote to online customer service, you can benefit enormously from the Twitter environment. Engage directly with a younger audience to announce real time events, respond to questions and complaints and establish your voice.  If you have products with a strong visual element, post appealing photos on Instagram and start generating a buzz with the young, the hip and an audience that enjoys food, fashion and art.

Don’t forget to take advantage of social plugins and widgets to enhance the design and user experience of your website. When your rich and engaging social content is prominently displayed on your site, you not only enjoy thethe rewards of improved SEO value, you also position yourself as a modern business and make it easier to convert your audience.