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Social media is a powerful way to connect with prospects, stay in touch with existing customers - and broaden the reach of your business. But with so many social media tools to choose from, where should you start?
To help you get to grips with social media - without it taking over your entire working day - we've created a set of getting started guides. Covering some of the world's biggest social networks, they'll give you the confidence to start building connections that really benefit your business.
Get started with Facebook in your business
Facebook is the world's biggest social network. If you sell to consumers, you should almost certainly have a presence there. And if you sell to businesses, it's probably not a bad idea, either.
It's easy to get a basic presence on Facebook by creating a page on the site for your business. This provides a hub that allows Facebook users to connect with your business, post messages and read your updates.
Get started with Twitter in your business
Another hugely-popular social network, Twitter provides an open, informal way to build connections. It's a great place to attract customers and offer promotions, but it can also give you a real voice. If you want your business to become known as a thought leader, Twitter gets your message out there.
Once you've created a Twitter account for your business, you can post short updates, links and images that your followers will see. You can also send and receive messages and interact with individual Twitter users.
Get started with Google Plus in your business
Although not as well-used as Twitter and Facebook, Google Plus does offer one major advantage for businesses - it has the potential to boost your ranking in local search results.
Google Plus Pages for businesses are managed through Google My Business, a platform that makes it easy for customers to find and connect with your company.
Get started with LinkedIn in your business
LinkedIn is different to the other social networks in this list, because it's a professional network. It lets you maintain trusted connections, usually with people you've encountered in your professional life.
This means LinkedIn isn't a great place to sell products or services. But it is a brilliant place to get introduced to potential partners, build a profile for yourself - and recruit great people for your business. In short: if you run your own business, you're missing out by not being on LinkedIn.
Get started with Instagram in your business
Although Instagram is owned by Facebook, it operates as a separate social network focused on sharing photos and videos. Instagram has a lot in common with Twitter, because most photos and videos are public and you can choose to 'follow' particular Instagram users.
Instagram can provide your business with an interesting visual communication medium. You really need to use it on your mobile device (usually a smart phone) for maximum effect, so it's ideal for showing off products or providing people with an insight into what happens behind the scenes of your business.
Get started with Pinterest in your business
Pinterest allows your business to create a set of digital pinboards, to which you can pin images, articles and other content that you create or find on the internet.
Because boards give you an easy way to categorise the 'pins' you create, Pinterest is often used by retailers or manufacturers, who can categorise items into different boards. It's a social network that rewards creativity - and can be particularly useful if you sell to consumers.