This is an excellent question and one that should be considered by any business owner before you start creating your social profiles. Some business owners may decide that of course they need to be on social media, and start setting up Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat before they consider some important questions. So let’s talk about what you need to consider before you start setting up those accounts.
Are your customers using it?
The purpose of a business having a social media account is to interact with their customers, drive more traffic to their website or store, and to create a brand that people remember. If your typical customer doesn’t use Facebook, then guess what? You don’t need to be on Facebook. You only need to be on the social media channels where your customers exist.
If your average customer is over age 50, then probably Snapchat isn’t somewhere you need to be. But if your customers are Millennials, then you might want to consider Snapchat.
You may say, “everyone is my customer!” And that is usually just not true. While you may be happy to work with, service, or sell to anyone, and I applaud that, there is probably a demographic that is more likely to buy from you. Think about your ideal customer. That’s probably the demographic you are looking to target.
Just because you know who your ideal customer is, it doesn’t mean you can’t work with anyone. It just helps you market more efficiently.
Want to know the demographics behind the various social media channels and who is using them? Check out this article from SproutSocial that covers that topic in depth.
Will you be active on it?
While knowing if your customers are using any particular platform is probably the most important part of business social media plans, the next question is this: will you actually use it?
Let me be pretty clear about this… creating a social media account and never using it will reap you exactly ZERO benefits. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve click on a social media icon to find that there’s a Twitter account with zero posts.
The keyword in social media is social. You have to be social. You have to engage. You have to post, you have to respond, you have to be there.
Do not create a social media profile that you don’t intend to use.
Alternately, if you want to be on social media for business but know you won’t be able to manage it, you can hire a social media consultant to take care of it for you. There are tons of companies that can take care of everything from creating new content, posting, liking, tweeting, and engaging on your behalf.
When it comes to social media, you only get out what you put in. If you create an account or do nothing, or post one tweet and never come back, that’s about as good as a response as you can expect to get from your customers. On the other hand, if you work at it, engage with your customers, share content that is relevant and useful, then you will see results from those efforts.
But of course, it won’t happen overnight. One day of tweeting isn’t going to win you any customers. You have to consistently engage with your customers in a real way.
So you’ve answered my two big questions and you’re ready to set up your first social media profile. What do you need to know? Here are some of my most asked questions when it comes to social media for business.
Do you need to use the same social handle on all social media accounts?
Yes. It’s important to keep a consistent brand across all channels. If you are using more than one social media, then you need to keep a consistent name and brand across all platforms. That includes username, profile name, and profile image. If I see your business on Twitter, I should recognize it immediately. And unless your face is what represents your business (hello Colonel Sanders), then you should be using your logo for your social profiles. This makes sure your brand i
What kind of content should I share?
The best content comes from your customers. What are they asking you? What are your frequently asked questions? The best content to share is content that’s helpful to someone.
Think about the questions you get asked on a regular basis. That’s content that is ripe for sharing. You might say, “I don’t want to give everyone the answers, I want them to hire me for the answers.”
I’m not telling you to post your trade secrets on Facebook, but you will never go wrong with sharing your knowledge with your audience. Almost everyone knows how to clean a toilet, but house cleaners remain in high demand. Most people know how to mow the lawn, but lawn services still exist.
Answering questions shows you are knowledgable, credible, and trustworthy. Don’t be afraid to share what you know with your customers.
How often should I post?
That depends on a lot of factors. What platform are you using? Who is your customer? And what type of content are you sharing?
A good rule of thumb for most social media is to share content with your audience once per day. However, that doesn’t mean that you login and post one thing, then put your phone down and never login again. That’s just one original post per day.
You still have to engage with your audience. What are they talking about? What’s trending? Is there a topic in the news? Find relevant posts and retweet, like, and share. The biggest reaction you’ll get from social media comes from your engagement. Respond to something that someone else wrote. Be thoughtful. Be kind.
Should I use hashtags?
Yes. When it comes to social media, hashtags will bring more engagement to your posts, but only if you use them right. Instagram is the most important place for hashtag use, with hashtags on Facebook being much less useful. Twitter is somewhere in between.
Stop making up hashtags unless you know it’s going to start trending. If you hashtag a phrase that nobody is looking for, then that will bring exactly zero people to your post. You have to know what hashtags people are using, what keywords are trending in order for a hashtag to be useful.
A hashtag is simply a way to group similar content. For example, if I want to see what everyone is posting about the topic of web design, I might use #webdesign on my post. And if you look up that hashtag on Twitter, there are posts using it, so it’s a useful hashtag.
(And no, adding hashtags to content on your website won’t do anything for you. Keep them for social media only.)
Got social media questions? Post them in the comments and I’ll respond with answers!
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