Social media is a complex beast that can never really be perfected. It especially can’t be perfected because of how rapidly it’s changing. This social media marketing overview will help you get an idea of what it’s all about and how you can get started marketing your business on social media.
The time people spend on social media every day is rivaled only by TV watching according to Mediakix. Your message is highly likely to get to your customers through social media with the right strategy and amount of time. The average person’s day consists of nearly 2 hours on social media.
With that kind of usage of social media, that means your business can’t miss out on the opportunity to reach customers there.
Before you touch any social media network, though, there are a few things you need to have in order.
Before You Even Touch Social Media
Social media is a powerful way to reach people. There’s no arguing with that. How effective it is all comes down to how much prep work you do before you throw effort at it.
Before you go too deep into social media there are a few things you have to iron out with your business if you haven’t already.
Your target audience is the starting point for everything. That’s not just for social media though, it’s also for anything you do for your business.
You won’t want to invest time into a social media platform that doesn’t even have much of your audience on it.
Do you want to focus solely on organic reach for a social network or are you fine paying for lots of advertising?
Not all networks are the same nor will they perform the same with your goals. If you’re shooting for organic reach to your audience then the biggest network isn’t a good option. That’s Facebook. If you can pay to reach your audience then Facebook advertising is a great option.
Back when Facebook was the holy grail of social media networks businesses built up their pages to have thousands of followers. It was an excellent way to reach their audience.
Facebook has tightened businesses reach to their page followers since that time. You now have to pay to reach your own audience that you built.
Social media is great but you don’t own the platform. You’re on somebody else’s land and they can decide to revoke or limit access to your property at any time.
Facebook did this not too long ago when they limited access to page audiences.
As fast as you can build a page and get likes Facebook can take your organic reach to them away. You’re left with a fan base you can only reach if you pay Facebook.Social media is rented land for your brand so don't rely only on social media. Click To Tweet
The new expectation is that a Facebook page is going to receive very little organic traffic for new pages.
With all that in mind and an understanding of who your audience is it’s time to figure out where your audience could be.
Who Uses What
There are many different networks to be present on but usually the focus is on the major networks.
I’m going to focus on the major networks but I will preface that by saying there are many specialty niche social networks that are better for your business depending on your industry.
Learn about the social media demographics of each of the major networks like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Each platform varies in who mostly uses it a great deal so find the one that best matches your ideal business audience. Your audience determines where you focus.
Just because you’re comfortable with one network (probably Facebook) doesn’t mean it’s the best option. You have look at your audience, budget, and the ability to reach customers for each network.
Not only do you have to find the right network for your industry but you’ll also want to find the right niche within that network.
When you know who uses what and what social platform you want to focus you’ll need to understand how people use each network. Of course, I’ll talk about the major networks but there are other posts about other social media platforms.
Get Started On Social Media
No matter what social platform (or several) you choose to focus on there are some basic steps to getting it right.
You want to be sure you’re doing things complete and professional while understanding each network deeper, and of course post well-formatted messages.
The first thing you need to do is create your account on the right network.
Create your accounts
Creating a complete social media profile is the most important part of starting out the right way.
If people find your business on social media then you want them to understand what you do and how to learn more. That means pictures, descriptions, and links all need to be on point and complete from the beginning.
I have written separate posts that will assist you in setting up your profile on the most well-known platforms (and even some lesser known platforms).
- Facebook page
- LinkedIn company page (though you’ll want to also set up your personal profile)
And a lesser-known platform that can also be a good business driver is Nextdoor (it works mostly off of referrals from others though).
If you have any questions on other platforms then please contact us and I will be able to help you out personally or by writing a post just for you.
Understand how people use each network
Each platform is different in how people use them and what people expect from brands on social media.
Nobody goes onto Instagram to join discussions nor do people go on LinkedIn to talk about politics. I had to throw in the political one because so many people cross that boundary on LinkedIn.People use each social media network differently. It's your job to find the right one. Click To Tweet
So, if that’s the case then how are people using each network?
Here’s a brief run-down of how people use each network with some of them being a bit vaguer than others. The vagueness comes from the difficulty in defining each network in one specific way people use it.
This is the place where people go to share about their personal lives and converse with family. Occasionally there are those who use groups to discuss different topics on business or industry but overall it’s the place where people go for the everyday personal type of stuff.
Pictures and hashtags. That’s all I really need to say about that. Descriptions are important but overall people are browsing pictures quickly and not in much depth. There are no links to your content (except your profile) just pictures that need to be interesting and attention-grabbing.
The platform of hopes and dreams and things. People post pictures that represent what they hope to achieve or do. That could be a hope to remodel their house or maybe a vacation they want to go on. It’s all picture based but people use it to put together their hopes and dreams of things rather than just to browse.
Career and business oriented. Everything here is business or career-oriented from what different companies are up to all the way to the next big invention. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs run the show on LinkedIn with thoughtful posts and articles about business. No, not selling for businesses but rather self-promotion in a more enriching and informative way for others.
You’ll find a mixed bag from politics, celebrity, trolling, and business. Twitter is all about finding your niche group, who they follow, what hashtags they’re using, and groups they talk in. As a mass communication tool, Twitter is horrible and you’ll be drowned out by the sheer volume of information being shared every second to the tune of 7,807 every second.
Well, that’s not overwhelming or anything. And that’s just the major networks. There are so many different networks out there and they are changing every day.
Now you know (sort of) how people use each network. Now you have to post the perfect post to make sure your messages is seen.
Post the perfect message
No matter how much effort you put into finding the right network and meeting the right people, a lot of weight comes down to what you post.
I can’t tell you exactly what to post because everyone’s audience is different but I can give you some general pointers on what to post on social media when you’re just starting (click the link to get those pointers). I can tell you that it needs to be interesting though and it has to fulfill some need of your audience and be high quality.
Whether you’re sharing something you created or somebody else created there’s a correct way to formulate the post. There’s even scientific information on how to post the perfect post.
I put together an infographic on how to post the perfect social media post. The infographic doesn’t cover all the major networks but it gives you a good idea of how to do things.
I will paraphrase some tips:
- Facebook : don’t use hashtags and use at least 40 characters of text.
- Instagram : use a lot of hashtags (at least 11) and write plenty of text. Also, be sure to put a call to action (usually tap the link in the profile) in the first three lines of text.
- Twitter : use 1-2 hashtags, 71-80 characters in the body of the message and a link. Pictures also help engagement.
- LinkedIn : no hashtags.
- Pinterest : no hashtags, long vertical images do better.
Those pointers will help you post better social media posts.
Something else you may want to keep in mind on social media is security.
Not that you’ll ever have 100% privacy or security on the internet but it’s still good to understand you do have choices. Security isn’t as big of an issue for a business account except that you don’t want to have people get ahold of your password.You'll never achieve 100% security but there are precautions you need to take. Click To Tweet
Because the password is the biggest concern you’ll want to have a unique password for each account. I do this using an application that creates secure passwords for each site I use. You can learn more about the importance of password security and the app I use.
There is more to security than that but for business accounts, you want your content pretty open. If you do want to do more then I recommend looking into the security settings for each social media network.
Making Management Easier
There are some ways you can make managing social media a bit easier if you’re on multiple networks.
I use an application called Buffer to help me share on multiple networks at the same time. I queue up posts and they send out at their predetermined time.
This method works well but it’ still important to customize your message for each network. Every network is unique and needs a different message to match that audience.
I wrote a whole post about how you can do social media marketing in minutes with ease. It’s a great method if you don’t have a lot of time and just want to have a presence but aren’t expecting anything big from your social media presence.
Talk About Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
As you can see after reading this there’s a lot to understand about social media. So much that I can only touch the surface in this social media marketing overview and in the links out to many other posts written about social media.
Don’t let that discourage you from venturing into social media though. You just need to have realistic expectations, an understanding of who your audience is, and what your plan is.
Sometimes it’s best to talk with somebody who works with social media a lot though. Book a time for us to talk about your social media marketing goals.