It's clear that social media is good for your business. It opens another touchpoint for customers, it shows off your brand personality and it gives you a place to share your knowledge and products. But where do you begin? If you are new to this idea of using social media to benefit your business, I know it can feel daunting.
Stepping out in social media will be that much easier if you consider these tips.
Tips for Starting Out on Social Media
1. Only take on what you can manage. Sure, lots of businesses are on all of the platforms, all of the time but you might not have the budget for a full-time social media team. If you don't have a lot of time, start one-by-one and get the hang of a platform before you add another. Or hire someone to manage the accounts for you. It's useless to promote an abandoned social media account so it's better to do only one and do it well than to do many and not keep them up!
2. Choose the platforms that best suit your business. You don't have to use them all unless you have the time (see above) and feel that it's a good fit for your audience. Consider the purpose of the account and messaging to determine where it's best suited. If your audience consists primarily of business-owners, you might find them on LinkedIn. If you are planning to advertise to targeted groups, having a Facebook page paves the way into peoples' news feeds so maybe it's the better place to start for your business. Pinterest can work really well for many industries as long as you can create some eye-catching images to pin. If you're uncertain, read up on the platforms you're interested in or get some advice from someone who knows all about it.
3. Setup a schedule. This helps you think about what you'll be posting to the platform(s) you choose. Consider how many posts you'll put up each week and what they might be about (in the general sense of: sharing one article from a thought leader, promoting one event of yours and sharing one blog post of yours, for example). This makes it easier to manage and navigate by giving you some structure to adhere to.
4. Be flexible and test it out! Widely spread advice about best posting times or the type of articles that get the most responses might not apply to your audience or industry. You need to test it out for yourself and watch the stats over a few months to start to understand what's popular with those who follow you. Then, adapt your posting schedule and content to give them more of what they like.
5. Engagement rules, vanity stats drool. Yes it's awesome and exciting to say you have 2000 likes on your Facebook page or 3000 Instagram followers but if none of those people are engaging with your posts, it really doesn't matter. If you have 100 likes and get engagement from 50% of them, that's a much better result. So, don't focus on the number of people following you but focus on creating a consistent and interesting set of posts that create discussions or get responses. Quality engagement should be your aim.
Remember, a following doesn't grow overnight and just being on social media doesn't guarantee an uptake in sales. You need to promote the accounts themselves, post consistently and respond to comments or queries in a timely manner. You will likely need to pay to promote your Facebook page through ads before you start to see the level of engagement that you want.
What Matters is What Suits Your Business
The bottom line is that it's all about what works best for you and your business. You don't have to stick with the trends if something else is a better fit. I'm sure many of you have questioned why I don't have a Facebook page for Assistia. For me it's not an authentic brand match as I don't use Facebook in my personal life so I'm not inclined to add it to the mix of where my time goes in my business. (Because yes, even I have a limited capacity to allow for social media!) My clients tends to be entrepreneurs so I have a more likely chance of quality connections through LinkedIn. And Twitter suits the link sharing that I enjoy doing and I can connect with influencers there quite easily.
It's all a matter of identifying what you're trying to achieve and then testing the waters! Go forth and have fun too!