Social Media as a marketing tool is an art form. Like any art form, it should engage, entertain or educate. It should also “tell your story”. Here are some Dos and Don’ts for messaging your brand via Social Media.

DO use more than one medium. Speak to your audience in the format that is most comfortable for them. Do take the time to reformat your message for the specific medium. DO NOT include other mediums if you are not going to maintain them on a regular basis. Better to do one well than two or more poorly.

Social Media is your voice in cyberspace. It reflects your personality and brand promise. Lazy use of any social media suggests either a sloppy person or company in which to do business or someone that is overwhelmed and not caring of the details.

DO invite more than one person to post but make sure that everyone is clear on messaging and brand promise. DO have one person overseeing for consistency. DO NOT post for the sake of posting. You will lose your followers quickly with boring and uninspired posts. DO NOT use your social media to SELL SELL SELL! DO post about special offers and opportunities but make sure you also focus on behind the scenes as well as images and words that inspire and reflect the experience.

Social Media is the offspring of Loyalty and Technology. DO encourage your followers to share through creative content. DO NOT ask them to share (unless it is for a cause).

If you have happy and loyal employees, DO invite your staff to participate through their own social medias. Combining community efforts with your business is a win/win for everyone. People who love their jobs are the best recommendation.

DO NOT try to hide mistakes. Social Media is about transparency. We are human. If you make a mistake, own it and move on.

Having a website is still important. Most important is your mobile site. Facebook continues to offer great value – more for certain businesses. Boomers (which now make up 40% of the population) continue to grow and embrace Facebook, as well as Skype. Millennials and younger groups, especially teens, are trending away from Facebook. Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest and Twitter are strong mediums.  Instagram has shown tremendous growth in the past year. A picture is still worth a thousand words… actually, a good picture is worth a thousand words. A great picture is worth even more! Here are some newer sites to keep an eye on – Ello, YikYak, tsu and Snapchat.

Social Media is not free. It takes time and effort to create correct content. Unlike a magazine ad or a billboard, Social Media allows you to target, message and measure. DO make sure you are monitoring your efforts. Use your analytics to ascertain what is working and what is not and make your adjustments accordingly.