1. Know where your target audiences are in the social mediasphere and only dedicate time towards those networks. Pinterest for example is an amazing tool, but if you know your audience is simply not there, why bother? Social media can become a huge time suck if you're not careful, so be sure to invest your time wisely.
2. Identify your top 10 most influential organizations, clients or media and regularly engage with them. For example, “like” their Facebook posts, or share some of them, tweet at them and retweet some of their relevant tweets. If you show your partners social media love, they'll be more inclined to do the same for you.
3. Want to drive purchases among consumers via social media? (Who doesn't?) Make it easy for consumers to purchase your products. Regularly share links to purchase online; let them know when you have new retail partnerships; and certainly let them know when your products are on sale.
4. Balance time spent on social media (planning and creating content, monitoring and responding) with the amount of people you're reaching. If your company has just 200 Facebook “likes,” it's probably not wise to spend upwards of four hours per day on social media.
5. Pre-schedule social media messages with tools such as HootSuite—it can be a huge time saver.
Retailers: Download 30 more social media tips for free that will boost sales and store buzz.
Lisa Mabe is founder and principal of Hewar Social Communications and a recognized expert in social communications, multicultural marketing and the specialty foods field.