Social media has long been an important way to market your business. There are almost as many available channels today as there are channels on your television, but you don’t need to be active in all—or even most—of them. Here’s a quick checklist of the best ones and a couple questions you should ask yourself.

Facebook. The original is still the best. Do you have a Facebook business page? It’s the easiest, most profitable form of social media advertising, because it works as an extension of your business and allows your customers to build up a personal relationship with your brand. It helps build loyalty. Ask yourself:

  • Are you posting regularly and consistently? Organic reach has been dropping on this channel for years, meaning you have to work harder (or advertise) in order to reach the same number of customers. Be consistent in timing and frequency.  
  • Are your posts informative, interesting or entertaining? The best content on Facebook is valuable to the audience. It’s more likely to be shared, commented on and, therefore, seen.
  • Do you respond to comments? A quick ‘thanks,’ a ‘like’ or a measured response to a critical post goes a long way to proving the type of customer service you provide.

Instagram. Instagram started as a photo sharing app, but it has evolved into a platform used by more than 300 million people every day. That’s a big audience to connect with—particularly if your business lends itself to photographic images. Any business message can be translated into a visual post, with some creative thinking. Ask yourself:

  • Have you upgraded to a business profile? A business profile will let you choose how you want your customers to get in touch: they can call, text, or email with a tap of the contact button, and get directions, too. It also gives you access to analytics.
  • Are you using the Instagram ad platform? Instagram ads work the same as advertisements on other platforms: they increase the likelihood that your content will be seen.
  • Do you respond to comments? This will be a recurring theme in this blog post. Remember, social media is a two-way street, no matter which platform you prefer. Don’t just broadcast, interact!

Twitter. Twitter is much more than 140 characters tossed out into cyberspace, only to be lost in seconds. It’s a great broadcasting tool, one of the best ways to bring people back to your web site and it’s rapidly becoming the most popular way for businesses to interact with their customers.  Ask yourself:

  • Does your bio have the right keywords in it? Using the right keywords in your Twitter bio will make your business show up in Twitter searches. It can mean the difference between being found by a potential customer or being lost in the crowd.
  • Are you tweeting regularly? If you aren’t out there producing or curating a steady stream of content, then you are already losing the Twitter game. Twitter is the New York City of social media platforms, it never sleeps and it’s always, always busy. Use a third-party app like Hootsuite to plan and schedule your tweets accordingly.
  • Are you asking questions? Asking your followers a question and then directing them back to your blog, Facebook page or website is a very effective way to get traffic. Include hashtags, which are also searchable on Twitter, to further increase your audience and the likelihood that someone new will find you.

Foursquare. Foursquare is an often overlooked marketplace that is among the most beneficial for local businesses. People use it to ‘check in’ to your business, so their friends and followers know where they’re at. Sometimes, just knowing they are at your business will be enough to chime in. It will also help build trust among their friends and fans. Ask yourself:

  • Is your business is listed on Foursquare? If so, make sure you claim it!
  • Is your business optimized? Once you claim it, you can increase its effectiveness by adding a business description, hours of operation, links to your website or social media social channels, services and more.  
  • Are you advertising? It always comes down to money, doesn’t it? The  Foursquare advertising solutions can help you further boost your business.

Youtube. Youtube can be a phenomenal business platform for several reasons. First, it is the second largest search engine (behind Google), so it is regularly used by people looking for things. Second, it happens to be owned by Google, which can give your business an additional boost when it comes to search engine optimization.

If you create video blogs, you should certainly upload them to Youtube, as well as your own website. Don’t forget the golden rule: If someone comments or asks a question, make sure to respond!

Those are our ideas. Do you use any other platforms regularly? Let us know in the comments!