There are several important lessons that companies and agencies MUST learn about the use of social media if they wish to survive in this online age. The audience can constantly hear these lessons, but they must be applied and implemented to create major changes in your company’s brand. If utilized properly, these tips can be used to improve the online image of your agency and connect with the correct user base.

1. The Proper Use of Hashtags

A major mistake I am constantly seeing on social media is the incorrect use of hashtags. With Facebook’s recent release of the hashtag, more and more people are confused about how they should be properly utilized.
My first comment on how to use hashtags is to find your customer base and see what they are searching for. If you are solely focused on reaching out to entrepreneurs for business, then your best bet would be using #entrepreneur or #business at the end of your posts. This way, people who you are targeting can see that you are constantly creating content relevant to their interests and they will be more interested in your brand.
Also, be aware of over hashtaging. The overuse of hashtags throughout all social networks has to be the worst mistake I see companies making daily. It’s not about the quantity of hashtags, but rather the quality. Many people will tell you that you must create your own hastag to truly be successful on social media.
Although creating your own hashtag can be effective when building a brand following, I have another suggestion. I recommend that, if you can, you should utilize existing hashtags that are already trending. If the Super Bowl is trending on Twitter, make a post that is relevant to your brand and the event and tag it with #SuperBowl. This will allows you to reach a more expanded audience who are already on discussion about a specific topic. If you can relate to that topic in an interesting way, you can help your brand expand quickly.

2) Create Conversation Around Your Brand

Creating conversation is the most important way to distinguish your brand on social media. You should think of your social media accounts as another way to create a relationship with your customers. Treat it as if it was the only customer service resource you have!
If you see someone struggling with your product and talking about it on social media, take action and direct them to someone who can fix it. When you take the time to personally respond to the people who are struggling with your product, it will make their product experience better and will improve your brand image.
Also, if you find people who are enjoying your products, give them recognition and thank them for using it. That tactic has a very high positive effect on customer retention.

3) Search for People Asking Questions

To properly utilize social media to your agency’s benefit, you have to search for people who are already talking about the issues you are solving. I see a lot of agencies missing this step or ignoring it completely. For me, this is the main place that I start when beginning to find my customers on social media.
Since I run a mobile app that deals with simplifying networking, I use search terms related to building relationships and meeting new people. This allows me to find people who are having trouble while networking and provide them with a solution, i.e. my app, or a relevant article that can solve their dilemma.
In my opinion, there is no more direct way to reach your customer base than to contact them when they are discussing the issue you are solving. The benefit you have is that this method can give you the opportunity to make a strong first impression on them. If you can sell them on the solution in one or two tweets, I think you are doing your job correctly.
Be sure to always be aware of your company’s brand image, especially in the social media spotlight. One wrong tweet or an accidental hack can create pandemonium for your brand. Build a following that respects you and feels comfortable interacting with you.
Michael Austin Jacobs (@MrJacobs21) is recent University of Arizona graduate, entrepreneur and author. He has a strong passion for helping other individuals realize their potential and pushing them beyond their own personal limits.
Michael’s current venture, SociaLink App (www.SociaLinkApp.com), is a free mobile app that simplifies the way people network and connect on social media. Also, Michael is about to set out on a challenge to positively influence 1 million people in 18 months through weekly videos, motivational interviews, and other forms of free content. Follow Michael’s journey and be inspired through his message at www.InfluenceAMillion.com