The billboard is dead. The Yellow Pages are obsolete. In the 21st century, the best way to spread the word about your business is through social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. But what if you’re having trouble bringing your website up to speed with the changing times? How can you use social media to your advantage? Here are just five tips for social media integration and optimization.

  1. Know Your Demographic

The first step is research. Who shops at your store? Who responds to your ads? This information can help you determine which social media sites are worth your time. If your target market is middle-aged men, for example, there’s no use signing up for Tumblr, a site used primarily by teenage girls. Be selective about where and how you spend your social media marketing effort.

  1. Get Connected

Once you’ve figured out your demographic, it’s time to become an active participant on their playground. Sign up for their favorite social media sites; create accounts, profiles and posts that advertise your business; reach out to your customer base by liking and retweeting their content. Let them know that you’re present and ready to connect.

  1. Encourage Sharing

Share buttons are little graphics that link to various social media networks. Twitter, for example, encourages people to “tweet this” while Pininterest offers the opportunity to “pin it.” These buttons are a very simple way to get your customers talking about your business, so don’t be afraid to experiment with their type, size and lineup. Maybe you can stick them at the bottom of the screen. Maybe they’re more easily noticed in the top right-hand corner. The choice is yours, and you’d be surprised by how much traffic you can leverage with the right one.

  1. Utilize Analytics

Analytics software can help you fine-tune your search engine optimization (SEO) for search engine results pages (SERPs). This is critical if you want your social media accounts to carry any kind of weight with Google’s algorithms. Google tends to rank websites based on their status as a popular or authoritative source, so if your accounts aren’t showing up on their first page, it’s time to use analytics software and figure out where the problem lies.

  1. Talk to Your Customers

Last but certainly not least, make the effort of connecting with your customers on more than a surface level. If they have questions, use a tweet to answer them. If they have complaints, use Facebook’s private messaging system to resolve them. Instead of seeing your business as a one-way street where customers interact with your website and you never interact back, try to make it a back-and-forth line of communication. This is why social media is so popular: It brings people together in a fast, effective and personal way.

These are just a few tips for social media optimization with your business. Whether you’re running a small website or an entire corporate network, these tips should be enough to help you with social media in the new age.

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