If you haven’t already set your business up on social media, you are missing out. People of all ages and interests are spending time on it. As a matter of fact, over 80% of people in the United States use a social media account  and 76% of Facebook users visit the site daily . With all of the different platforms and ways to use social media for your business, it might feel overwhelming to get started, but it doesn’t have to be. Below are the steps you need to get your business thriving on social media in no time.
- What Are Your Goals?
The first step in understanding how to use social media is identifying the goals of your business. Your goals determine your content and which platform you should use. Based on your business goals, what are the best uses of social media for your business? Are you looking to build customer loyalty? Set your business up as the leader in your industry? Offer another channel for customer service? Boost visits to your website? Become a trusted advisor? Figuring out what you want to get out of social media determines which platforms will be best for your business.
- Who Is Your Audience?
When you converse with someone for the first time, you try to learn more about who they are so you can begin to understand them and what they enjoy talking about. This allows you to focus on subjects that interest both of you. If you don’t get to know the person you’re speaking with, you likely fail to keep their interest and build a lasting relationship. The same holds true when a business is speaking to their consumer. Learn who your audience is and what their interests are so you can build and deepen a relationship with them by talking about topics and subjects relevant to them. Here’s an infographic that makes it easy to understand the demographics of each platform.
- Who Are You?
How will you speak, look and feel to your audience? Some businesses feel playful and witty while others convey a more serious and trustworthy tone. Because you have taken the time to get to know your audience, you are now able to develop a brand that appeals to them. Your brand is displayed in your wording, the pictures you use and how you make people feel. Most important to remember is that whoever you are, be authentic, real and sound human. No one connects with a brand that feels corporate. Sounding professional is essential, however, sounding corporate is cold and boring.
- Find the Right Content
This is a vital point because even if you do everything stated above well and fail to generate content that your audience finds valuable, you will not be successful. Don’t use the “spray and pray” approach when it comes to content, it will be a waste of your time. Instead take the time to research the interests of your customers and find out how you can produce content that is valuable and enjoyable to them. Is your audience families that enjoy being outdoors? Share some fun activities they can do together outside, creative ways to avoid annoying bug bites or handy tips for camping on a budget. When you curate content that appeals to your audience, they will be significantly more engaged with your posts and your business. Videos, pictures and blogs are all great ways to share content with your consumers and using each form of communication keeps things more interesting for them. For more great tips on writing great content, check out this blog, The Art and Science of Social Media Content.
- Figure Out the Right Platforms
Now that you have some key pieces of information - business objectives, audience, brand and content strategy - you can really make some well-informed decisions about which social media platforms are right for you. While it’s a good idea to have your business on several platforms, don’t take on more than you can handle. Start small. Once you get your head wrapped around one platform and feel steady, consider adding another. Here is a chart that explains how to use each social media platform:
- Schedule, Measure, Experiment!
A schedule is a guide and doesn’t need to be followed as if it is law, but having your social media calendar prepared in advance will make your life much easier. Not only that, but when you create your posts at one time, it makes your content more cohesive. Once you have your schedule, start posting and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. In social media, it’s ok to fail sometimes, especially when you’re first starting. Learning what your audience enjoys takes some experimentation, so use your site to do some testing and find out what your customers really find interesting.
It takes time to build your online audience, but if you follow these steps, you will find a great ROI on the time and effort you put into your social media pages. In the words of the famous quote said by Ray Liotta in the iconic movie, Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”. Know that the worst thing you can do is to not build a page for your business at all. Create you social media pages, and your audience will find you.
Want more information on how to best use each platform for your business? Here's an infographic that lays out the best way to use each platform so you can easily figure out where your business should be online.
1 Statista, Percentage of U.S. population who currently use any social media from 2008 to 2017
2 Pew Research Center, Social Media Fact Sheet