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A Beginner’s Guide To Social Media For Business

When you start using social media for business, it is tempting to jump right in without giving much thought to how you are going to use it or what you plan to achieve. Unfortunately, winging your social media strategy will ultimately lead to frustration (not to mention the waste of your time and energy).

It is understandable that you want to get stuck in and start using this amazing tool to grow your business, but if you want to achieve your goals then you need a plan. What are you trying to accomplish? Is your goal is brand awareness, product or service promotion, client retention, reputation management, enhanced customer service, something else or a combination of several? Write it all down. You’ll need to refer to it on a regular basis.

Choosing a Social Network

If you’re just getting started, start small and establish yourself on one social network first. It can be difficult and time-consuming becoming a social media manager and you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew.

You will need to consider your goals and your audience. Who is your audience? What do they care about? Where are they, what are they doing and how are they doing it? Why should they pay attention to you? What can you offer them through social media?

Research and consider the social media platforms where your audience can be found and weigh up the pros and cons of each. You need to choose the one that is best suited to both your audience and the nature of your business.

Getting People To Your Social Media Page

Once you have created your social media account, you need to let people know you are there. Firstly, ensure brand consistency by choosing an appropriate name and including a logo and branded imagery as well as links to your website, summaries and contact details.

Start small and go with the most basic tactics first. Include a link on your website, or better yet a feed with the latest updates from your social media profile. Put the logo on your business stationery. Include a link in your email footer and send your contacts an email telling them all about your new page and how to find it, making sure you sell it and let them know them why they should take a look.

Tell people about it in person. Make it something you say to your clients, colleagues and contacts in conversation: “Did I mention we have a new Facebook Page/LinkedIn Page/Twitter Account? I think you’ll find it good for XXX. You can get to it via the website or by searching XXX.”

If you already have your own personal social media profiles, invite your existing online contacts to follow you. You could do this by sharing a link, sending messages or, if you’re using Facebook, inviting friends to like and share your new page. Again, make sure you sell it and give them a reason.

Consider launching an advertising campaign to attract new followers or creating a competition to attract people to your page. You will need to do a bit of swotting up to learn about advertising on your chosen platform and to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules if you run a competition. If you have a shop or busy reception, you could even advertise a competition or promotion in your business premises to encourage customers to follow you online.

Most importantly, make your content engaging, interesting, entertaining, valuable and shareworthy. Mix it up with a combination of media types – visuals, links, text, video, etc. In time you can discover what your audience likes best and give them more of it.

Tip: make sure you already have some good content on your page before you start emailing clients and business contacts about it!

Put your audience first but all the while, keep your end goals in mind.

Fitting Social Media Into Your Working Day

When you are running your own business or department, managing social media can be a challenge. Unlike other marketing disciplines, you need to tend to it constantly and be responsive throughout the day.

I prescribe a combination of automated updates to ensure that your messages are still being published you when you are rushed off your feet, and real-time updates with networking to show that you are present and engaged. I also suggest having systems in place for monitoring and responding so that nothing slips through the net.

If you are interested in learning more about this, Lemon Squeezy Marketing offers social media training and management to help you get started and assist you in managing your social media accounts on a daily basis. Please get in touch to find out more.

I’d love to hear from you… What social networks are you using and which ones have you found to be the best for your business? How do you get people to come to you? How do you fit social media into your working day? What challenges do you face? What tips do you have for others?
Bethany Carter,  April 21, 2015

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