Social media is rapidly becoming a key part of business strategies in an attempt to boost sales and profit. Outwrite PR executive Mike Youds recently gave a presentation at Mold Business Forum about the dos and don’ts of social media.

Here are his top 10 tips.

#1 – THINK what you want to get out of social media – sales, brand awareness, website traffic, image, customer relations, competitor research…..or all of the above?!

#2 – CHOOSE a platform that works for you, and that gives you the best chance of achieving your goals. Are you in a B2B or B2C environment? Don’t feel you have to use all platforms – some may offer little or no benefit to you.

#3 – PLAN your activity. How much time do you want to allocate to social media? Who within the organisation will be responsible for posting? What happens in their absence?

#4 – PREPARE for a crisis. Integrate social media into your emergency communications strategy if you have one. If a negative issue surfaces online how will you respond? Be open, transparent and responsive. Do NOT delete negative comments!

#5 – ENGAGE with other users. Don’t expect people to come to you. Follow and connect with key influencers, potential clients / customers and important audiences. Respond quickly when people interact with you.

#6 – INTEREST your fellow users by posting content they will want to read / watch / view. Avoid the temptation to go for the hard sell. Don’t endlessly blow your own trumpet – this will alienate fellow users.  Discuss a range of topics, mixing the professional and personal, but avoid the mundane!

Discover your voice – use your expertise to give tips and advice in order to ‘add value.’

#7 – SHARE interesting content that you come across online. Don’t worry about running out of interesting things to say – some of the most successful users act as a conduit. Re-post content from media sources, business associates, business organisations., trade associations, thought leaders.

#8 – MAINTAIN activity over a long period of time. Don’t expect overnight success. Posting regularly will enable you to build a valuable and genuine following. Avoid bribing users into following you!

#9 – ENCOURAGE people to follow and connect with you on social media. Display icons prominently on your website, emails and other digital channels – also in printed literature and in person.

#10 – MEASURE the success of your efforts. See what works and what doesn’t. However, it’s not a numbers game – quality comes before quantity. It’s better to have 100 valuable, engaged followers than 1,000 spambots, rivals and no-marks!