Social media’s reach is seemingly limitless. Everyone from teenagers to senior citizens frequent social media hubs like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. According to a recent eMarketer report, nearly one in four people worldwide utilize social media in one form or another.

You don’t have to be a marketing guru to ascertain that social media represents an incredible opportunity for small and large businesses alike to sell their products and services. But if you can’t afford to hire a social media specialist, navigating the waters filled with Tweets, YouTube videos and Facebook posts can be daunting. In reality the world of social media isn’t that scary at all if you follow a few simple pieces of advice.

1)   Don’t worry about going viral

Avoid the going viral trap. Think of your social media accounts as another way to promote your business, not a vehicle to drive you to instant millions or Kardashian-like fame. If you are selling construction equipment promote construction equipment. Don’t worry about gaining followers that have absolutely no interest in your product. Be strategic and target individuals and businesses that can be converted into paying customers.

2)   Inspire interaction with polls and contests

One of the great aspects of social media is the ability to interact with your customers. Post polls and contests that will open a conversation with your followers. This will keep your loyal fans coming back for more.

3)   Keep it local

Yes social media is global but if you have a physical location of business, don’t forget about your hometown area. Focus your efforts on your locale with posts that will entice followers to walk through your doors.

4)   Quality over quantity

Akin to point number one, don’t concern yourself with posting dozens of updates every single day. Keep your posts strategic. Just because your competition may send out 100 Tweets per day doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Aim for quality.

5)   Harness the power of software

Think you are too short on time to get in on the social media game? Think again. There are time-saving software solutions for just about any task. You can schedule posts, shorten URLs and add images… just to name a few.

6)   Track your campaigns

Your latest social media campaign may look like a bust on the surface but delve a little deeper and you may find that it created more buzz than you originally thought. Analytics are important in any marketing effort and that includes social media. Keep close tabs on your campaigns by checking up on their progress often.

Possibly the most important point to keep in mind when forging a new social media path is to be patient. It takes time to build an audience that will follow your efforts for months or even years. Stay true to the above points and remain patient and social media success will be yours.