Social media is an incredible tool, and businesses of all types can benefit by using social media promotion. When people hear that, they often think that simply opening up a Facebook or Twitter account will get the job done. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

For instance, take a private practice such as a doctor’s office, law firm or accounting firm. Any of these businesses could greatly benefit from a well implemented social media strategy. Connecting with current and potential clients in a less formal environment while maintaining authority over your area of expertise will allow you to improve customer satisfaction as well as generate some incredible leads.

Keys to establishing an effective online social media presence include:

    • Use content to add value: Advertising via social media can be tricky, studies have shown that consumers reject outright advertising. Rather, they prefer to be won over by valuable content. For instance, a tax professional can attract attention by Tweeting tax advice.
  • Be accessible, but not obsessed: I’d think it was cool if my doctor occasionally responded to comments on this Facebook page. I’d think it was weird if you responded to every one of them.
  • Be yourself:  Just because it’s the Internet doesn’t mean you have to be outrageous. A social network interaction with you should be like a conversation with you, not your evil twin.

The key to leveraging social media is right in the name, it’s social. Too many businesses get set up on social media sites and just assume that it is like advertising on a billboard where you write and your customers read. Social media is best viewed like a conversation. A well-designed Facebook or LinkedIn profile will allow your current and potential clients to have a dialogue with you much like you are standing in the room with them.