If you have not yet gotten involved in Social Media I have one question…”What the heck are you waiting for?”

Granted, Social Media isn’t for everyone, but I would be hard pressed to find many people who would not benefit on some level. If you’re a small business owner, solopreneur, speaker or author, it’s likely you need this medium more than you think.
The benefits to social media is market reach, niche marketing, connections, networking and having a global reach for practically no cash outlay.
Sure, the more involved you get and the more you streamline your systems you will have to make an investment of time and money, but the return for what you invest is incredible…when you do it right.
Because many of my clients are authors I have quite a passion for Social Media. Not only do I know how powerful it is, but authors can reach a much greater readership with the right Social Media strategies in place.
Here are a few of the things you MUST do.
1.    Complete your profile.
When you first open your Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo or other social media site accounts, fill out your profile (including a picture). Doing so makes it easier for people to get to know you and build relationships with you, which will make it more likely they’ll click through to your site.
Think through what you will add. Include keywords, content that supports your expertise, and a list of any books or information products you have created or had published. All of this adds to your credibility.
The more substance your profile has the better.
2.    Interact with others.
Social sites are, by definition, social. They’re two way streets (not monologues). That’s why you shouldn’t just post content and move on. Instead, spend a few minutes each day interacting and getting to know people in your network.
Why not schedule a time each day that you focus on your Social Networks. I like to spend at least 20 – 30 minutes in the morning “catching up.” It’s amazing how much this can do.
It’s simply a matter of getting into the habit. Something I do that really helps in business is to use the first hour in my office to monetize my business. Why not put the first 30 minutes aside to do a bit of Social Networking.
3.    Include a link to your site on your profile page.
This tip is simple but effective: Give people a reason to click through from the social media site to your blog or squeeze page. A promise of a free solution usually makes for a good enticement. Contrary to what you might hear from some people having an “ethical bribe” still works great.
The distinction between something that works and something that doesn’t might be due to the quality, title, design on landing page or any number of factors.
I know for fact giveaways still work.
4.    Ask your followers to “retweet” and repost.
If you create a “buzzworthy” post (such as a post on a hot or even controversial niche topic), as your Twitter followers to “retweet” it and ask your other social media networks to repost it.
Lots of people are so preoccupied and on overload that unless you ask them specifically to retweet and repost they may not think of it.
5.    Spend time each day growing your network.
Commit to spending at least 10 – 15 minutes a daygrowing your network. You’ll see big results by the end of the month. And you’ll be amazed at the size of your network in six months or a year from now.
When you think in terms of what you can do in one day it may not seem that beneficial. When you calculate what you can accomplish in just 10 minutes a day, five days a week, 52 weeks in a year, that adds up to a lot of results.
6.    Link your social site pages together.
Link your Twitter account to your Facebook, MySpace, Squidoo, HubPages and other social media pages. And vice versa. This is not difficult to do, but in some cases you may be well served to hire a VA to handle the details.
7.    Use your real name so that you’re easy to find.
People who want to do business with you won’t respond well to working with “CatGirlMary.” Instead, build trust by using your real name. Doing so also makes it easier for others to find you on Facebook and similar sites.
This is all about branding. Think in terms of getting your name out to market in virtually all you do.
8.    Post good content.
Okay, this should be common sense, but it doesn’t seem to be with some people.
Social media is not just about networking, it’s also about sharing information. If you share some of your best information with your network, you’ll get respect, trust… and more sales. Plus you’ll establish yourself as a niche expert.
If you see something that you KNOW would be of benefit to your friends, followers and connections, share it. Don’t hold back but avoid overwhelming.
9.    Optimize some of your content.
Some social sites (such as Yahoo! Answers and Squidoo) get crawled and indexed regularly by the search engines. As such, you may consider optimizing some of your content for the search engines by including relevant (longtail) keywords two or three times for every 100 words of content.
One of my longtail keywords is “Become a bestseller.” Using this combination is effective to attract authors, and soon to be authors, who are interested in learning how to get their book noticed.
10.    Get the most benefit for your time.
Instead of trying to interact and build relationships with thousands of prospects, consider building a relationship with a handful of partners. That’s because just one good partner can send you hundreds or thousands of prospects and customers.
The fact is,  Social media will continue to grow in the future – and now is the best time to get involved if you’d like to grow your business right along with it. You can start today by applying the ten traffic-generating, relationship-building tips you just discovered!
Think of how powerful a book marketing campaign will be when you incorporate Social Networking and Social Media Marketing into your overall business process.
Done right, it’s an unstoppable formula.
What’s your formula for success with Social Media? Comments and tips welcome.