Here are some of our smart ideas for building your network using social media.

1. Know your audience

When it comes to using social media effectively, knowing your audience means knowing which channels they use. Facebook continues to be the largest social media channel. In a recent survey the highest number of Facebook users was found among 25 to 34 year olds, so don’t be too misled by the idea that only older people are using this channel now.

Instagram is fantastic if you have visual content to share. And LinkedIn really works if you are reaching out to other businesses.

2. Plan your activity

Have a clear plan for what you want to achieve from your social media activity and you are more likely to see results. A content plan for each month will help you focus and keep at it throughout the year.

3. Measure success

Notice what posts your audience responds to and give them more of what they like. Posts with video and images usually attract more attention, but what particular content gets your readers engaged and interested. Pay attention to analytics information and use it to shape future content.

4. Create engagement

On facebook, try posting more than 4 photos as part of your post. That way your audience will have to engage to see the rest. Include videos and links – things for your readers to click on if they are interested.

5. Be short and sweet

Keep social media posts short and to the point but link through to longer items on your website. 100 words is great for a facebook post. And keep videos short too. A minute is plenty long enough on social media.

Video content doesn’t need to be polished – it just needs to be relevant.

6. Be responsive

Enter into conversations on social media. You can’t expect people to pay attention to you and your content unless you pay that kind of respect to them, so make it two-way!

7. Share links to your website

Use your website as the hub for content, then share as appropriate on social media. That way you maximise the value of your content.

8. Share the news from the sector

You don’t always need to create original content. You can share articles, video and other content that you like, commenting on why you think it’s relevant. That way you demonstrate your knowledge and interest in your own particular subject.

9. Build community

Look after your followers by keeping them informed about the things that they are genuinely interested in. Make sure you include event details and information about community activity that you think they’ll want to know about. Help your followers and they’ll help you.

10. Keep going… and don’t ever stop!

If you are setting up social media channels, make sure you have the resources to sustain them. Then put effort into building your on-line community and see the difference it makes to your organisation.