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5 Expert Tips for Getting Your Business Started on Social Media

July 26, 2016 | Jennifer Goodwyn

In today's world, it is expected that everybody and everything will have a presence on social media. Whether it is a big business or a local market, consumers often utilize social media to engage with companies. Some companies use social media to field complaints while others use it as a marketing channel. Either way, social media has proven to be incredibly important for businesses of all sizes. If you want your business to thrive, you should be on social media. However, what does that mean, and how should you start? These five tips will help create a social media presence that will add value to your business.

1.       Pick Your Platforms

These days, there are so many different social media channels, it would be difficult for most businesses to maintain an active and beneficial presence on all of them. On top of that, not every business makes sense for every channel. Before you get started on social media, an important preliminary step is to pick which channels will serve your business best. For example, if you want to engage directly with communities of professionals, you should check out LinkedIn. If providing information or interacting with customers is more suited to your business, then Facebook is a great choice.

You might also consider what advantages each platform offers for businesses. There are many options, tools, and opportunities to create and engage with audiences on Facebook, but not as many on Twitter. Twitter does, on the other hand, provide the greatest opportunity for real-time, direct interaction with anyone who is engaging with your business. If you are familiar with a social network due to your personal experience, consider starting there, as there will be less of a learning curve.

2.       Decide What Kind of Content You Want to Post

Content is critical on social media. You want to know you are sending the right message to the right people. Otherwise, the audience you engage with won't translate into profit, and you will have wasted your time. Choosing what kind of content you want to post before you post it can help you reach your targeted audience and differentiate your business online. Maybe you want to attract younger users with humorous or controversial content. Perhaps you want to provide information and value to the lives of your audience. Alternatively, maybe you just want to put forth a professional appearance, so that people know to take your business seriously. Determining ahead of time the kind of content you will promote on social media is a great way to accomplish these goals.

3.       Determine Your Level of Engagement

Engagement is one of the most crucial aspects of social media. If only it were as easy as setting up an account and watching the dollars roll in. Determining your level of engagement means figuring out how much time and effort you are willing to put into social media, and sticking to it. If you want to see results, you need to remain consistently engaged. That is not to say you need to sit in front of the computer all day, but consistency makes a big difference on social media. If people come to your account and see that it has not been active in months, they will likely assume you are defunct and go somewhere else.

4.       Figure Out When You Want to Post

To plan out some consistency, and save some time, it is often a good idea to figure out ahead of time when you want to post. Do you think your business will be well-served by posting every morning? Maybe you want to capture people's attention on the weekend. There is plenty of research available which can help you decide when you should be posting to social media, based on whom you are trying to reach. Armed with this knowledge, you can use free services to schedule posts ahead of time, thereby increasing your presence and consistency on social media while saving time.

5.       Make a Plan and Stick to it

The most important tip for social media success is that you should make a plan and stick to it. Your plan should be based on an understanding of your business, your audience, and the benefits you want to pursue. These advantages can be cultivating an audience, increasing awareness for your business, or simply increasing traffic and driving conversions. Everything you do on social media should be a part of your plan, and should contribute to its success. With that said, it is also important to occasionally assess how well your plan is working and make adjustments. Give your plan time to work, but be ready to change it if it becomes apparent that the costs greatly outweigh the benefits.