Social media. You’ve heard of it, you use it and, if you’re like many, you’re addicted to it. It’s what connects us to friends, brings news to our phones and desks and allows us to share a part of our lives with the world. No doubt it’s a powerful tool, and you use it for sharing your life outside of work. But have you considered how to harness its power to raise awareness for your brand and company?

Today, agencies have entire departments and teams dedicated to helping their clients leverage social media in an effective way. The first step in establishing your presence through social media is to decide which mediums you want to use. Social media specialists can help you to understand how each channel works, as well as the benefits of each. These may include: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

After deciding which channels you want to utilize, you’ll want to gather the correct art components. For example, if you’ve decided to establish a Facebook page for your company, you’ll need a profile image, as well as an engaging cover photo. For Twitter, you’ll need only a profile or thumbnail image. A design firm or agency can help you decide which images to use and even design them for you.

Next, you’ll want to choose administrators. You may feel more comfortable allowing someone within your company to manage the account. Conversely, you may decide to have an agency or freelance copywriter keep things running. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that your posts, tweets and photos echo the voice and style of your brand. Posts should be engaging, brief and lighthearted. Keep in mind, Twitter allows only 140 characters per tweet, including spaces and punctuation. While Facebook doesn’t have a maximum word count, experts suggest no more than 30 words per post.

The key to maximizing the power of social media for your company is to understand the unique aspects of each channel and how users want to engage with you through those platforms. Your agency can help craft a social media strategy that works specifically for your brand and business. When used appropriately, social media is one of the best, most effective ways to engage with key stakeholders and broaden your reach.

For up-to-the-minute social media news and web tips, websites such as Mashable are valuable.

How did your company begin when you decided to dive into the social media pool? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.

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