You’re on Facebook and LinkedIn, your kids are on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and just about every social media network out there. Social media is great for staying in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
But social media isn’t limited to personal communication anymore. It has become a powerful marketing tool. More and more businesses are using social media to help increase their brand’s reach, increase sales and expand their professional networks.
Regardless of what type of business you own, or whether you’re an artist, a handyman or a baker, you can benefit from starting up a social media strategy. It doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming, and it can actually be a lot of fun when you follow these simple tips.
- Start small. Your business doesn’t need to be on every single social media network that your kids are on. Choose the one or two that make the most sense for your business. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you may want to choose Facebook and Pinterest so you can post photos of different exercises and post-workout meal ideas. Create business accounts on the social network or networks you’ve decided to start with. Be sure to add all of the important details about your business as well as your logo.
- Set a schedule. Decide how often you’re going to post. It doesn’t have to be daily but at least once every week is ideal. It’s easy to get caught up in your work and forget to post so it’s a good idea to set up a reminder in your calendar. For example, if you plan to post every Tuesday and Thursday, put a recurring appointment in your calendar on those days.
- Find content. Figuring out what you’re going to post can be scary and daunting, but it’s easier than you think. There’s so much content available on the Internet that you can share with your social networks. You don’t have to come up with something new every single time. Find news, photos, videos, blog posts, funny cartoons and inspirational quotes that are relevant to your industry and post them.
- Create content. Your smartphone is a great source of content. You can easily snap photos at events, of your products, or while you’re working with clients and post them to your social networks. These kinds of posts show that you’re active and involved and give your audience a more personal perspective of your business. If you have your own website and/or blog, link to specific pages or posts.
- Use hashtags. Many (but not all) social networks use hashtags. If you’ve chosen a social network that uses hashtags, take advantage of that. They help get your posts seen by a larger audience. For example, if you’re posting about a home renovation that you just completed for a client, use hashtags like #home and #renovation. That way, when people search for either of those terms, your post will be more likely to show up.
Be consistent with these easy steps and before you know it, you’ll have a thriving social community and a thriving business. The hardest part about social media is getting started, but it’s a worthwhile leap to take – you’ll know it when the follows, fans, likes and customers start rolling in!
Follow Julie Ford on Twitter @_julieford.