Social Media is an ever-changing marketing platform that, unfortunately, a lot of small businesses misuse. They try to keep up with too many social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, and many others. Or they get overwhelmed with the idea of using so many and don’t use any at all, or at least not effectively. I got exhausted just listing those. Before you go willy-nilly and open an account on every social media site, take a moment to decide which social media sites are right for your business.

5 Steps to Get Your Small Business Started on Social Media:

 

1. Know who your customers are.

Determine who your customers are. This can be as simple as targeting “teenagers” or as detailed as targeting “women between the ages of 22 and 34 who are physically active and live in the Midwest.” Knowing who your customers are will help you determine which social media sites to use.

2. Know where your customers are.

Once you know your target market, figure out which social media platforms are most relevant to them. For example, if your business sells products or services for women, Pinterest may be the social media platform for you. If you’re targeting teens, you may think Facebook is one of the best social  sites to use. You wouldn’t be wrong, but it may come as a surprise to you that Facebook is losing its “cool factor.” Maybe it’s the increase in advertisements, or maybe teens just don’t want to use the same social network their parents use. Just remember, your customers’ social network of choice may change over time.

 

Intro to Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

 

Pew Research Center has done extensive research on the demographics of key social networking sites. Their research can help you choose the right social sites for your business, so take some time to look it over.

 

Introduction to Social Media

 

3. Determine your goals.

Identify the purpose of social media for your business. What are you trying to accomplish? This can include increasing brand awareness, search engine visibility, traffic to your website, or engaging with customers.

If you’re a B2B business looking to generate leads, LinkedIn may be your best option. According to HubSpot, LinkedIn is 277% more effective in generating leads than Facebook and Twitter.

Remember that social media doesn’t always provide a clear financial return. You can track traffic to your website from social media sites using Google Analytics, but you can’t track the number of people who visit your physical location because of your presence social media.

Bonus – To measure how effective your social media efforts are in building brand awareness, check out Klout, which measures your online impact.

4. Use social media sites based on your target market and social media goals.

It seems pretty obvious, but it’s important to know which social media sites will be the most effective for your business. At this point, Facebook is usually a given for most businesses just based on the number of people who use it, but what about Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+? There are many social networking sites available. It’s up to you to find which ones will work best for your business based on your target market and social media goals.

5. Stay consistent with your brand’s voice.

Each business has a personality of its own, whether it’s professional, bright and bubbly, or clean and simple. As you use social media, it’s important to be consistent with your brand’s voice. When you post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, use images and words that reflect your brand. If your brand is bubbly, use colorful images. If your brand is clean and simple, don’t use cluttered images. Stay consistent across marketing channels!

If you’re a visual learner, check out our social media pages to get some ideas:

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Google+

 

Read “Intro to Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses: Part 2.”

 

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