Every day we meet professional people who tells us they don’t get social media marketing. They are smart, successful and switched on – but there’s something about using Twitter, Facebook or Google + that simply mystifies them.

The trouble is, you can’t afford to ignore social media if you want to grow a brand or a business these days. Having a presence across those channels is key to being part of the conversation in your area. Plus, you can bet your competitors are doing it.

So how can you overcome your fears and create a digital marketing strategy that works? Here are some ideas…

Think connections
In an ideal world, which customers would be walking into your business premises? The beauty of social media is that you can make a connection with those people and engage them so easily. One of the best ways to do this on Twitter is to use the hashtags (#) to join in a conversation pertinent to your field of interest. If someone is talking about #Adwords, we know we can share our point of view by tweeting and including the #Adwords hashtag in our message. Who knows which of your ideal customers might log on and be engaged by your comments?

Think visually
Pictures can say so much about you and your brand. Strong, striking images are not hard to come by online – and you can mix and match them with your own photos. You don’t have to bombard your Facebook followers, but show them that you care about the content on your feed and keep refreshing it. It’s not hard to log in and post something eye-catching a couple of times a week – it can’t hurt if those images showcase your products or business either.

Think social
It’s not all about you, it’s mostly about the people you are connecting with. Don’t spend your time blasting out relentless sales messages. Think about what your followers and connections might be looking for. Do they need your help or advice, can you comment on interesting new developments in your industry, or do they just really need to an inspirational quote to get them through a tough Monday? Be genuine and sociable, there’s no better way to endear yourself.