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Social media is one of those things that is undeniably crucial for a business in 2014, but knowing where to start can be incredibly overwhelming. There is a plethora of resources, discourse and tips online but knowing which to heed can be difficult when you’re new to social media marketing.

We’ve gathered a short list of tips that, when used consistently and tailored to your own business and audience, should work wonders to engage with your clients or customers via your social media presence.

Post often

It’s important to post on social media often as your audience will appreciate, and expect, regular posts and will keep coming back for them. Remember that different social media platforms beg for different posting habits – you won’t want to post more than 2-3 Facebook posts a day, while with Twitter you can be more lenient (live-tweeting events are very informative and allow you to offer thoughts and opinions as they happen!). LinkedIn should be regulated at only one post a day and only on weekdays.

Regardless of how much you post on each social media platform, your content should always be informative and relevant to your audience. Which leads us to…

Create content that is relevant

The reason your audience will keep coming back to your social media pages, and even visit your website, will be that your content is current and benefiting them in some way. Anything engaging is good – you may want to experiment with content like news updates, events your business is running or taking part of, funny images or viral content that you can comment on. Find out what gets your followers talking and work on posting more of that.

Interact with your followers

Remember that it’s called social media for a reason. If you have followers or fans leaving comments, asking questions or voicing their concerns about a particular issue, make sure you always reply. There’s something to be said about businesses that reply in a civil manner to all feedback, negative or otherwise, and your followers will always appreciate social media posts that are acknowledged. Thank them for taking the time to voice their concerns, if possible and relevant for your company, send small treats their way for their loyalty and business or simply give them a shout-out on social media!

Develop a consistent voice

It’s important to have a consistent voice across your social media profiles, because it’s rewarding for your followers to believe that your business has a face and a personality. If you’re happy to post something silly every now and then, make sure you fill in any new social media employees so that they know to keep this going. This works the other way too. Here are two great websites that showcase companies having awesome conversations with consumers and other companies.

Post at the right times for your audience

It has been agreed upon by social media experts that the most effective times to post content is between the hours of 6am – 8am and then again from 2pm – 5pm. It’s easy to see why – both time windows are peak hour commuting times where many people going to work sit on a bus or train, flicking through their news feeds. Fridays and Sundays are also regarded as days with better user engagement online – again understandable as both are lazy days or “wind-down” days for many looking forward to the weekend. Regardless of this, it’s important to know who your audience is and post according to when you think they will be using social media the most.