When you’re starting up or running a small business, having a social media presence is one of the most important things you can do in order to grow. When you post and engage on social media, your past customers will remember you and you’ll be able to reach brand new audiences as well. Plus, social media marketing boosts SEO, helps you reach a large number of people, lets your audience knows what you do or what you sell, and creates brand loyalty. It’s definitely a necessity in today’s business world, but with all of the options and features that come with social media, starting from scratch to build your presence can feel overwhelming.
The good news though is that you don’t have to do it all alone. There are so many resources available to help you jumpstart your social media marketing, but just like anything else, you’ll find the most success and growth when you start with the basics – so here’s your social media guide to launch your small business to the next level.
1. Know the platforms
There are six main social media platforms that businesses use to advertise on: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter. TikTok is also moving up in the social media ranks, but since you’re just starting out, it’s best to stick with the tried and true platforms and learn how to utilize them to their maximum potential. Once you get them up and running, you can start experimenting with other new platforms. Don’t mitigate your time though, TikTok is well posed and positioned to become one of the most used and biggest social tools and you don’t want to sleep on it. Make sure you’re experimenting with it and what content is working on the platform.
The social media sites you’ll want to start marketing with really depend on the type of business you have. For example, if you’re selling clothing or home decor, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook would work best because they’re such visual platforms. If you’re selling professional services like resume writing or consulting, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter would work well. And if you have a blog where you share articles or helpful tips and tricks, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Facebook would be best in order to get your content in front of new audiences. Once you decide which platforms will work best for your business and your budget, you can start planning and creating content.
2. Create and plan your content in advance
When you’re starting out on your social media marketing plan, it’s important to plan out your posts. What do you want them to look like? Do you need to take product photos or create graphics? What do you want the captions to say? When your plan your content in advance, you have enough time to spend making each post thoughtful and effective.
After you create the content, you’ll want to put it in a content calendar so you know what to post and when to post it. You can simply keep track of your posts in Google Sheets or Excel, but if you want to make the process run even more smoothly, we would recommend using a social media planning platform like Later. You can upload your photos/graphics, write the captions, and schedule when you want them to go live. Platforms like this take the stress out of posting, and you can plan as far in advance as you would like.
3. Pay attention to engagement
One common mistake that businesses make when it comes to social media is “posting and ghosting.” This means that they’ll post then immediately exit the app and hope it performs well, or the scheduling app will post but no one will be around to reply to comments or answer questions. Engagement is crucial to growth on social media, and when you’re interacting with your customers online, they’re more likely to keep coming back to your page.
Algorithms on social media (specifically Facebook and Instagram) recognize and reward posts and accounts that have good engagement. When you post something, a good rule of thumb is to give yourself about 20 minutes to stay on the app to reply to comments and direct messages. The algorithms will recognize this as high engagement and show your posts to more people, ultimately boosting reach and growing your following.
Social media can feel overwhelming at first, but just remember that you’re not alone. You know the basics, and you have plenty of time to learn, try new things, and grow. You’ll be an expert in no time!