toolbox

Tools to Get Started – Social Media for Small Business

As I recently started my own business I went through a list of tasks that will help any business in the planning stages, get started with their social media strategy.  These media outlets cannot be ignored in today’s marketplace.  And success with these outlets starts with taking the time to build carefully from the start.

 A Few Statistics about Social Media

Social Media is an essential tool for today’s small business.  According to the Pew Research Center the growth of Social Media channels continues.  See figures for Total US Population users:

  • 58% Facebook
  • 19% Twitter
  • 21% Instagram
  • 22% Pinterest
  • 23% Linkedin

Tips for Getting Started

If you are a recent startup this article focuses on the tips for getting started.  As you can see there are many social networks to choose from.  It is vital that you understand where your clients or customers are in the social media universe.  Social Media is an investment in time that a small business can see results from in a short period of time.  Everything from SEO to brand building now is generated by your social media strategy.

  1. Choose a Brand or Company name.  These days many people choose their business name based on the research from a keyword planner like https://www.google.com/trends.  Then checking for URL availability at a site like GoDaddy.  There are many reasons and theories to choose a name but practical considerations such as SEO search ability and uniqueness are optimal reasons too.
  2. Know who your clients or customers are and where they are in the social media space.  You shouldn’t sign up for every social media channel if you do not have the time or resources to adequately build them.  Here are a few key questions to ask yourself about which platforms to use.
    1. Consider your budget today’s social media platforms are pay to play and advertising dollars will be essential since organic growth is a thing of the past.
    2. Consider the time that each social channel will take to maintain.  This is an investment in time if it is to be done well.
    3. Have patience each platform will take time to build.
  3. Checking for availability on Social Media channels is also recommended.  Tools like https://www.namecheckr.com/ can help you find a unique name.
  4. Open a special gmail account dedicated solely to your social channels.  One place to see all your social emails.
  5. Signing up for the Social Media channels that you are interested in will require a picture or logo.  A site like https://www.canva.com/ can help you size your pictures or logos.
  6. I recommend getting a new headshot for business purposes as this is the first impression people will get of you or your business.
  7. A company mission statement works well for profile descriptions and taglines should use keywords especially for Linkedin.  A good rule of thumb for writing a mission answers four key questions:
    1. What do we do?
    2. How do we do it?
    3. Whom do we do it for?
    4. What value are we bringing?
  8. Think about how you will generate content.  Ideally 80% of your content should be curated from good sources using http://www.talkwalker.com/alerts or https://feedly.com/.  20% of your content should be original.  Following your industry in trade magazines or http://www.smartbrief.com/ will help you come up with relevant ideas for content.  In addition, all of your branding material, white papers, customer service success stories, etc… can be used repurposed to generate content for your social channels.
  9. Create a Editorial Calendar to organize your thoughts and strategy with regards to your messaging.
  10. Use a scheduler for your social media calendar.  Hootsuite and Buffer can be huge time savers and manage several media channels including your blog and gmail accounts.  In addition, TakeOff and Latergram.me will assist you with Instagram (only on a mobile device.)

Final Thoughts

This has been a brief overview with the steps for getting started with Social Media for your small business.  It is important to know that effort is required to maintain these social channels but the ROI in today’s market is undeniable.  You need to speak with your customers where they happen to find themselves on the web.  And today that could be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin, Youtube, Foursquare, etc…  And with this toolbox you can get started on the right foot.

Yolanda Ortega
President, Amusing Violet

Posted in Small Business, Social Media and tagged , .

One Comment

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