In today’s world, you need to have an online presence where current customers, current shoppers, and even future clients can find you and interact with you. That means you absolutely must have a strong presence in social media, no matter what the size of your actual business. While many entrepreneurs and business owners are aware of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media outlets, they don’t understand the right way to do social media for business.

First of all, it’s important to understand that most of your potential customers are using social media now. People over 35 are on Facebook, younger consumers over 24 years old are on Twitter, and hundreds of millions of people worldwide are on other social media networks. In other words if you’re not there, you’re not going to be able to connect with this huge potential customer base.

A second common issue you need to tackle in order to do social media for business the right way is to understand the boundaries between your customers’ and employees’ social media lives. You shouldn’t push for every employee to push your company, and there need to be rules for boundaries on what to talk about, how to portray the company in posts, and simply making sure that confidential information is never shared.

As you’re venturing into the world of social media, look for help. You will have plenty of people who are happy to help add blog posts, social media posts, and other pieces of content that help get your name out there. Your mission, your culture, and your posts will help spread the word about your company and what it stands for, helping other like minded people further spread the word.

One aspect you will have to deal with at some point is negative feedback. It might be fair, it might not be, but a good response to negative comments can help improve your company’s way of doing things and how you handle challenges. On the other hand, a really poor response can sink your reputation.

Social media for business is going to continue to be a critical part of any online business plan. While it’s easy to get lost in an array of options, you need to get an idea for what your idea of social success is, and what steps you need to take in order to achieve those goals for you and your business.

You don’t want to float through social media without a plan, especially if you have multiple people working on your accounts for you. Your goals and your voice need to be clear so everyone is on the same page whether releasing brief tweets, making special announcements on Facebook, or else creating riveting videos on YouTube, you want to make sure there aren’t conflicting messages going around!

The good news is that it’s never been easier to reach a large fan base with everything you have to offer, but as with all marketing there’s a right way to do it – and that’s the way you always want to do things.