Getting Started with Social Media

Getting Started with Social Media
September 14, 2016 Liz
How to Choose the Right Social Media

Millions of people use social media; it’s become the new influencer. Social media has also become popular with businesses in recent years.

With so many people connected to social media on their smartphones, it’s fast and easy to spread a message. However, there is an art to getting it right. Social media is very personal, and people tend to like and share posts that are a reflection of themselves in some way. Blatant advertising is not well received on most networks.

It’s easy to get started, and with some effort, can be a rewarding method of building relationships and promoting your business.

There are many social media networks to choose from; some are stable, and others are fads that come and go. Different demographics will also vary between networks.

I recommend choosing one or two social media networks, to begin with, focus your effort to build a following and then tackle the next one. Consider what social media networks your customers use, there’s no need to guess, just ask a few! Facebook is popular with most age groups, whereas Instagram is most used by younger audiences.

You should also consider the type of content that you will be posting and create a plan based on the interests of your ideal audience. Consistency with posting your own content, as well as sharing other people’s content, is important for long-term success.



These are the most popular social media networks

Facebook and Twitter: Great for a mixture of written content that includes links, images or video and is suitable for all types of businesses.

Facebook and Twitter

Mixed content – text, images, video and links

Instagram and Pinterest: Used for showcasing images and is suitable for businesses where imagery is an important aspect of the experience, such as photographers featuring their work, high-end fashion designs, prestige cars, designer furniture, food.

Instagram and Pinterest

Showcasing images

YouTube: The best platform to load a video and then share it on your social networks or embed it on your website or an email.

YouTube

Video content

LinkedIn: Primarily for business to business use It’s an excellent networking tool and a resource for looking for new employees.

LinkedIn

Business to business networking

Here are a few tips to become a social media superstar

• If you’re a small business, use a professional photo of yourself, people connect with people. Otherwise, a good quality image of your logo is suitable.

• Write a good description of your business and yourself, but keep it short and engaging.

• Include a link to your website; you never know when a potential customer will become interested in what you have to offer.

• Add your profile links to your website and in your email signature, don’t be shy to tell people about all the ways they can keep in touch with you.

• Find and follow influential people within your industry.

Share content such as text, images, and videos consistently, but remember no hard sell.

Hashtags make content more searchable, #tryit.

• If people follow you, it’s common courtesy to follow relevant people back.

• Always respond to comments and mentions, even if they are negative. Social media is all about conversations, and you will gain trust by being open.

• You can boost the reach of your message with social media advertising. For example, if you’re running a competition, you can target new people outside of your network that you believe would be interested.



Another thing to consider is resourcing. Who will create your content? Who will maintain your social media accounts? Who will respond to questions and be the voice of your business? Can you or a staff member write well? It’s important to have the necessary people in place to execute a social media marketing plan before you start.

Where does your target audience spend time online? What kind of content and conversations do the audience members get most vocal about? What kind of information are they looking for? What do they dislike? You need to find out what your audience wants and needs, so you can provide content they will find useful and interesting.

If you’re stuck for ideas, research what similar businesses are doing locally and globally and what type of content is attracting likes, shares, and comments. You’ll find your happy place through experimenting.

To help you get started with brainstorming content ideas, Forbes has written a great list of 100 social media content ideas for personal and business use, check it out here.

Liz is the owner of Vivid Marketing and Cat Lovers. She has a well-rounded business background within small and large organisations, as well as over 7 years experience in marketing. Liz's ambition is to help small business owners promote their business through digital channels.