Start from Scratch
Just starting a business? Have an existing business and trying to grow? It may be time for you to up your social media game, seriously. While it may seem irrelevant, social media has quickly become one of the most versatile and most effective business tools in any industry.
Whether you have any personal social media experience or not, it is essential that you maintain a social media presence on behalf of your business. Don’t let your competitors tap into a market that could be yours, follow the tips in this article to jumpstart your social media presence today.
Why Social Media?
Social Media, at its core, is a place for pages, profiles, and users to connect. The reason for connection and how that connection is utilized is up to you. Sure, you can use Facebook to keep in touch with childhood friends and share pictures of your dog, but you can also use it to market your business and start generating sales TODAY. Social Media allows you to create content and present it immediately to a wider audience without the hurtles of a website or restrictions of traditional media.
Which Platforms do I use?
Social Media isn’t a one size fits all marketing method. The simple fact of the matter is that there is a large variety of platforms and each of those platforms comes with its own capabilities, limitations, and potential. Because of this simple fact, there is no guaranteed platform for you. However, the person most capable of picking the platform for your business, is you.
Start simple, if the only platform you have experience with is Facebook, then start a Facebook page for your business. Do some research into what platform(s) your target audience uses most and establish yourself there.
Do I even need a website?
Make no mistake, social media is not a substitute for a competently designed website. Rather, look at social media as a means of enhancing your website. When used properly, social media can become the legs of your business, carrying your products and services to the customers. A well-done social media page doesn’t focus on the hard sell but plants the seeds so that you can directly do the selling from your website.
The problem with using social media as your primary domain is that social media feeds are based on the now. They are great for baiting people, but not for reeling them in.
Before you even sign-up your business for a social media account or click “create page” you must first assess your own reasoning. Why are you creating a social media presence for your business? What are the achievable and markers for success? If you are creating a profile just to have one, growth will not likely. However, if you set tangible goals then you can achieve tangible results.
When a social media profile is adrift, customers notice. However, when a profile is focused and has consistent content, themes, and posts, customers become much more engaged.
Finding the Right Handle/Username
Your Username matters. It might seem like a trivial matter, but it is a decision that should be made seriously. The best bet you have is to make your username match your business name. However, there are billions of users, pages, and profiles in existence already. Odds are, you may discover that your desired username has already been taken.
If you do have to get a little creative, remember to keep it simple. So if @Username is already taken, try something such as @UsernameLLC or @UsernameofNYC. Simple identifiers can help your business stand out, without adding anything nonsensical or unrelated to your username.
Your URL is Important
Your URL matters just as much as your username and profile name. Your URL is what your page is listed at in the directory, and what will appear in a user’s search bar. Typically, your page will be assigned a series of random numbers and letters, but you will frequently have the option to change it to something more specific. When given the choice, always update your URL title to reflect your username or business name.
A Competent Bio
A bio isn’t for people that already know your company. A bio is for those who are unfamiliar with your business, and you need to remember that when writing your bio. Keep it concise, but don’t forget that people won’t automatically know what you have to offer or how it can impact their daily life. Your bio is also a great place to display your mission statement or purpose. Let customers know right away what your business has to offer and what makes it different from any other business on the market.
Pool from Your Existing Audience(s)
Building a successful social media platform doesn’t happen in one overnight endeavor. However, there are simple ways to jumpstart your social media growth and get your content in front of a wider audience without having to do most of the legwork. A simple method is by tapping into your existing audience. Let your email lists, blog subscribers, and current clients know that you have joined social media. Send them a quick message encouraging them to follow your page and maybe even share it or a post on it. This simple step would result in every member of your existing audience making the leap, but it may just give your page the running start it needs.
Social Media Links on Everything
A useful tool for both pooling from your existing audience and for cycling leads through your social media profile is social media buttons. These are tiny logos of various social media sites that, when clicked, link back to your profile. These can be added to virtually any content that you or your business produces. These are a handy way to direct people to your social media page where they can engage with and find out more about your business.
Find Your Message
Know your business. Don’t just memorize what products and services you offer at what price, but really know every aspect of your business. Why did you start your business? What lead you to sell those specific products and services? What do you do with the profits? How does your business benefit society? These questions may seem a little daunting, but they help define your mission statement, your message, and your purpose. Ask the hard questions, because they give the answers that are most appealing to users and potential customers. Once you find your message, echo it repeatedly through the content you post. What makes you different from the competitors is exactly what makes your business better than someone else’s.
Just like a personal profile, your business page should have a personality. This goes hand in hand with your message or mission. Your personality is how you express the “what” of what makes you different. Your brand personality can be serious, humorous, sarcastic, helpful, and all sorts of in betweens. Your content should be produced to match with your decided upon brand personality.
However, remember that your social media profile exists to serve the business and generate revenue at days end. Your brand personality should be congruent with that of your target audience and your industry. Don’t lean too far into either childishness or maturity if your target audience doesn’t lean heavily in that direction as well.
Before you draft a single post, plan. Plan out how many posts you want a week. Plan out what kinds of posts you want to upload. Decide on how many interactions you’d like to see or how many followers you desire for a set period. Take the time to create a strategy before you try to start implementing an aimless strategy. A well thought out plan can help you assess your successes and failures later on down the line.
Build Up Some Content
If your plan includes a plethora of created content, don’t be afraid to delay your social media debut. Take some time to write, draw, or film your content ahead of launch. Or, if you are revamping an existing page, find some filler content to use while you create the content that will truly set your page apart. Your content should leave readers, viewers, and users wanting more, so make sure that you are prepared to provide more in a timely manner.
Stick to the Schedule
If you make a plan, you need to stick to it. A schedule can help your page tremendously, but if it isn’t followed then your efforts can quickly become wasted. A schedule helps keep subscribers and followers engaged. The user knows that at this time and date each week, new content is regularly available to them. This means that they are much likelier to return and engage each week.
Be consistent, don’t let large gaps of time pass between uploads of new and original content to your social media page. Even if you are not putting an elaborate article or professional video out each day, make sure that there is relevant filler content made to keep the audience engaged with your page. Even if you are just keeping your page away from the bottom of a user’s feed, you are keeping your business visible to them and on their mind.
Repetitive posts get overlooked. If you are only posting the same content styles and formats every day, users will quickly tune your business out. Diversity is key. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have repeat formats, but that formats should be spread out. Present new styles and new posts to keep audiences wanting more and consistently engaged with your page. Let users see that you have a range of posts to make your profile feel less robotic and more genuine.
Social Media is about connection, remember that? With that in mind, consider connection as a two-way street. It simply isn’t enough for you to create posts and wait for users to engage with them, you also have to do some of the groundwork. Fortunately, social media makes it easy. When someone responds to or comments on a post, comment back. When people ask questions, offer answers. When other pages post about topics that you may be able to assist with, don’t be afraid to answer. Let users sees the intent behind your business and the swiftness with which you interact with them online.
Don’t be afraid to interact with additional business or profiles either. Just because you are not directly trying to sell to someone, doesn’t mean your profile can’t benefit from that collaboration. Users love seeing brands engage with one another, especially if it is done so humorously. In addition, you can also promote other business’ pages, specifically when they are in a different or collaborating industry. Introduce your followers to your partners and watch your partners do the same for your business.
A quick way to boost your follower count is to take advantage of one of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc…’s advertising tools. While these do cost money in most instances, they can quickly distribute your content to relevant audiences, without you having to do as much of the legwork. You don’t need advertisements to grow your page or profile, but they can help tremendously when starting out.
Call to Action
Finally, offer a call to action on any content that you create for either your website or your social media pages. Encourage viewers and users to engage with your other platforms or your website, let one of your audiences help grow the rest. Plus, when users engage with you on multiple platforms it exponentially increases the likeliness that they can be converted to a paying customer.
Social Media is vast and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, most social media pages can be maintained with little to no prior experience. Keep these tips in mind and watch your web traffic soar along with your follower counts.