Before you jump into social media, take a moment to understand how your customer uses each platform

Social media is everywhere. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter anymore. You have niche social media sites dedicated to specific audiences and industries as well as custom social media advertising platforms for small businesses.

Where do you start? I suggest learning the keywords and hashtags related to your industry. Focus on your customer’s needs to develop your content strategy. And before you do anything, develop specific goals for your social media activities. It’s all about paying attention to how your customers use social media in order to choose the best social media platforms for your business.

Check Out Social Media

I recommend making a list of the five social media sites that interest you. From your research on your target customer, use the hashtags and keywords, to spy on the conversations to check out how and when your targets use the platforms. Heavy Twitter users and very different from Instagram users. Be sure to notice the culture of the different social sites.  This research will be helpful to you to understand how to build your brand online and develop a marketing message that stands out.

Check out your competitors. Twitter is great to just listening and watching others. What aren’t they doing that you could do? How often do they post?  What keywords and hashtags are the using? What are they doing that you think they shouldn’t? Learn and then get started. Follow and share relevant content to join the conversations. Before you share anything, think about how it will resonate with your target audience?

Set Aside Social Media Time

How much time do you have to devote to social media? The answer to this one question can make your decision easier about which two platforms to pursue.  I find that you need to have at least an hour to 90 minutes a day to invest in social media if you want to have a significant impact.

If you’re short on time (aren’t we all?), You might want to invest in a scheduling platform to share valuable content such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social. Just be careful because you can’t “set it and forget it” in social media, you need to check on your social profiles 2-3 times a day live to make sure you are not missing anything or anyone trying to talk to you about an opportunity.

Play to Your Industry

Are you a fashion retailer or designer? Consider Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. These are highly visual social media websites, so they’ll cater well to your audience.  You can also sell directly from Instagram and Facebook.

Do you depend on word-of-mouth referrals to grow your business? Facebook could be great for your business. It’s all about people sharing their opinions.  And people spend more time on FB than any other platform. Facebook is designed to build community, and you’ll attract like-minded entrepreneurs as well as potential customers who are interested in your valuable relevant content and testimonials.

Start With One

You might identify six social media platforms that seem interesting or tailored to your audience. Do not try them all daily. You don’t have time. Claim your brand on all the sites, then start with one or two to start building an online community. If you are not careful you could spend all day on six different social platforms, and social can only be one part of your marketing strategy. You need to talk to people IRL ( in real life to sell too.)

Learn the Ropes

Become a student of social media. It’s keeps changing so you need to keep your skills sharp. When getting started with social media, the process can feel intimidating. Which hashtags should you use? How often should you post your own content? How can you get more followers?

Don’t let those questions dissuade you from using social media strategically. Instead, use them as an opportunity for growth, and don’t be afraid to invest in a social media consultant to get you set up, train you on a new platform or develop a new strategy.

Branch Out Carefully

When you feel comfortable with one social media platform, start another if you reach domination. You can build a million dollar brand on just one platform. If you discover that you don’t get your desired engagement on a social media platform— move on. Life’s too short to waste time and energy on an activity that brings you neither joy nor entrepreneurial benefits.

I love social media, but I also love my business. I’ll never let the former run over the latter; instead, I use social media to bolster my business.

Want to see me in action? Friend me on Facebook so we can learn from each other, then let me know which social media platform you chose for your business needs.


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