Getting started with social media for business is about more than setting up accounts and posting updates. It is about building an audience for your brand, product or service. Small businesses typically start with a grassroots effort of asking their own network of friends and family to follow them on social media.
Building a social media following takes time and effort. Focus is key to building an engaged following. Here are some tips for getting started with social media:
- Identify the target market for your business. For example, I target social media efforts to small business owners and other writers and bloggers. Having a targeted effort doesn’t limit me. Rather, I have a focus and am not wasting time researching topics that are out of the scope.
- Be consistent in the messaging and frequency of your efforts. People want to feel valued – even when they’re online and you may not know them in real life. Post something every business day. It will keep you in the eye of your audience. If you aren’t making the effort to reach your audience, then why should they be interested in you? It’s that simple.
- Build an email list. Not everyone reads everything about your business. More than likely there are email recipients who aren’t following you on social media. It also reminds current followers to share your newsletter and social media links with their contacts, broadening your network and following.
- Send an e-newsletter. The biggest challenge I (and other business owners) find with e-newsletters is that we forget to send them. Sounds silly but it’s true. It’s just not the core focus of our business. I can’t stress how important it is to send an e-newsletter. Keep it short with one simple message and send it consistently – once a month is a good frequency.
- Keep asking friends and family to follow your brand on social media – and to share with their friends and family.
- Continue building your network online and in-person. The more people that know you and your brand, the more that will follow you on social media.
- Follow those who follow you on social media. There is no bigger compliment than a re-tweet or a like on a page. It shows appreciation for the follow of your brand and your interest in the other business. It’s a great practice especially when you are getting started with social media.
- Create and share engaging content related to your business. Build a personality for your business that attracts your target clients.
- Share engaging content from others: You aren’t going to have time to create enough content to fill the pipeline of social media that is okay. Find thought leaders in your area of interest and share their content. You’re creating value for your following and giving a nod to others in your field, both of which should be appreciated.
- It’s not about the numbers. Social media is about creating an engaged following; it’s not about how many followers you have. Please don’t buy followers; at the end of the day they aren’t going to be interested in you or your brand. The ROI of social media is engagement and interaction of your following. It’s better to have 100 people commenting and sharing posts than 10,000 who aren’t even listening to your message.
Creating a social media following takes time and effort. Focus on who you want to reach. Create and share engaging content and be engaged. These are the keys to getting started with social media for business.