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Getting started with social media for businesses

This initial blog post is dedicated mainly to the ones so called “late adopters”, businesses that have heard about social media – but haven’t tried it yet. Or, the ones that just want to make sure they did it right in the past when they started. The article includes steps that you can follow to adapt your social media efforts to achieve better results.

Top 6 social media networks: What to use them for

We will go through what you need to do in order to start using social media and not just use it, but use it right. These tips are from our own experience and we really hope they’ll help you too.

Questions you probably get asked quite often (and made you think you probably should consider this new trend) refer to:

  1. Are you on social media?
  2. Which platforms are you on?
  3. What are you getting out of it?
  4. How difficult and time consuming is, compared to results generated?

Let me tell you a secret – this new trend is posing difficult questions not just for the ones that are just about to start using social media but also for the ones already using social media.:

  1. How do we get noticed on social media?
  2. How do we create our image on these channels?
  3. How do we get results for our business from investing our time and resources in social media?

With this post, we want to shed some light on the things that matter inside social media – the basics. Keep reading The Social Duck blog and you will find out more about this topic in the upcoming articles. And if you need more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Step 1: Set realistic goals

Social media is an activity that requires some resources and time for any business. That is why we need to have goals for this activity in order to know what we want to achieve and whether we are on the right track.

The rule of thumb you should know right from the start is that social media does not directly correlate with sales/conversions. It would be disappointing to set such goals and see them not achieved.

Ok, and now you’re asking: why should we invest time, resources and money on social media if this does not generate direct results? If you want to do social media to be part of the trend, this is also not the right reason. A brand personality and presence on social media platform helps consumers find out more about the brand, be more informed, be engaged in conversations, give and see other’s feedback and reviews and therefore gain trust to buy from your brand.

So these are the goals one should have – position of the brand on social media, presence, image, engagement in conversations, trust building and so on.  Setting up realistic goals as such will contribute to actually making sense of these new trend called social media.

Step 2: Choose your social channels

You don’t have to be present on ALL social media platforms there are. It’s important once you decide on which social media network to be on, to be present and engaged on that channel and never abandon the conversation. There are two important things to do here:

a. Choose your channels

How do you choose the channels you are on? Well, these are our recommendations:

  1. Make sure you know your audience. Your business audience. Are they international? Or national? Or local? Are they young or middle-aged? What are their interests? What do they read? How is their language and speech tone? etc.
  2. Next, do a research on how used are your social networks by your target audience. How many people that fit your demographics are on which network.
  3. Another important aspect that will help you filter the social networks is their purpose: for example, if you want to find employees for your business you must be on LinkedIn, while if you produce videos as main material to promote your brand then definitely you shouldn’t miss Youtube.

The channels you should use are the ones where your target audience is and the ones that fit your business goals and means. Let’s take an example: we are a B2C (business to consumers) brand, wanting to engage with the population in Romania, all working ages. We want to use personal conversation and get professional leads. We see the stats below and based on it we consider LinkedIn, Facebook and Trilulilu (the Romanian Youtube) as social media channels to position ourselves as a brand and engage in conversations with our target audience. But because we don’t produce video materials, we decide to drop Trilulilu and focus on LinkedIn – professional promotion and engagement – and Facebook – personal conversations.

Source

b. Engage in conversations

Opposed to PR and advertising, social media is a platform that allows uses to reply to a brand inquiry, ask a question, give feedback etc. This is why the main benefit we have in engaging in social media is the chance to interact with our audience.

How can we do this? There are a few rules to consider:

  1. Share relevant content for your audience: spamming them with your products & services promotions and self publicity will only lead to ignorance. Better, understand your audience needs and provide material that is useful
  2. Share own as well as other’s content: what you share shouldn’t be only what you publish (own material). As long as it is relevant for your audience, you should share other’s content too. Remember, the prime scope is to GIVE VALUE to your audience
  3. To start conversations, each post should trigger your audience to comment, share their perspective, ask a question back and so on. To do so, try asking for what you want your audience to do – things such as “What do you think about {resource shared}?”, “Ask us what you want to find out more of/about…”
  4. Balance personal with professional conversations. Especially on channels such as Facebook, make sure you also trigger personal conversations – related to your business, of course. Some examples: “We are painting our office today. What is your favorite color for the walls in an office? Tell us also why”, “We are all of for a teambuilding this weekend. How do your weekend plans sound?” etc.

Step 3: Focus on your community

The next thing to do is, on your social channels, to grow your audience – your followers, your community.

You already know who your target is, next you need to get to know them better. Find out more about them:

  1. What they read, what their interests are?
  2. Who they follow?
  3. Where are they?

Once you know what they read, you should publish more of what they are interested in. Once you know who they follow, find out where are those who they follow and start engaging with those persons/businesses and with their circles. This way your audience will get to know you slowly, but surely. And really important, be where they are, like their pages, answer their questions inside forums and groups etc.

There are two habits you should develop:

1. Post and engage with your followers on your social media channels: be consistent, on time and never forget to post and to follow & reply to the conversations on your channels in order to keep your audience there and involved

2. Look up for your audience on the pages/forums/groups where they are and engage as an expert on those platforms in order to brand yourself and get new followers on your social channels

Do this with persistence and never miss a day. Discipline is one of the key secrets to success in social media.

Extra step: Read more

Social media is constantly changing and that is why you should be informed all the times. Here, we provide some useful relevant extra reading about topics discussed in this article:

  1. How to set social media marketing goals
  2. Steps to choose you social platforms
  3. Which social media channels should you be on?

Drop us a comment if you want to share your impressions about how useful this article was for you. We want to know your opinion or questions or comments or anything you want to let us know! Thank you for your time and looking forward to reading your comments.

Good luck with starting your social media activity!

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