How to Start with Social Media for Business

There’s a social media barrier in the business world.

One side accounts for the brands that seem to have their act together perfectly. They post regularly. Their content sticks out; it enlightens, draws people in, and spreads value. They have an impressive following with oodles of engagement per post. Their photos are on brand and anything but amateur.

On the flip side are the ‘small’ guys stuck on how to break out, grow, and make a name for themselves on social. Followers and engagement aren’t flowing in as preferred, and measuring up to the perfection (but let’s be honest, no one and no brand is perfect) seems insurmountable.

Does the second side sound familiar? If so, listen in. It’s time we share one of the secrets to social media success and prep you with the steps to get started the right way.

Here it goes: Figure out who you (and your brand) is, and get out of your way.

This lightbulb moment can move mountains in your way that are preventing the traction you want from social media. Sure, hardworking strategies, consistent follow through, and outside-of-the-box ideas offer plenty of punch, but they’re only as impactful as the big picture behind them.

With that discovery in mind, let’s move on to uncovering the decisions best thought through before starting (or revamping) your social media, as well as best practices to implement.

Questions to answer about your social media efforts

Consider this the pre-work before actively posting and engaging on social media channels. Answer them the best you can and know that they can be revised over time as your business objectives evolve and you gain more takeaways from navigating social media.

How much time can you (or your team) commit to social media per week?

Ballpark it. Consider your current workload and how social media could fit in a time or two per week. Of course, the way you manage social media tasks can vary according to your schedule and time management preferences.

Account time for all aspects of social media management for a more accurate estimate:

  • Account setup or refresh (descriptions and visuals)
  • Photo capture and/or graphic creation
  • Post writing and publishing
  • Channel monitoring and engaging with fans
  • Analytics review

What type of business are you going to promote?

Easy to answer, it holds major direction for your next moves. Your social media strategy and direction will vary widely based on if you are selling products or services, are a consultant, or operate with customers in person or remotely.

How will social media responsibilities play out?

Your answer will draw from the first question on availability, and it is beneficial to figure out how tasks will be divided up and carried out. Map out a plan for how your social media will operate, from whom will manage which tasks to how often they will be completed.

What investment will you make in social media?

You don’t have to spend money on your brand’s social media, but if you’re going to, it’s time to list predicted expenses and frequency. These costs could include advertising, paying team members for time spent on social media, or having professional photos taken.

What is your main goal for your social media presence?

Why are you looking to start or improve your social media? Defining social media goals involves a separate set of questions, so head on over to learn about smart elements of social media goals and how to narrow in on your ideal one.

What channel(s) best fit your business and goal?

Likely, this answer will firm up in your upcoming social media strategy, but start with your gut feeling on which channel(s) you want to start out on. Where do you see your ideal customers posting and engaging with brands, and what platforms seem optimal for your main message and creative?

With answers in hand, follow these basic social media best practices as you continue planning.

Start your social media efforts with just one or two channels.

It’s easier and more fruitful to start out on one platform, pouring your dedicated time and resources into it, before considering to move on to include others. This practice lets you learn, test features and ideas, and decipher valuable takeaways before your social media presence becomes more involved.

Plus, master the ins and outs of this first channel (or two if it feels right), and you’ll have an audience in hand when you look at establishing other channels.

Make social media a stable part of your routine.

Like any new activity, it takes time to form new habits. Take some time to test out batching multiple tasks and working at different times of the day and week to learn what fits best in your schedule and with your workload.

Consistency is key on social media, so figure out the ideal workflow now to set you on the right track.

Stay consistent with your brand.

Prospective customers should have consistent experiences with your brand no matter where they find you. Make sure your website, social media account(s), blog, etc. all share the same main message. Specific wording can vary, as each platform has its own purpose and best practices, but feel confident that your mission is easily accessible on all.

Visuals matter. Choose them wisely.

Photography and graphic design may not be your strengths, but it’s important to have solid visuals representing your brand. Do they have to be photographed and designed professionally? No, but they could be if you’d like.

Focus on your branding and building out visual extensions of your business through profile and header images and post graphics.

Have fun with photos and videos.

Visuals attract attention, and that attention is just what your new channel(s) need. It’s been found that people remember only 10 percent of information after three days, but those odds increase to 65 percent if an image is paired with the information. Put visuals to work to show off your brand’s personality, share what’s going on behind the scenes, and build an attractive account.

Infuse personality into your social media presence.

Have fun with social media! The unique value you offer is what will attract and retain followers and potential customers. This isn’t a time to clam up and try to sound professional if your brand is more laidback. Stay true to your business.

Promote new (or refreshed) platforms to audiences already in your corner.

Guess what? You have the tools to draw in social media followers right from the start. It might start out with a few friends or family that are invested in your passion, and that’s helpful to get the initial word out, as they are likely to share your page and posts.

Share the news about your new (or revamped) channel(s) to your email list, on your website, or even on a flyer if you have a brick and mortar shop.

Start where you are and grow along the way.

Social media for business can feel overwhelming in the beginning. Realize that effort in a strategic direction will help you reach your defined goal. You don’t have to perfect every aspect from the start, just jump in and get going.