For many social media has become the centre of the universe. It’s no wonder then that businesses both large and small are looking to utilise the various social media platforms out there to connect with customers.
But for many small businesses, the ins and outs of social media remain a mystery.
If you own a small business and you’re considering a social media campaign but don’t have a clue where to start, we’ve put together this handy guide to give you a very basic overview of what to expect.
There are plenty of so-called social media ‘rock stars’ out there, but such is the ever-changing nature of the discipline that nobody, nobody, knows everything there is to know. Furthermore, most of what you’ll need to succeed can be learnt on the fly.
Read on to find out how you can get started, beginning with the most obvious question out there…
What is Social Media?
We could serve you a lengthy, dictionary-friendly description of social media but essentially all you need to know is this:
Social media sites are the places that internet users go for fun. Some choose to chat with friends; others play games; most share pictures and video links; and some even share their innermost thoughts.
Social media has become so big that some internet users no longer visit ‘traditional’ websites, instead obtaining all the information they need from within the social media playground.
For businesses of all sizes, infiltrating the world of social media proves to be the most effective way of reaching out to customers.
How Can Social Media Benefit My Company?
There are dozens of ways in which a social media campaign can benefit a small business. Most of these are small (insignificant-to-some) reasons that would easy to skip over. For example, being on Twitter or Facebook demonstrates that your company isn’t living in the Stone Age. Trust us; in today’s climate the last thing you want is to appear to be a relic.
However, there are two major benefits a well-executed campaign can offer.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
First, and perhaps most importantly, it’s vital that you prepare before you embark on your social media voyage.
Many small businesses struggle to get social media to work for them. More often than not this is down to poor preparation and not approaching the campaign with a detailed strategy.
Secondly, an effective social media campaign can take a long time. You need to be prepared for the long haul here. Don’t make the mistake of expecting immediate results. We’re not saying you won’t experience a boost within the first week, but sustained growth takes a lot of hard work.
Speaking of mistakes, there’re plenty of obstacles set to trip you up along the way. You need to identify these before you get started.
Finally, be prepared to adjust your social media campaign regularly to suit the needs of your customers. This means regular, if not constant, analysis will be needed.
There’s still much to learn about social media, but that comes with practice. Now’s the time to get things underway.
Where Do I Get Started?
There is no right and wrong place to start your social media campaign. What works for one small business may not work for another. The important thing here is that you’ve done your research to see what has the best chances of benefiting your company.
That being said, creating your own blog is a good way to start.
A blog can be a window between you and your existing and potential customers. It can also act as a sounding board for both parties.
Your blog should be somewhat informal, although it’s important to retain a professional approach. If you have a website, you can link the two. If not, there’s nothing wrong with publishing a standalone blog.
There are an increasing number of websites popping up offering blog space to those that require it. They even give you the site design. All you need to do is add the content.
Check out WordPress, a current favourite with online bloggers.
Once you’ve started blogging, or if you decide blogging’s not for you, it’s time to visit with some social media giants.
5 Social Media Sites You Need to Know
Nobody says you have to use all, or any, of these sites but a good social media campaign will generally consist of at least two of these.
Get Out There and Give It a Go
There you have it. A basic guide to the world of social media as it relates to small businesses. Now all that’s left is for you to throw your hat in the proverbial ring and see if you can’t lure some of these social media users to your brand.