5 Steps to Get Your Small Business Started with Social Media

Is your small business ready to reach a larger audience, build a loyal customer base, and establish brand recognition? Then it’s time for your small business to embrace social media marketing. Social media is a great way for your business to grow and increase profits for (almost) free. Proper social media management may take a little effort, but the payoff can be huge.

If you don’t know how to begin, or if you have started and feel stuck, here are 5 simple tips to help get your business’ social media on its feet.

1. Choose Social Media Platforms

When you use social media for business, the first thing you should consider is which platforms will be most effective. Not all social media is created equal, so take some time to think about what will resonate with the kind of customers you want to attract. Instagram, for example, is an excellent platform to use if your product relies heavily on aesthetic or images (think real estate, clothing, etc.).

Do some research on which social media is best for your specific industry. You can also set up accounts for a kind of ‘trial run,’ to see which work best for your business. After auditing the accounts for a few months, continue using the best performing ones.

2. Set Up Your Account

Make sure that when you first set up your social media accounts, you fill out all the required fields entirely. Blank profile pictures and ‘about’ sections look sloppy and unprofessional, and potential customers gravitate to more complete business accounts. Make sure you use high quality photos for your profile pictures and banners for each account. You can easily use your company logo or slogan for these. Additionally, try to make your visuals as cohesive as possible for all the accounts you use. This will help people recognize your business when they encounter your posts across platforms.

3. Figure out your Brand’s “Voice”

Figure out what you want the voice of your brand to be. You and your business are unique and have their own personalities, so why not let it out? Audiences respond positively to businesses that have a consistent ‘voice’ through all their social media. It builds loyalty and increases the likelihood for followers to engage and share your posts with new potential customers. People are excited to support businesses they connect with, and people connect with businesses that have personality.

4. Content is King

Your content is going to be the foundation of your social media presence. There are two types of content that you can use for social media posts: created content and curated content. Content that you create are photos, blog articles, video content, or anything that your business has created on its own. Created content is excellent for establishing your business as a respectable leader in your field.

Curated content is information collected from a respected source that you find during research relevant to your industry. Sharing articles and videos from other business’ websites and social media accounts helps strengthen connections within your industry. The only is that your content must be valuable to the consumer – as well as consistent with your brand voice.

5. Schedule Everything you Can

Once you have content that you have decided is good enough to represent your business, I would recommend using a third party social media management software like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule it. These applications will let you plan posts in advance, which will be shared automatically at a future date. This gives you more control over when you post your content, so you can reach audience members who are most likely to engage with your business. This will also allow you to spend more time crafting quality content and to run the front end of your business.

You can also look at some other businesses on social media to give you some inspiration (you can follow the Think Beyond the Desktop twitter here). Social media marketing is more of an art than a science, so there’s not a 100% correct way to do it. Just be patient and monitor the accounts you use to determine what works for your business and what doesn’t. It takes a long time and consistent effort to grow an active audience, so don’t get discouraged if it feels like there isn’t much traction in the beginning. With careful planning, social media can be a great and (mostly) free way to connect with your customers and increase profits for your business.