From Facebook to Pinterest, there are numerous popular social media networks.
In fact, according to research done by the Pew Research Center, consumer usage of social media is becoming increasingly ubiquitous.
However, for many small businesses and startups, knowing how to strategically engage with these online communities can be a challenge.
While by no means comprehensive, here is a basic rundown of how to get your new venture successfully started on social media.
Choose One or Two Platforms
In general, small business owners that are new to social media often try to get involved everywhere at once. However, since there are more than half a dozen major platforms out there, it is important to be selective.
The purpose of being on social media sites is to engage with your target audience. As a result, you should choose the platforms that are commonly used by those people.
For example, a small fashion business might benefit the most from being on Pinterest, which is both image-orientated and popular with women. Whereas a local restaurant would do well to have a local business page on Facebook.
Research Content Strategies
Once you’ve decided on a platform or two, you’ll then want to research and implement sound content strategies.
For example, make sure to fill out your profiles completely on each platform. Everything from your business description to logo colors should be cohesive across your entire online presence.
After all, very few consumers will take a startup seriously if their profile is visually boring or lacks basic information.
The last thing you want is to get on social media and leave your pages half-finished.
Likewise, when it comes to figuring out what kind of content is most effective for your target audience, don’t hesitate to check out what your competitors or major thought leaders in your field are doing.
Learn what works well on each platform and use those tactics to your advantage.
Determine a Schedule
Since most social media users check their networks on a regular basis, they notice very quickly if a business posts too much or hasn’t updated in while.
As a result, once you get started, it is critical to set, and stick to, a regular posting schedule.
Especially for new startups, consistency is very valuable. If your business can post regularly and prove to be a dependable resource, then users not only gain familiarity with your brand, but also tend to perceive your business as more trustworthy.
Now, what counts as an acceptable or “normal” amount of social media activity? There are countless studies that try to pinpoint this to an exact rate; however, in general this varies depending on your audience and the platform.
For example, posting (or tweeting) multiple times a day to Twitter is the norm. On networks like Facebook or LinkedIn however, this would be overkill.
Likewise, you should also consider how much time and content-creating skills your business has available.
Ideally, social media should be handled by someone in your business; someone who is familiar with your day-to-day operations and can respond to questions, compliments or complaints in a timely manner.
Remember, being successful on social media takes a good amount of time and effort, so just keep at it. Don’t be in a rush or give up too quickly.
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