Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the three best-known social media marketing tools for businesses.

Here’s how to use each of them effectively.

Marketing With Facebook

Facebook users create their own “page” on Facebook, where they share posts, photos, videos and links. Users see a “News Feed” that posts the latest on what their other Facebook friends are doing. They also “like” products, services or companies, and these “likes” show up on their page and their friends’ News Feeds.

Start by setting up a free Facebook page for your business. (Business pages are slightly different than personal pages.) Fill in basics such as contact information, photos and images (like your logo).

Facebook offers lots of tools to help you drive traffic. You can download the Facebook Badge and put it in your business’s window to let customers know you’re on Facebook, or post a button on your website so customers can easily “like” your business.

Post on your page regularly so new content shows up in your fans’ News Feeds. Be sure what you post has value to your customers. This could include news about your business, upcoming events, photos or videos, informal surveys or special deals.

Facebook offers many tools to help businesses customize communications with customers; apps (applications) you can add to your page to attract users; and a free analytics tool, Facebook Insights, to track results. Visit Facebook’s Help center to keep up on the latest ways to use Facebook for business.

Marketing With LinkedIn

If you’re in business-to-business sales, LinkedIn is a useful tool to connect with other businesspeople, get introduced to prospects and stay top-of-mind with clients.

Get started on LinkedIn by creating a free profile including contact information, business name, website URL and more. The more information you include, the better.

Next, import your existing contacts into LinkedIn using your email address book. From there, you can see who your contacts’ contacts are. Using LinkedIn, you get can get an introduction to just about anyone. If you know someone who’s connected with the person you know want to meet, ask for an introduction.

Raise your profile on LinkedIn by answering questions that people ask using the Answers feature. This can increase your reputation as an expert in your industry. Also join relevant LinkedIn Groups for your industry and your customers’ industries.

Encourage your employees, especially those in sales or business development, to join LinkedIn as well. It will raise your company’s profile and expose them to potential sources of new business.

Marketing With Twitter

Twitter users post short messages (tweets) of 140 characters or less, and “follow” each other to read each other’s tweets. As more people follow you, your business gains exposure to potential customers.

Get started by signing up for a free account and importing your contacts. Similar to LinkedIn, you can then see whom your contacts follow, and can search for existing customers (or people you want as customers) to start following.

Tweet information that’s valuable to customers. You can re-tweet (or forward) others’ tweets or tweet links to useful information, which helps build your reputation as an expert.

Twitter is often accessed on mobile devices, so it’s a good way to communicate short-term offers to customers on the go. For instance, you could tweet today’s menu at your restaurant, news of an upcoming event or sale, or a special promotion code. Use limited-time offers (good for a day or a few hours) to drive users to take action.

social media marketing