What makes social networking so exciting right now is that “the book” is still being written. What I mean by that, is that people are finding a multitude of ways to use tools like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote themselves and their businesses. Are they producing the intended results? In many cases, the answer appears to be, “absolutely.” If you haven’t stepped foot in this arena yet, at the very least set up your accounts and post a picture and a link to your website. It takes 15 minutes and it’s free.

The big question after you are LIVE is, “now what do I do?” The quick answer is start by posting updates and inviting people to be part of your network. In this article, let’s start by looking at what type of information you can post to boost exposure and promote your business. I’m not one personally for updating the world on the newest run in my nylons. So what kind of comments should you post? Strategic, well-thought-out ones of course, mixed with a personal flavour – hmmm sounds just like live networking.

Here are 10 clever ways to use your updates in Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Twitter to get results.

1. Think Media

Did you know the larger news and broadcast media are watching social networks for relevant news ideas? Well they are. So think of some catchy headlines that are topical and use these for updates.

2. Q. & A

Do you get asked a lot of common questions? Pose the question via your update and then develop a link back to your site for the answer.

3. New Article or Newsletter Link

Check the software you are using. Can it automatically update your status? If so, set it up to do so or manually enter the topic and a link to read more.

4. Conduct a Poll

Want to test a new product or service or gauge market demand? Ask people what they think on a topic.

5. Brag

Share your successes. It lets people know you are in business and making progress. This could be a big client or an award or media exposure, as examples.

6. Invites

Invite people to your next Free tele-seminar or webinar or even to a paid event.

7. Share Interesting Resources

This could be a helpful tool, recommended reading, a great blog or a useful website.

8. Announce New Products or Services

Again, this lets people know you are invested in growing your business.

9. Introduce/Promote Others in Your Community or Network

Networking is about connecting people. Make sure you “give” back and support others by singing their praises, providing a testimonial or commenting on a useful page on their website.

10. Stay Human

Ask for help or expose a weakness. Because you may never meet these people face to face, it’s important to show people you are just like them. Poke fun at yourself every now and then, or allow others to help you. Otherwise they may see you or your company as too high-level for them.

Think about it. If you can think of 3 examples for each of the above ideas you would have 30 updates. That’s a month’s worth!

AvatarCidnee Stephen

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success, a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget minded small businesses and professional services. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.