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Using Social Media for Business: Get Started in 9 Easy Steps

Stop thinking about what social media can do for your business and start using it. Today. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started.

1 – Figure out what you’re going to offer or add to the conversation

Say your business is making artisanal cheese. Social media curmudgeons might huff, “Why bother? Who would want to be ‘friends’ with a log of cheese?”. It’s your job to answer that question before you leap into social media marketing. Figure out what you have to offer to customers or clients. For retailers, the easy answer is discounts, secret sales, loyalty programs, etc. But think bigger. How about specialized content (seasonal cheese recipes, anyone?) or useful tips via your Twitter feed. You don’t need to solve everything at once, and new ideas will flourish once you get the ball rolling, but figure out how you’re going to provide real value to your audience before you start.

2 – Pick your tools

The sheer number of social media tools out there is daunting—especially when you’re just getting started. Concentrate on building a presence on the channels that give you the most bang for your buck. Our Social Media Pyramid will guide you to the tools that are most essential, and easiest to start using. Depending on your line of business, you may also need to supplement your basic social media presence with tools that are important to your industry. (If you’re a hotel, get thee to TripAdvisor and Yelp. Pronto.)

3 – Create your accounts

Save time by having all the assets you’ll need to create your social media accounts at-the-ready. At a minimum, you’ll need to have a scaled or cropped image for your avatar, a brief description for your “About Me” summary, and a URL to link to (this could be your website’s homepage, or—better yet—a landing page).

4 – Stop, look & listen

Before you start engaging with the community, you need to get a feel for the tenor and tone of the conversation that goes on there. Lurk around for a while and see how other businesses are leveraging the channel to attract and serve customers. If you spot another business that seems to have a particularly effective social media strategy, don’t be afraid to steal the best techniques.

5 – Join the conversation

OK, at long last, you’re ready to start engaging with the social media universe. Remember, you’re becoming part of a conversation, not a monologue. Ask questions of your followers, comment on others’ activities, and add value to the mix (see Step 1). Nothing will turn off your audience faster than a steady stream of self-promotion and PR mumbo-jumbo.

6 – Contribute regularly

Once you get the ball rolling, you’ve got to keep up the momentum. You need to plan ahead, figure out how much effort you’re going to spend on social media marketing, and budget your time accordingly. Don’t worry; it’s not as time-consuming as you might think. In fact, we recommend that most small businesses spend only 90 minutes to 2 hours per week on social media. Check out the Social Media Pyramid for more on our “recommended weekly allowance” of social media engagement.

7 – Track your results

Check in on a regular basis to see how well your social media efforts are working. At a minimum, track the number of followers you have on each of your social media channels, and monitor their level of engagement (i.e., how often they respond or take action on something you post). If you have Google Analytics or another tracking program set up on your website, check how many visits you’re getting from referring social media sites—in other words, figure out how many people are coming to your site from Facebook, Twitter, etc. Analytics can be a tricky business (not to mention a time-suck). PowerUp Social can help you with a customized plan to track your social media return. Contact us for more information.

8 – Fine tune your social media strategy

The longer you spend on social media for your business, the more you’ll recognize what works and what doesn’t for your audience. Weed out the channels and techniques that are aren’t yielding results and concentrate on maximizing the value of the most fruitful channels. But don’t fall into a rut. Stay open to trying new techniques. Check out PowerUp Social’s daily tips & tricks whenever you need inspiration.

9 – Join PowerUp Social

Social media is a lot like exercise—you’ve got to make a regular commitment to it in order to see results. Consider PowerUp Social your personal trainer. We’re here to keep you motivated, share techniques that work, and stay on track. No excuses! Join PowerUp Social today & start seeing results.