Creating your Social Media Presence
Where to Start When Creating Your Business Facebook and Twitter Profiles
Getting started with social media can be really daunting. With so many social media platforms available it can be easy to spread yourself too thin, too fast and achieve nothing.
I found a staged approached with the two biggest platforms worked best for me and started out with Facebook and then moved onto Twitter. I had to factor in a learning curve for each of them as well as get my head around what is social media marketing and all the while get on with the rest of running and growing my business.
Here are some tips from my lessons learnt:
Tip 1. Decide what you want from social media marketing
As business owners time is a very precious resource and what you do needs to bring results. So to make sure you maximise your time and resources with your online marketing you need to take a moment to decide on what you want from putting your business on the various social media platforms.
It can be as simple as starting with growing your profile, your branding.
Or it might have four or five goals such as branding, increasing target audience visitors to your website or blog, growing newsletter subscribers, developing customer relationships and positioning yourself as an expert.
What matters is being clear about what you want to achieve. This will keep you on track. If you know what you want to achieve you can measure it and define success. If you don’t know what you want to achieve you can easily get lost in the wilderness.
Tip 2. Creating your own strategy
For any social media platform to work for your business, to deliver results, you need to have a plan. Just posting updates and expecting success will only lead to disappointment.
For me I started out thinking it was all a bit overwhelming and chaotic and my way of dealing with it was to figure out what I want to achieve from my efforts and how to do this.
So I had a hunt around for interviews, stories and seminars on how to make Facebook (where I started) work for me. I then outlined what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. I had a friend help set up the accounts and got posting. I took this initial process as a learning phase that let me get slowly use to the channel and jumped in further once I was comfortable with it.
From there I tried new ideas, tested out techniques I saw others using and refined my strategy. It was a lot easier coming from a strategic position with a plan than just throwing the odd post up.
So when I came to getting going with Twitter I repeated what worked – did my research, planned my messages out ahead and tested things out. What worked got repeated, what didn’t got left behind.
I’m still learning constantly and adapting my plans but I know what my overall strategy is for these two social media platforms and it makes it much easier to keep current with them.
Tip 3. Facebook and Twitter have different audiences
Most people are either Facebook or Twitter fans so as a business you need to be on both platforms so you can broaden your reach.
Of course, not all businesses are suited for both Facebook and Twitter and it will only be through trial and error that you will be able to determine which social media platforms best suit your needs.
When I started getting my head around Twitter this year I tripled my readership – it is that powerful. Twitter is a very simple tool that remains consistent and easy to use. Facebook constantly changes the way things are done and requires more time, attention and investment as a business owner to make it work but it has a larger audience than Twitter.
Tip 4. Have consistent branding across your profiles
Whether you’re starting out with just one social media platform or jumping right in with a bundle of them, plan out what you’re doing and let your audience know where they are with consistent:
- images and logos – people are visual so help them out and keep your profile images the same across the different platforms. People will recognise you more quickly and easily.
- links to your business website or blog – remember that your website or blog is your hub where you bring everyone back to from your social media spokes. So your Facebook and Twitter links bring readers back to your online presence that you control. Be aware that Facebook especially changes often and can even boot you off but the security of having all your content on your own website means that you control what’s most important to your business online.
- the blurb about your business in the about fields – it is really important to have a good explanation about your business in Facebook and Twitter etc written from the point of view of your audience – what’s in it for them to be getting involved with your business? This is not the place to rave about yourself, it’s where you focus on your customer and their needs and wants.
- links to your contact page on website – always give people another avenue for contacting you aside from the social media tool they are on as you will be surprised by the opportunities this opens up for you.
Tip 5. Create the right voice for your business and your audience
Invest in some time to think through how you want your business to be perceived by your target audience. This will determine the voice you use – whether it is professional, relaxed, lazy, text speak or anything in between.
The clearer you communicate; the better your spelling, grammar, syntax, the broader your audience. When you speak/write in industry or cultural jargon the smaller your audience.
If you want to appear as an expert to a small, niche audience then write/speak directly to them in the language they value the most.
If your audience is wide and potentially large then write/speak in a way with the best chance of being understood by them.
Keep in mind that simple mistakes make the business look unprofessional and unable to pay attention to the details. It does come down to the little things. The good news is Facebook, Twitter, HootSuite, Tweetdeck and the like have automatic spell check in them.
Another great way to determine your online voice is to look at what others you respect (and don’t respect) are doing and how they are doing it so you can learn from them.
Having a business means you are constantly learning new skills, strategies, ideas and ways of doing things. For me, it is one of the things I love most about having my own business but it does take time and effort. Giving it priority and planning for this to be part of your week will make it easier.
Social media marketing is here to stay and offers each of us great opportunities to not only grow our businesses but to also expand our own personal horizons. I was initially quite stubborn about Facebook and Twitter but I’m now a big fan. I’ve formed new friendships, learnt a degree’s worth of skills and grown my business through them.
While starting out with a mission and a strategy can make life easier it’s never too late to reassess what you are doing and create your own social media strategy for the next phase.
What makes the difference is starting and consistently doing. Have a look at what you’re doing and what you’re getting from it to see if it is achieving what you want.
What about you?
What have you learnt about starting out with Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms? What has worked for you? Do you have a plan?
Looking forward to hearing your stories.