Social media is a fantastic tool for marketing your business. With 78% of all Americans having at least one profile, it’s one of the most convenient and effective ways to get the word out about your company and get people excited about your message. If you’ve never used social media for business before — or if you’re a novice to these sites entirely — follow these basic tips on using social media to help make people aware of and interested in your business.

Build your audience early.

Before you focus on promoting your business, your first, primary concern should be cultivating an audience who will be engaged and interested in what you’ll be posting and saying. This is where quality counts over quantity; if you have 10,000 followers but none of them live near your business or care about what you have to say, then chances are slim that your posts and activity will have any impact on them. Your number one goal in building an audience is to find people who will be interested in what you have to offer.

Be active.

If you want people to interact with you and with your business through social media, you’re going to have to interact with them first. The best way to use social media professionally is to use it as though your business was a person – respond to reviews and comments that people are writing about your business, and thank them for any particularly flattering sentiments.

Get advice.

Your business is not the only one trying to tap into social media as a means for marketing, so why not use the resource you have at your fingertips to mine advice and industry tips from peers in the same business? By getting involved with others in your niche, you can gain valuable skills and insights from other professionals with inside knowledge.

Use the platform as it’s intended.

While typically the best platforms to use for your business are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, there’s no reason why you can’t expand your business’s outreach to include other platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, or any other social media site. What you want to be careful about is using the site appropriately. If your goal by using social media is solely to make more money, it will show on your site and make people less likely to engage with you. Take the time to learn about the platform and observe how others behave on it so you can model your activity accordingly.

Follow the 90/10 rule.

On social media, to avoid sounding too overly promotional or self-indulgent, use the 90/10 rule as a guide when it comes to posting. This rule states that 90% of your posts should be content either shared from those you follow or interesting to those who follow you, without having anything to do with your business. Then, 10% of your posts can be about promoting your business and trying to drive interest.