Getting started in the world of social media can be overwhelming and intimidating for a small business owner. You probably already know that in order to be relevant in today’s market, you need to use social media to keep current customers engaged and attract new customers at the same time. For one thing, social media allows happy customers to talk about their positive experience with your business. Secondly, once happy customers are linked to you on social media, sharing content that interests them keeps you in their news feed and on their mind.
So, where do you start? Well, that depends on what you are trying to accomplish and what audience you want to connect with. The various social media channels function differently and may have different audiences. So the types of posts you make on one channel won’t be as effective on others.
Below are some things to know about each social media platform to help you decide where to begin your efforts.
Facebook is the most popular site for social media. Great news for you – many of your customers and vendors are already there! The downside is that there is a lot of competition to get their attention. Your posts on Facebook find your audience without them having to look for you, but you need to make sure your updates aren’t missed or overlooked.
Don’t be too salesy. Create posts of things that will help, interest and entertain them, even if they aren’t 100% about your business. When you are promoting your business, relate your post to something going on in the world – like Earth Day, a sports championship, the Oscars, etc. When some likes or shares your content, it increases your chances of getting in front of new customers.
Facebook users are there to be entertained. Whenever possible, use images or video to grab attention. Sometimes it can be challenging to generate images or find the right image for what you want to convey. When in doubt, use real images of customers or employees. Ask customers to post images onto your page. Authentic images can help potential customers see you as genuine and reliable.
Twitter makes networking easy. You can jump into conversations and chats, as long as you are adding relevant and helpful insight to the conversation. Use hashtags! Unlike Facebook, hashtags are supported on Twitter. Users can search for a hashtag (#photographytips or #goodbooks) to find posts and conversations on particular topics.
When you ask questions or make comments, remember that posts on Twitter live on as long as someone can search the hashtag or view your feed, so make your comments count.
Need to boost your SEO efforts? Then Google+ might be your best bet for a social media platform. It makes sense that using Google’s own social media platform helps make Google happy and in turn boosts your SEO.
Google+ is similar to Twitter in that it is an interest-based community. You create your network of followers by joining groups and following other people who have similar interests. Your posts in Google+ can show up in Google searches and lives in the Google index. As long as people search for the topic in Google, your posts can be found.
Looking to do B2B marketing? Start with LinkedIn. You can share insights, experiences and opinions with executives and other business owners looking for your products/services. Keep in mind, the fun and entertaining posts that are popular on Facebook and the short text popular on Twitter are not what win here. Linked in readers want substance from someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Start by joining and being an active member in LinkedIn groups that are related to your business. You can also use the latest LinkedIn publishing tool for more in depth and informative blogs. Both can help you become noticed and recognized as an industry expert.
No matter where you decide to start, test different types of posts and relationships to see what works. Once you make a decision to start in one place, be consistent in posts and activity and make sure you respond to questions or comments people make to you. Creating the account is just the first step. Being an active user is what helps create your network and persona.
All platforms allow you to see when your audience responds to your comments or posts, so you’ll know what is working. Check out the competition! See how they are using social media. It’s not a good idea to copy their efforts, but you never know where you’ll find inspiration.