David Bakke runs a small business online and blogs about personal finance topics like frugality, budgeting, and lifestyle on Money Crashers.Thumb Up Sign

According to a recent survey, roughly 90% of small business owners are now actively involved in social media to promote their business. But a more telling statistic reveals that close to 60% struggle to effectively promote their Facebook page. You certainly can’t dive into social media without a strategy, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it will all be a waste of time. To help improve the brand of your business and increase profits, here are four social media tips for small business owners:

1. Make the Experience Interactive
If you’re going to get involved in social media, you’ll have to do a lot more than just create a Facebook page and a Twitter account – customers are not going to automatically flock to you. Instead, consider taking a more interactive approach. Social media users love participating in surveys and in discussions. Consider starting a conversation via Facebook page, and offer a giveaway for a modestly priced gift card to respondents. Furthermore, consider hosting regular Twitter TweetChats. Tell your followers beforehand what the conversation will be about and when it will be held. From there, moderate the discussion and keep it active and lively.

2. Monitor Your Accounts
Once your accounts are up and running, you need to monitor them closely. Potential customers may ask a question about your products or services, and current clients may leave a compliment or complaint. Regardless, you need to respond to all of these. A customer who sees that his or her opinion is valued by your company could very easily become a regular customer.

3. Track Your Results
Gauging an accurate return on investment from social media marketing can be a challenge even if you track your results – but if you don’t, you’ll be completely in the dark. Check out HootSuite, which is a comprehensive social media monitoring tool. You can manage all your profiles in one place, schedule both your messages and tweets, analyze where your traffic is coming from, and more. If your budget is particularly tight there’s a free version available, but the “pro” account, which offers more services, only costs $10 per month.

4. Try Out the New Guys
Don’t just sign up at Facebook and Twitter and be done with it. LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ are all viable options as well. See how things are working out with the big two, and if you’re not getting the results you want, try out the other sites. What works well for one small business may not work as well for yours.

Final Thoughts
If after all of this you’re still not getting any results, consider hiring a professional dedicated to your social media efforts. It’s worth devoting some of your available funds to – just make sure that you hire a qualified professional. Social media presents a huge opportunity to expand your company’s online presence – as long as you go about it the right way.

What other social media marketing tips can you suggest?