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Start-Ups

Social Media for Small Business, Part 2: 5 Tips for Getting Started on Social Media

By Townes Haas   |    May 14, 2014   |    5:24 PM

So, you’re ready to begin using social media for your small business. Here’s a simple guide to getting started.

There’s tons of information online about using social media to boost your small business. You can certainly get very in-depth with social media marketing, but if you’re just starting out, give these 5 simple steps a try.

1. Pick two social media sites to start with

Trying to be active on all of the major social media sites is a recipe for failure… and social media burnout. Start by reviewing this study from Pew to see where your customers are hanging out.

Begin by setting up a page for your business on Facebook (since most adults have a Facebook account), and then choose one other site that you feel comfortable with. You’ll probably find that your customers spend a lot of their time on one platform. Remember, you can always set up more accounts later.

2. Spend some time researching

Now that you have your accounts, you need to figure out how to get the most out of them. Figure out the best time to post on different platforms and spend some time familiarizing yourself with the type of content that’s best for each platform. For example, Twitter favors short and sweet plus images, or Twitpics.

3. You need a plan

You know that old cliché “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”? It’s annoyingly true in life, business, and yes, even your social media marketing. Now that you’ve decided which platforms you’re going to use, create a content plan.

When are you going to post? What types of things are you going to share? Aim to be relevant and helpful to your audience by sharing interesting articles or helpful tips related to your business, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Decide how much time you’re willing to spend on social media each week and create a gameplan.

4. Sign up for some helpful social media tools that will make your life easier

There are more social media tools than there are social media platforms, but the good news is that you only need to choose one or two to get started. Again, the key here is to fight the urge to do it all.

Buffer and HootSuite are two popular tools that allow you to schedule content and share posts across several different social media sites. Buffer is great for scheduling posts, and HootSuite is simply fantastic all around, because you can schedule content and manage social media campaigns across several different platforms.

5. Access the success of your social media efforts

Sometimes it’s difficult to quantify whether or not your social media efforts are effective, because social media is all about building relationships and trust. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out the numbers.

Start off with the metrics of your Facebook page, where you can see how many people your posts reached and how engaged your audience is. Social Media Examiner details 6 metrics you should be paying attention to, for starters.

Tools like HootSuite can even help you create reports that measure engagement on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.

Don’t be afraid to switch things up if you aren’t seeing results

Of course you aren’t going to see results right away, but if you don’t feel like your current efforts are working, there’s nothing wrong with changing your strategy.