Getting your business started with Social Media | Pulse Digital Marketing

Getting your small business started with social media

Photo: Jason Howie Flickr - CC
Photo: Jason Howie Flickr – CC

It’s 2015, so by now you know you need to use social media for your small business. What isn’t so clear is how to go about it. When that uncertainty comes face to face with all the other responsibilities you have in a day as a small business owner, it’s no wonder it hasn’t made its way to the top of your priority list.

No matter what business you are in, though, you can use today’s digital media tools to connect with your customers and build a community of advocates. Here are the top social networks and a quick rundown on how to get started on each:


Facebook

facebook-dreamstale25Facebook is the world’s largest social networking channel with a full 71% of internet users using the site. Of its users, 70% engage with it daily (Pew Research). Unless your business is an anomaly, you should have a public Facebook page.

More advanced marketing uses of Facebook include the use of Groups and Event listings. Furthermore, Facebook offers an advertising platform with unmatched targeting capabilities. I have been able to serve highly relevant content to clients’ target markets with costs as low as $0.07/click and obtain total daily reach that is 3-4 times as high as daily website page views with minimal budgets as low as $200/month.

The starting point:

  • Build a page and customize the URL
  • Customize your cover photo to reinforce your brand. The cover photo should be 851px x 315px with space left for the built-in buttons and profile photo
  • Customize your profile photo; this will most likely be your company logo
  • Post content that is meaningful to your typical customer. Aim for 1-2 times/day.
  • Add a link to your Facebook page on your website and email newsletter

Content must be interesting, helpful, or inspiring. You are aiming for engagement. Use a combination of created and curated content: links and photos. However, great deals and flash sales can be highlighted; in these instances, do ensure you drive the traffic back to your own website. Purely text-based status updates are rarely engaging.


Twitter

twitter-dreamstale71Twitter is fast-paced and limited in post length, but it’s a powerful little tool. Professionally, Twitter can get you closer than ever to influencers in your industry. It is also the most up-to-date news source on the web today. When something happens in the world, you bet Twitter will light up.

Another great use of Twitter is social listening – finding out what people are saying about you, your industry, your partners and your competitors. Search by hashtag or word, customize search by joining a couple of search terms like “#yyc AND #events” or “recommend AND accountant AND calgary” and find out what’s going on in town or if people are looking for a service you provide.

The starting point:

  • Select a handle – make this as close to your business name as possible
  • Build your profile making sure you include key words in your profile (this is searchable)
  • Customize your cover photo to reinforce your brand. The cover photo should be 1500px x 500px with space left for the profile photo
  • Customize your profile photo; this will most likely be your company logo
  • Post content that is meaningful to your typical customer. Aim for 3-4 times/day
  • Be brief! Cut out unnecessary words; abbreviate if necessary. Include photos and 1-2 relevant hashtags (hint: do some searches to find out what is popular in your industry)
  • Add a link to your Twitter profile on your website and email newsletter

More advanced uses of twitter include creating and following lists as well as advertising in the channel via sponsored posts as part of a complete Inbound Marketing Program.


Instagram

instagram-dreamstale43Instagram is generally less of a lead-generation tool for small businesses because content cannot include hyperlinks. However, it is certainly a great place to engage with your brand advocates and post visual content that makes sense. Lifestyle-oriented consumer products and services do well engaging on Instagram reaching the 28% of internet users on the platform (Pew Research).

The starting point:

  • Select a handle – make this as close to your business name as possible and ideally identical to your Twitter handle
  • Build your profile making sure you include key words in your profile (this is searchable) and make absolutely certain you include your website link – this is the only way people will find your website from your content
  • Customize your profile photo; this will most likely be your company logo
  • Post engaging visual content with a brief commentary 1-2 times per day
  • Include relevant hashtags (up to 30); According to Buffer Social, “Interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags.
  • Add a link to your Instagram on your website and email newsletter

If you are a B2B company or you manufacture plumbing products, Instagram may not be the place for your business. However, if you have loads of time, you can get very creative and still use the channel to your advantage.


Pinterest

pinterest-dreamstale57Pinterest bears a similarity to Instagram in its visual nature, but Pinterest is definitely more complex and has two sides to its content: 1) what you post about you, and 2) what others post about you. Italso has more users than Instagram with 31% of online adults using it as of April 2015 (Pew Research). Any websites with visual content become potential pins. People are using Pinterest as a personal, sortable repository of bookmarked links where they can plan, dream and create. If your business includes anything with visual appeal, you can find value in a Pinterest account.

The starting point:

  • Create your account with a username as close to your business name as possible
  • Build your profile making sure you include key words in your profile (this is searchable)
  • Customize your profile photo; this will most likely be your company logo
  • Decide what boards you will create in advance based on ways you can interact with people. If you are a realtor, you may want a board for your open houses, another for indoor decor ideas, another for outdoor living spaces and another for home-buying related articles
  • Pin as often as you can. You won’t out-pin Pinterest. There is a whole science behind when to pin what, but just start. Aim for 5-30 pins/day but be realistic about your time commitment.
  • Only pins to your own content will wind up directing traffic to your website, so re-pin as much as you want but be sure to include some original content in there as well
  • Add a link to your Instagram on your website and email newsletter

LinkedIn

linkedin-dreamstale45LinkedIn is a professional social network and as a business owner you should definitely have a personal social profile on the platform. LinkedIn is your digital business card, resume and elevator pitch in one. LinkedIn Company pages, however, are best used by B2B companies and service-providers as well as for recruiting purposes and sharing industry-related news.

The starting point:

  • Build your company page using all the fields LinkedIn provides
  • Customize your cover photo to reinforce your brand. The cover photo should be 646px x 220px; note – your banner and profile photo are separate, so you should include branding on this banner image whereas you may not do that on Facebook or Twitter
  • Customize your profile photo; this will most likely be your company logo
  • Post business and industry-related news and information only.
  • Add a link to your Twitter profile on your website and email newsletter

Advanced use of LinkedIn might include sponsored content by position, industry or other criteria, paid recruitment advertising, and the creation of groups.

If you would like help getting started, or if you are beyond the starting point and are looking for a way to enhance your social media presence, increase reach and website traffic, or increase conversions to leads, please request a consultation.

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