Be smart about how you do business on online platforms, from Facebook and beyond.

Written by  Dr. Boyce Watkins

Anyone who hasn't been buried under a rock for the past 10 years fully understands that social media is a critical part of life in modern business. However, using them effectively is key. Here are a few creative tricks to using social media to promote a product or business.

  1. Stay current Once you create your fan page on Facebook and Twitter, update it regularly with new information. Your page won't get much traffic by just sitting there.
  2. Give away free stuff This is a great marketing tool to introduce a "new-to-the-market" item or attract a new customer base to an existing product.
  3. Invest money Facebook offers both paid and free sponsorship opportunities. Sometimes, you have to put something in to get something out.

    Now, here are some ways to keep these social sites from becoming paths to disappointment or financial trouble.
  1. Reduce spam Give your audience useful information, not just product updates and advertising. The audience will respect you as a credible source and is likely to keep you in mind or refer you to their family and friends.
  2. Don't fall for the hype Just because you have 10,000+ Twitter followers doesn't mean that they are all willing to buy your products or services.
  3. Be selective Someone who seems like a legitimate business partner on a site may be a criminal trying to rob you, so tread carefully.

Spend ample time surfing various channels that you are interested in using to post information about your business. See how other entrepreneurs are using them. If you do this first, you can increase your chances of significantly improving your bottom line and avoiding unnecessary pitfalls.

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