You’ve heard all the buzz, seen the benefits, and you’re ready to jump in… but how does a business start social media marketing? We outline the questions to ask yourself and a guide to successfully starting or revamping a social media account for your business. Following these steps will make your plunge into social media a lot easier!
Notice we said “a social media account.” We realize there are many social media platforms out there and we know you’re eager to go viral on all of them. However, that’s not a realistic path to success for most newcomers. To start out, we recommend picking one platform to get the hang of. Here are some of the biggest platforms and their subtle differences:
Facebook: Facebook is a great middle-ground between the visual core content of Instagram and the short blurbs of text-based content on Twitter. Facebook is a great place to start for beginners. It doesn’t have a strict character limit like Twitter, and creative imagery is not necessary for success. You can use this platform to inform potential customers, provide customer support, seek reviews, and even grow your staff with job posts.
Instagram: Instagram is a rapidly-growing image-based social network. According to Statista, in 2019 35% of US teens rated Instagram as their favorite social platform, above Facebook and Twitter. If your brand has visual products or services, this might be the platform for you.
Twitter: Twitter is a place for opinions, ideas, and conversations of “tweets” 280 characters or less. Twitter is a great platform to engage with users quickly and offer short bits of information. Many brands prefer this platform for customer support because brands can easily move from a public tweet into a DM (direct message) private conversation. This platform seems to work best if you plan to actively engage with users and isn’t as strong for just posting.
If you’re looking for a certain audience type, Khoros provided a recent deeper dive into their demographics. Hopefully one of these platforms sounded like a better fit for your brand. Now that you’ve narrowed your focus to one platform, you can move on to step 2!
For this step, gather your top leadership and any creatives you have on your staff. Ask the question, “what will we post about?” This step is the most critical part in quick success on social media. Interesting content is the key to social media. Without it, you will likely only be posting to an audience of supportive family, friends, and coworkers. Don’t fall into the trap of creating content only you think is interesting. Instead, try to think what content your future followers or potential customers will enjoy.
Now that you found your starting platform and what type of content you’ll post on that platform, the next step is all about being consistent. How often can you and your team commit to producing relevant content? It is far better to consistently post once a week than it is to post five times in week one then disappear for three months. Be realistic about how much content you can produce.
Also, consider your brand’s voice in this part of the planning — Will you reply purely professionally or do you want to have a more casual tone? Will you roast people when they deserve it (like Wendy’s) or ignore the online trolls? Figuring this out up-front will help bring consistency to your brand.
Social media is a hot spot for negativity these days, so it’s best to plan how you will (or will not) respond before you’re in the heat of the moment. One downside to managing your own social media account is that you’re more emotionally connected to the content and brand. When your first negative commenter comes —and they will — it will be helpful to already have your response pre-planned. Action plans should include who to notify of a negative comment and who approves a response. Don’t put this responsibility solely on one person! It takes a team effort to consider the options.