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Once you’ve jumped on the social network bandwagon, odds are you’re a little overwhelmed by the possibilities. The beauty – and the curse – of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the likes is the ability to reach millions of people with the touch of a button. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to stay consistently active and to constantly produce interesting material to share with your loyal followers. But once you’ve started getting a handle on these basic social media necessities, the time to expand has come. You know your followers crave updates, changes and new information, but generating this on your own can be exhausting. With Twitter especially, the need for constant updates is almost insatiable. Here are five ways you can make your social media life easier:

Use Twitter as a forum
Start a hashtag for customers with concerns, complaints or comments. This helps you to organize your Twitter feed and gives your customers a concrete solution to contacting you. Even though it’s tempting to just assume perfection, it makes more practical sense to acknowledge the possibility – however miniscule – of a problem, and your customers will appreciate that acknowledgement.

Remember to respond to the tweets of your followers to show that you genuinely care about any frustrations they might be experiencing. Even if the tweet calls for only an apology for the inconvenience, be sure you let the user know that you’re listening.

Respond to the positives
Don’t forget about the people who compliment your company via your Twitter name or your designated hashtag. Regardless of whether it’s a question or a statement, if they’ve tagged you, respond to them. They’ll be thrilled that you’re paying attention, and a response shows that you appreciate their loyalty and praise.

Any positive feedback reinforces your reputation to anyone who follows you or the commenting user, and if you respond, it doubles your positive impression. People enjoy interacting with their favorite companies and like to be reminded of the human presence sitting in front of the computer.

Connect with Facebook
Connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts will help improve your level of activity on both. Facebook statuses can become tweets, while tweets can become Facebook statuses, making you doubly active on both platforms. This also ensures that your followers are seeing your posts, as people may not necessarily be following you on every social media outlet.

It also becomes easier for you to post when your accounts are connected – if you want to share a link on both Facebook and Twitter, you no longer have to spend time formatting them separately. Connecting the two will save you the time and energy it takes to maintain both.

Tweet at the right time
Rather than tweeting at any and all times, do a little research to find out when users are most active on Twitter (or any other social media outlet). This way you know when to ease up on the tweets and when to load up on them. You’d be surprised at some of the findings – not all social media outlets have the same highs and lows.

Statisticians delve deep into analysis when it comes to Twitter users, calculating the percentage of users that are more likely to interact with everything from sports brands to apparel companies. In general, Twitter users are far more active on weekends, at least when it comes to company interactions. Mashable published an article in July 2012 with some basic statistics, but a little research will tell you all you need to know about your specific product type.

Be a little selfish. It’s OK.
Your company’s Twitter account doesn’t have to be only about getting more followers. There are innumerable accounts out there that can benefit you, and there’s no reason why your Twitter feed shouldn’t become a tool. Follow users whose tweets benefit you and your marketing goals. Certain Twitter lists comprised of top marketing strategists, advertisers, CEOs and tech experts can offer you tidbits of advice that can help you improve your own business model or simply think about new ways of expanding.

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