Social media is undoubtedly an invaluable tool for many businesses – law, real estate and financial firms alike. It not only helps businesses connect with potential clients, but now more than ever, it’s proven crucial to lead generation – reach new audiences, boost subscriber base, and more. A successful social media strategy means capturing your audience’s attention in mere moments, but when each platform brings a multitude of features, where do you really begin? We’ve given a rundown on how to use each platform and the features you should be paying attention to.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most important platform for professional services. Here are three features you should be using.

  1. You need a LinkedIn company page, not only an individual profile. This is a profile of your business that you’ll be sharing your individual posts and content, and vice versa.
  2. Use LinkedIn Publishing to get your content viewed. Think of LinkedIn as a magazine with a built-in readership. Publishing blogs and articles on LinkedIn is an excellent way to get attention that may not be the same attention you’d get if you posted to your website.
  3. To propel your content even further, consider LinkedIn promoted posts. Promoted posts boost your content to reach a larger audience, but you also have the ability to target who sees your content.

Facebook

People come to Facebook to explore and share their latest updates, life moments and stories. Reach people who love what you do. Facebook is a unique platform because unlike other social media sites, it’s a place for you to start conversations, and cultivate and deepen relationships. Especially in a virtual world, this is how you strengthen your network.

With no limit to messaging, it’s as simple as starting more conversations. It’s less formal than emails or phone calls, but a great way to insert yourself when someone has news to share. For example, if a prospect or referral source who you are connected with on Facebook shared family vacation photos, or perhaps a milestone in their life. Take the time to message them personally (in addition to a photo like or comment) and congratulate them. After the conversation gets going, suggest a phone call or a get-together to catch up.

Twitter

It’s hard to believe Twitter was created in 2006 as it has become one of the most powerful social platforms. The features Twitter offers allow you to target your audience, all while connecting with other businesses and thought leaders.

#Hashtags are everywhere now, but Twitter is the site that popularized the concept. Learning how to use hashtags effectively will dramatically increase the chances of you and your content being found. When sharing content on Twitter, be sure to include relevant hashtags or tie content into the trending hashtags of the day. Doing so will allow you to connect your Tweets into the larger conversations around your industry. Twitter is a very up-to-the-minute platform, so look for opportunities to insert yourself on the larger stories.

Make the most of Twitter’s analytics dashboards, including your Twitter Cards dashboard. This dashboard focuses on how much traffic Twitter is driving to your website, app, or other online properties. You can also use the “followers” dashboard in order to learn more about your audience, from basic demographic to demonstrated interests.

Instagram

Instagram has over one billion users and counting. In fact, the fan following, growth and engagement of Instagram is more than Facebook and Twitter combined.

This social media app isn’t just a way for to push images out to followers – it’s a way to engage in conversations about them. Use smart hashtagging strategies to reach and engage with new audiences. Also, ensure you have a social monitoring plan in place to respond to comments and engage in online dialogue.

Even though a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, consider sharing videos as well. A short video can be the ideal way to explain complex concepts.