If you think you can keep your business out of the social media scene, think again.
Although these numbers are astounding—especially if you’re looking at them like leads—you may be unsure of how to navigate this foreign digital territory. You may not think you’re tech-savvy enough to master social media for your business.
Remember, all of these social media sites were foreign territory for everyone when they first launched. Everyone is learning and adapting. Especially in the business world.
So with the help of today’s article, I’ll show you how to use social media even when technology is not your strong suit.
Social Media is Here to Stay
If this message isn’t already clear, then it’s worth repeating: social media is here to stay. You can fight it all you want and you can hold off using it for as long as you wish, but you’ll only be doing a disservice to yourself and your brand.
Rather than taking this route, I’m going to show you how to use social media effectively for your business. Here’s why:
- Social media helps you tap into a much larger audience that you may not have access to otherwise
- It helps your create, foster, and build relationships with customers you may never meet in person
- It’s one of the best ways to connect with people
The trick is to find the right platform for your business. The perfect one includes your target audience and will actually be a pleasure for you to deal with.
To help you choose, I’ll give you a brief explanation of each of the main social media platforms and discuss why they’re great options for every business.
Which Platforms are Right for Your Business?
Snapchat was initially released in 2011, but it didn’t gain much traction until recently. Although the stats for active users on Snapchat are not the most accurate, I’d argue that the platform will be one of the top three most used social platforms in the next few years (or even months, really).
Here’s how Snapchat works: Users can send both pictures and videos that share their story for the day. These “posts” only last for 24 hours unlike the other more permanent ones on our list. Essentially, Snapchat users share the answer to the question, What are you up to today?, in visual form.
As someone who believes in the power of storytelling, this platform is high on my radar.
Despite us not being physically with a potential customer, Snapchat makes it seem as if we’re right there with them.
This is huge for businesses since it can help showcase “the human behind the brand”—a crucial element for conversions.
Snapchat intimidates people the most, but it really shouldn’t. Get to know this platform and it will be well worth your time investment.
PS: Have fun with it! Be real and authentic and your target audience will respond well.
As the largest social networking site, it’s no surprise that I’m recommending Facebook.
Facebook will give you access to a wide audience that ranges drastically in its demographics. This is perfect for attracting your specific target audience FAST.
You also have plenty of options. You can create a Brand Page which gives your brand an online presence or you can also post as an individual user.
I find that the individual route is great for establishing one-on-one connections. Then you can direct your newfound relationships towards your brand page.
But, it’s all about making the connection first!
I definitely recommend that you keep your Brand Page active and updated. You can also use this page to drive traffic whenever you use Facebook ads.
Speaking of Facebook ads, they’re a bit more subtle and convert fairly well so they’re worth researching when you have some extra time.
Facebook is also the most versatile when it comes to posts. You can share videos, images, articles or text updates with your friends so it’s easy to find different content each week.
Instagram is a bit trickier.
Similar to Snapchat, Instagram works best on mobile screens or tablets. It’s not really made for desktops, so it won’t adjust as well as Facebook.
Instagram and Snapchat also share the fact that they’re image and video based.
Here’s the key difference: You have no text limit when you share an image on Instagram so you can elaborate on what’s going on, share a positive quote or anything else you’d like.
You won’t find this option with Snapchat.
The downside to using Instagram is that it’s so visually focused. Despite all the text you’re allowed, users are still there for the images. Then again, this could be a major positive for your business if you have strong visual copy.
So how do you select visually compelling images?
They have to be eye-catching and engaging or users will just scroll by.
Your feed should also be cohesive and give users a sense of your brand’s aesthetic. Some of the best Instagram feeds are real works of art. If you’re not about embracing your inner creative child, Instagram may be a bit tricky for you to get the hang of.
If graphics are your strong suit or you can find a good designer, Instagram will do wonders for you. Those of you just starting out with social media may want to hold off on this platform for now.
You can share images, videos and article links on Twitter, but you can only do so in 140 characters—including spaces. Quite the challenge!
Then again, it can also be a really fun puzzle at the same time.
Think of Twitter as an active conversation; users are constantly chatting back and forth and use hashtags to keep everyone tagged and in the loop.
Twitter’s audience is not as all-inclusive as Facebook, but it does have an interesting demographic spread none the less. It tends to lean more towards the 18–29 crowd (~95 million users) with some interest from the 30–59 age group (~54 million) and 59+ (~44 million).
If your team can keep up with the fast-paced conversations on Twitter, you’ll be in good shape. If not, I’d save this one for later, too.
Unlike the other platforms on our list, there are no status updates with Pinterest.
Instead, you’ll create what’s known as “pins.”
Basically, pins are images that you share that are actually links. Clicking the pin, or image link, will bring you to the website that contains more information about the image/pin.
Pinterest is big on how-to’s, recipes, DIYs and even shopping. So these image links usually lead to full recipes, helpful articles or products that drive your brand’s message.
If you want to increase traffic to your website, get friendly with Pinterest—but only if your business can create these how-to’s, recipes, and articles. Similarly, businesses that sell products such as clothes, candles, jewelry, handbags and merchandise of that nature will also benefit from Pinterest’s demographics.
Pinterest is still a top priority on my list, but it may not be the right fit for every business.
Social Media Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Post Weekly
No matter which platform you choose, it’s important that you are active. You’ll want to post at least one update every week. Ideally, you’ll post several times per week and eventually work up to several times per day.
For now, start with sharing a post, status update or a pin just once a week.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re having trouble familiarizing yourself with your chosen platform, don’t get frustrated. Instead, watch a quick YouTube video to learn more.
The more you post, the better you’ll get at it.
3. Choose Your Message First
Coming up with content to post every week can be tough. I find that’s it’s usually easier to think about the message you want to send first to streamline the process.
Start with your mission statement and share pictures or status updates that relate to that message. Eventually you’ll branch out to daily intentions or weekly hashtags (embarrassing pics on #TBT, anyone?).
Always have an intention; don’t just post for the sake of posting.
4. Avoid Using Too Many Salesy Posts
It will be hard, but try not to push sales posts. Your goal is to establish connections. You can post sales or product promotions every few posts, just don’t make it all the time.
5. Stick to One Platform at First
So that you’re not overwhelmed or juggling too much, it’s best to stick to one platform at first. Once you get the hang of that one, you can move on to tackling another one next. Baby steps will ensure you stick with it!
Now that you’re familiar with each platform, social media should be far less intimidating.
Choose the platform that makes sense for your target audience and stick with it. I promise you’ll get better and it will become easier over time.
As long as you focus on making connections, you’ll be in stellar shape!