Learning to use social media for business is a lot like learning to ride a bike as a child. For a while, you’ll make a lot of solid attempts at running promotions, posting engaging content and gaining new fans or followers, and you might just fall flat on your face.
For many of us, it will take several failed attempts at success before we finally get up on two wheels and get rolling. If you remember what it was like when you first learned to ride a bike, once you’ve got it down, you never want to get off. Developing a social media presence works in many of the same ways. It takes time to develop a solid base to work with and to learn exactly what it is that your audience wants to gain from following your brand online. Once you’ve figured out how to make it work, it’s just like a downhill ride. The key to social media success is to take it slow and never give up (and wear your helmet).
4 Tips to Jump Start Your Business on Social Media
1. Learn from the Industry Experts
When you first start out, you’re likely to feel pretty overwhelmed and may not even know where to start. The first thing that you want to do is find the social media profiles of your industry’s biggest social influencers, the content generators and the best known experts. Seeking out these people will not only help you get a better idea of what to do with your own profile, but it’s a great to obtain content worth sharing that’s relevant to your niche. Don’t be afraid to share other peoples’ content, sharing great content is what social media is all about.
2. Don’t Overextend Your Brand
The absolute last thing you want to do is go into overdrive before you get a strong core of social profiles. There are hundreds of different networks that you can setup a profile on, but when you’re just starting out it’s best to keep to a few key networks.
- Facebook: Without a doubt, the world’s most popular social network. If you want to start a following for your business on social media, this is the platform you should start with.
- Google+: While many people claim that Google+ is a ghost town, as more and more time goes by, Google+ has shown that it is 100% necessary for any business. The SEO benefits of having a Google+ profile speak for themselves, but for your business it’s gold mine. If you have a physical address, setting up a Google+ page for your business will not only help get your business some exposure, but will allow you to gather reviews from your customers and have your business’ address show up in local search results on Google maps.
- Twitter: Twitter doesn’t work for everyone or every business. In my opinion, some businesses just don’t get the following that others do. Twitter has the potential to generate a lot of content sharing and buzz around your business, but it’s important to know your demographic when considering a Twitter profile. I would recommend setting one up and syncing it with your Facebook profile to share posts, but this may be a network you want to put your focus on in the future as you get settled in on Facebook and Google+.
3. Develop a Social Media Schedule
Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by your social media profiles. When used properly, they can be a powerful marketing tool for your business, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend 24 hours a day dealing with them. Look into using a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to make managing all of your profiles easier by handling them all from one platform. In addition, set aside some time once or twice a week to work on your content development, post scheduling and interactions. If you use the right management tool and schedule some of your posts in advance once a week, you’ll save a lot of time digging around and be able to use the rest of your time responding to user interactions and running your business.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Leave Your Comfort Zone
You run a business for a reason; you’re great at what you do (hopefully)! Use your expertise to develop your social media profiles and don’t be afraid to share what you know. Reach out to new people and interact with the as you would any of your actual customers. The last thing you want to do is leave your accounts looking like a ghost town, so speak up! Public speaking can be scary, but keep in mind that you are in complete control of what happens on your social media accounts. If you’re not comfortable sharing a post, hold off and think it over before you proceed.
Don’t jump into social media and expect to become a pro overnight, just be you. The beauty of social media marketing is that it doesn’t take a genius or a CEO to become a popular brand online, it simply takes using your unique personality and expertise and sharing it for the world to see. Let your popularity come to you, and learn as much as you can along the way to improve your presence on social media.
See also: 10 Ways Facebook Has Changed the Way We Do Business