So you’ve decided to take the plunge into social media. You know what you want to say, to whom and to what effect – but how do you start? And how do you know people will listen or even care?

Think of social media as a marketplace with lots of products on offer. The consumer has lots of options to choose from but they all have a common goal – to find a quality product which is dependable and meets their needs. Your ‘product’ aka the content you put up online, needs to fulfil these same needs.

Online, content is king. Don’t get discouraged if at first it seems that your message isn’t getting out to people. It will take time. But if you’ve written good quality content, it’s only a matter of time before people start finding it. Better yet, before they start telling their friends about it, and you become the most popular stand at the market!

You see, social media is just that – social! It takes time and persistence to build your authority online and develop an audience. Start a personal blog and start participating in conversations on forums and social media sites. Be helpful and share your knowledge, but don’t sell your product.

If you are entering into conversations with people already talking about your product, use it as an opportunity to talk openly about what’s working or not working. Acknowledge your audience and discuss ways to improve. Then do it!

But equally, you need to be prepared for any issues that arise. Not all comments are fair or legal. Defamation can run rife online and many people are unaware of their legal rights and responsibilities. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the law surrounding defamation and publication generally, so as to help protect yourself. Your Legal Rights has a good guide on the basics of understanding defamation. This is only a guide however and legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.

The internet has helped to bring interaction to a whole new level – virtually anything you’re looking for can be found online. That’s why, with the world increasingly going digital, it’s so important that you and your business keep up.

In the following blogs, we will be looking at how the internet is changing and what that means for your business – so stay tuned!