Social media is constantly evolving and expanding. It is easy for a business owner to be overwhelmed by the different formats and communities out there in the Internet. Follow these steps to take charge of social media, and use it to help your business grow and succeed.

1. Learn the different media. Facebook is a vastly different experience than Twitter. Twitter is a vastly different experience than Pinterest. Learn all of the nuances of each social network to maximise your presence. Determine which networks your customers frequent and concentrate on building your presence on those networks.

2. Schedule. Treat social media activity as you would any follow-up activities for your business. Schedule when to tweet, when to update Facebook. If your organisation is large enough, assign this task to someone who will incorporate it into his or her daily schedule.

3. Incorporate two-way discussion and interaction. The more people talk about your brand, the more loyalty it generates. Social media allows the user to feel more connected to your brand by giving the user a voice. Use this. Social media allows you to communicate directly with your customers in a way that commercials and print ads don’t.

4. Listen to your customers. Don’t use social media to just bombard your users with information. Allow feedback, discussion. Encourage the facilitation of ideas.

5. Mobile computing is overtaking more traditional computing and you should adapt your message to be easily translatable to tablets and smartphones as you would a traditional webpage. This may result in investing in an app, or at the very least tweaking your traditional website to be more mobile-friendly.

6. Consider investing in social network gurus. Each social network is different, and there are users out there who know how to maximise each. Seek those people out and employ them to develop your social media brand.

7. Investigate third-party applications that can manage your multiple social media accounts, such as HootSuite. These applications will allow you to organise what information you are posting to which social media site, and could save you embarrassment from posting personal information to your business site.

There are lots of different online communities, and each has its own rules and standards. By following these 7 steps, you can take charge of the way your business uses social media and make it work for you!