Social media marketing is an ideal way to promote your business. It’s free, it’s easy, and often, it’s fun.

The problem with social media is that it’s also overwhelming and unwieldy, and can be difficult to track results.

There are many great social media marketing resources that adequately explain the various networks and how to use them. Unfortunately, they don’t do a very good job explaining how to make a daily social media plan incorporating several platforms.

If you are struggling with social media, here are tips to making a plan that is effective without taking too much time;

Before you start tweeting and pinning your home business, you need to make sure your profiles are promo-ready, and that you know what results you want from social media. The first step is to visit each of the social networks you use and make sure you have;

1) Upload an appropriate picture

Consider your business and audience then choose a photo that fits the image you want to portray. A photo of you will be more appealing than your logo, although you want to consider your brand image and what you want people to remember. Make sure it’s a good quality photo, which doesn’t mean it has to be taken by a professional, but it should have good resolution.

2) Completed the major profile sections

On some sites, you can get away with not filling out everything, such as your favorite movies. But you should complete all the sections that are important to your business. Each platform varies on how much info you can provide, but at the very least you should have your name and business name, website URL, and short bio of your business. If you can add other social networks or important business information, include that as well.

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3) Followed influencers in your industry

Social media isn’t just about people following you, it’s about you following others, as well. Start by connecting with people who you admire or enjoy, particularly in your home business industry. Share their top content, and respond to their posts with the purpose of developing a relationship.

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4) Integrate social media tools on your website or blog

At a minimum, you should have links to your profiles on every page of your website so that your visitors can follow you, plus social media share buttons so they can share your content with their followers. However, there are many other great tools you can use to save time and increase results. For example, including a “Click to Tweet” option on your posts (you can use this Click to Tweet generator or a WordPress plugin – search your plugin directory) makes it easy for your readers to tweet your content.

Integrating Facebook comments on your WordPress blog can increase engagement with your market.

There are a variety of plugins for WordPress that can help you streamline your social media sharing. If you don’t use WordPress, there are many other social media marketing tools you can use depending on your needs and the platforms you use. If you  are focused mostly on Pinterest and Instagram, Tailwind is a good option as well.

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5) Decide what results you want from social media

Ultimately, your goal is to have sales or clients, but posting “buy my stuff”or “hire me” all the time doesn’t work and, in fact, will result in losing followers. Instead, think about what you can post that can ultimately lead to sales, such as increasing website traffic or getting email subscribers. Some social media posting goals might be to:

1) Increase readership of your blog.

2) Get more email subscribers.

3) Find more followers across other social media sites (i.e. promoting a Facebook fan page on your Twitter feed).

4) Increase influence (credibility and expertise) with your target market.

5) Built rapport with your target market (i.e. showing you are fun or friendly).

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Every social media post you make should have an end goal result attached to it. So if you post the URL of your most recent blog article, the goal might be to increase readership and influence, and to build rapport.