The buzz around Social Media can sometimes seem like it is complete and total theater. Celebrity Tweets and Facebook frenzy can build powerful networks of shared “cute kitty” images, quotes from public figures, and videos of unfortunate and often chemically impaired individuals getting themselves into trouble. But how can all those bits and bites of shared digital communication build your brand or even lead to sales of your product or service? What follows is an overview of some key social networking opportunities and how they can help you to build your business.

THE FACEBOOK

If you have a corporate presence, and you are marketing online, your company should have a Facebook Fan Page. You can create a Facebook Fan Page from your personal account, and you can open up the Fan Page to other individuals to help you manage that page. Include your Contact information, logo, web site link, and phone number. Update your page on a regular schedule – weekly if possible, monthly at the minimum.

What to Post: Facebook is a place for engaging new customers through your existing customers. You might add a new product image that you launched and link to the detailed information on your site. You can also offer promotional giveaways – everyone who likes your page that day gets entered into a drawing.

Facebook Tip: Include an Image in your status updates whenever possible. If you are sharing articles from your web site and you are having trouble with the image coming up correctly, use the Facebook Debugger tool to find and fix issues with your code that can interfere with sharing images and articles.

LINKEDIN

This professional networking tool is a must for consultants and individual producers like independent insurance agents, realtors, and contractors who work for different companies and cultivate the bulk of their business through professional referrals.

What to Post: Keep your updated resume or CV on this site and make sure that you have connected yourself to past clients who may be able to provide you with a recommendation. Make sure your skill sets are listed and actively add to your network whenever possible.

TWITTER

To Tweet or not to Tweet? For your business, it depends on how widely you want to market the product or service you are sharing. Local home builders, or wonky consultants may not get much traction from tweeting – but any type of consumer brand in the national realm will want to at least keep an eye on what is being tweeted about them.

What to Post: Motivational tweets that tie into current events in your industry – and also, catchy image memes – are the most engaging types of tweets.