Social Media for Business - Part One: A Beginner's Guide

Making the decision to launch your business into social media is a big step. So if you’ve decided that it’s finally time, take a moment to assess before jumping straight in. 

There are already thousands of businesses that have had the same idea, and not all of them are doing it right (the results speak for themselves). Having a firm social media strategy is just as important as any other business plan, and will give you the best possible chance of success. 

Over the course of the next week, we'll be sharing with you some useful hints and tips that will help you launch the social media presence for your business. Some of the areas we'll cover will include:

  1. What to include in your social media plan 
  2. Top 'dos and don't dos' for business social media posts
  3. Steps to creating your brand personality for social media
  4. How to grow online relationships and maintain your social media presence 

Let's get started...

Choose your social media platform

A few weeks before your planned launch date, choose which social media platforms you're going to use. Much of this will depend on how seriously your business wishes to take social media over the next few years. It's far better to delay, than to launch on a platform and only post three or four times before forgetting about it.

Create a content strategy

Firstly, you need to decide what you want to achieve with social media. Do you want to educate your audience, increase brand awareness and consumer loyalty or sell products? Have clear goals that reflect this. If you want to gain followers, set a goal of having X new Facebook fans in Y months. Likewise, if you’re looking to convert followers into consumers, identify how many and over what time.

If your main goal is sales, be aware that social media is mostly about keeping people engaged and talking about your brand. Content that is too ‘salesy’ can make followers disengage.

Identify your brand persona

The persona of your brand depends on the audience you are talking to. If you already know who makes up your target market, think about the kind of person they would want to talk to.  According to Real Business, the most effective brand voices sound like a person, so consider creating a ‘persona’ that your audience will find friendly and accessible. 

Essential to this voice is a consistent language style and tone. What kind of language will your followers find engaging? Funny or serious? Formal or colloquial? The linguistic style should reflect your brand’s persona, but it can also be used as a marketing tool. For example, using industry-specific jargon for some brands can make them appear more exclusive and specific to the needs of their audience.

Tone is the underlying impression that your audience receives from your brand, and it’s through this means that you establish credibility. This credibility is, of course, specific to your industry, so make sure that’s the market you’re appealing to. The key is to keep the persona, tone and overall voice of your brand consistent across your social media platforms.

Set your launch date!

Once you have a clear content strategy, a persona for your brand and have registered with your chosen platforms, you are ready to launch your business on social media.

Don't expect immediate results; your brand’s presence will evolve over time, so be sure to continually review your strategy, successes and areas that need improvement. If you find yourself at a loss, it’s always a good idea to re-evaluate your strategy from the beginning, and identify what’s working and what isn’t.

Remember, the biggest mistake you can make is not having a social media presence at all.

In our next blog, we'll be outlining the top 'Dos and Don't Dos' for social media business posts and will help you begin to put together the social media guidelines for your business. 

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