You’re an advisor, you’re on social media, and you want to grow your business.

Perhaps you share content with your LinkedIn network and often update your Facebook Business Page with an interesting article or photo that shows your personal side. In short, you’ve established a solid social media presence with your audience. So how do you take your social business effort to the next step? How do you make sure you engage with your audience as they comment and respond to what you are sharing?

The following six tips will help you stay on the right track when interacting with your connections, fans and followers on social media:

  1. Share the right content with the right people
    Ensure that your content gets the engagement and responses that you hope for by knowing your audience. Think of social media as just that—social! It doesn’t always have to consist of serious facts and figures about the latest industry trends. On Facebook, for example, it may be appropriate to share a fun office outing photo or maybe a top ten list of fun things to do in your hometown. On LinkedIn, you can be more business-oriented, perhaps sharing an interesting article to help someone choose the right IRA or maybe an article with tips on how to save when spending around the holidays. Whatever it is, make it personal and engaging to entice your audience to comment on, like and share the content.

  2. Regularly monitor your social sites
    Whether it’s first thing in the morning while your enjoying your coffee, a quick 10 minutes during your lunch break, or on your train commute home, make sure to check your social sites at least every other day and be sure to follow up and engage with anyone who has commented on your posts.

  3. Don’t talk at your audience, talk with them
    Instead of imagining that you are on a public stage giving a keynote to whomever is in the crowd, interact as if you are at a networking event talking to individuals or small groups of people on a more intimate level. Show your personal side and show an interest in theirs as well.

  4. Don’t ignore negative posts ”
    It’s inevitable: not everyone will agree with what you share or what you say, so at some point you may receive criticism via a social media comment. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it. While it’s okay to delete negative comments if they’re malicious or inflammatory, in most general cases the best thing to do is to take the conversation offline to discuss in a private message. Remember that everyone who follows you, likes your page or connects with you can see this conversation, and sometimes even their friends, connections and followers can see it as well. You are not only representing your company’s brand, but also your own personal brand. Be professional and, if you aren’t sure what to say or do, seek assistance from your company’s marketing team.

  5. Respond to everyone
    Sometimes you’ll see comments that may not warrant a long response, if one at all. “Thanks for sharing,” “cool article,” or just plain  “thanks” might appear on your posts, which may sound like a dead-end conversation. But you want to make sure that you are engaging with your audience—and this means everyone—so try opening up the conversation by asking a question: “Thanks for your comment, John, I also thought this article was interesting. What was your favorite part?” (And if the social site allows it, make sure you @mention them in the post so that they know you are talking directly to them.) Finally, don’t be afraid to leave multiple comments in a row to address each person.

  6. Don’t get discouraged when your content doesn’t receive engagement
    It happens! Sometimes you share things and it just doesn’t resonate with your audience – or perhaps they didn’t see the post because it was posted at the wrong time of day. Don’t be discouraged by a lack of response; learn from it! When sharing content, take note of what content matter receives engagement and what doesn’t. Mix it up and experiment to see what gets the best results. As a general rule, the more personalized you can make a piece of content, the more engagement you will see. Also, share your content at different times of day throughout the week to test when content is most popular. And don’t forget to ask open-ended questions when sharing something to encourage a response.

At the end of the day, you want to make sure you are building key relationships that can lend a hand in helping you grow your book of business. Being trusted, engaging and responsive are keys to success when communicating online. Follow these six tips and you’ll be on your way to not just a more engaging social media presence, but also a stronger business.