A few quick keystrokes on your laptop can take you to any number of social media networks on the Internet – Facebook and Twitter, of course, the most popular.

This is proof positive that the Internet has changed the way we relate and interact with each other whether we’re involved with business partners, clients, prospects, friends, family or customers. It has become easier to stay in contact with the people we already know and has introduced us to new and easier ways to connect with people we may have never met.

Using social media for business is all about building relationships – both with prospects and customers or clients. By doing just a few things and avoiding a few common mistakes, you can set yourself apart from those who use social media “just for fun.”

  • Have a clear purpose of what you want to accomplish with your social networking presence – otherwise it’s like shooting without aiming, chances are, you’re going to miss your target.
  • Be a leader not a follower. Just because you’ve hung out your shingle among the social media networks doesn’t necessarily mean people are going to reach out to you. If you have defined your purpose, you know who your target audience is. Don’t wait for them to contact you – make the first move.
  • Have something to say. This goes hand-in-hand with having a clear purpose. Let people know why you’re there and what makes you…you.

Some view social networking sites and social media in general to be nothing more than a major timewaster. For some this is true, but if you take the time to do it the right way it can truly be a powerful tool for promoting your business.