Using social media to connect to people for business purposes can seem like a great idea, but when it comes time to put it into practice, many people don’t know where to begin.  There’s a fine line between subtly promoting your company or services and shoving it down everyone’s throats. Here are a few guidelines to help you navigate your social networks.

Add a personal touch. Your friends want to hear from YOU, not a corporate mouthpiece. If you’re going to promote your business or services, add a punch line or a joke that you might normally use in everyday conversations. If your posts just sound like scripted commercials, people aren’t going to respond to you the same way as they normally would.

Don’t post too often.  Even radio and television advertisements make this mistake. Ever heard one ad too many times? It can aggravate people to the point where they change the station or channel completely. Their opinion of your brand may change for the worse, since your advertisements are coming off as intrusive and repetitive.

Use several types of media. Within your online circle of friends, it’s a safe bet that not everyone finds the same type of content appealing. This is also a good way to make sure you aren’t being too repetitive. Some examples of content you could share include videos, photos, links, polls, and status posts. Get creative and get noticed! You want to stand out from the other brands online, not fit in with them.

Ultimately, the key to online success is engagement. Think about the type of customer you are trying to attract. That will help you figure out the best way to present yourself online. Producing appealing content for a demographic you may not think would be interested in your product or service can occasionally result in business, but don’t waste your time trying to sell a bicycle to a fish.