Social Media for Business: Getting Started with the Basics

By January 29, 2015Social Media

Social media is becoming a more and more popular channel for businesses to connect with their current and potential customers. You are missing out on opportunities to increase customers, improve customer service, and reward brand loyalty, just to name a few…

Some Reasons Why You Should Be Using Social Media for Business

  1. You can connect with your customers where they already are.
  2. Social Media is not a marketing-centric channel, so you can communicate with your customers on a more personal level.
  3. You can get a better understanding of how your messaging is resonating with current and potential customers (they won’t be shy to provide feedback).

Where to Start

There are three primary channels you should always claim even if you don’t have a social media strategy in place: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (if your company produces a lot of video, then add YouTube to the list of necessary profiles to start). Other popular social media channels for businesses include: Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and Vine.

We highly recommend that you setup these channels using a desktop computer. You absolutely can use a mobile device if that’s all you have, but it’s much easier to set these up on a PC than a mobile device.

How to setup a Facebook page for your business:

1. If you have a personal Facebook profile already:

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2. Sign into your personal Facebook account, and locate the “Create Page” option in the left hand side bar of your newsfeed below “Pages”:

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3. Once you’ve selected the appropriate business category Facebook will take you through the process step-by-step to complete setup.

How to setup a Twitter account for your business:

Twitter will be the easiest social media account you setup. Whether you already have a personal Twitter account or not. If you do not have a Twitter account, simply go to www.twitter.com and sign up for an account. Twitter takes you through a very quick process of email confirmation and choosing a user name and then you’re set! If you already have a Twitter account setup but want to create another account using your same email address, find directions here.

How to setup a Google+ page for your business:

Before we get into the specifics of how to setup a Google+ page, I cannot stress enough how important it is to setup this profile correctly the first time. All other social media profiles have pretty straightforward setup processes and if you make a mistake there are easy ways to fix them. This is not the case with Google+.  This is also why you should only reference resources directly from Google when it comes to setting up these pages.

Developing a Social Media Strategy

Once you’ve claimed your social media profiles it’s time to start thinking about how best you can utilize each to have the maximum impact. To get started, you must answer these three questions first:

  1. What are you trying to accomplish with social media?
  2. What resources do you have at your disposal to devote to social media?
  3. How you will measure whether or not your social media efforts are successful?

Once you’ve answered the above three questions you can start to put a plan together that helps you meet the goals you set with your answers.

Developing a Social Media Calendar

Social media calendars are different from content calendars in that it is pretty much impossible to plan out everything you want to post and promote ahead of time. The most successful social media posts are usually timely and relevant to the audience, and so it’s impossible to plan out three weeks in advance a news event that will happen. However, you can still develop a social media calendar without becoming a psychic. Here’s what you do:

  1. Plan out how frequently you will be posting on each of the social media profiles you’re managing.
  2. Figure out what types of content you want to be sharing on social media. What content is your audience going to find interesting and useful?
  3. Document how you’d like the company’s tone/voice to be presented via social media and get sign-offs from management as well as anyone doing the actual social media posting.

Posting on Social Media

A lot of people get nervous when it comes to the actual posting on social media. A quick glance at the latest headlines in social media for business, and it’s not hard to figure out why so many are hesitant to click ‘Post’ or ‘Tweet’. So I wanted to show you both how to post on those three primary social channels, as well as what you can do to make sure you’re posting on the right channel, and you’re posting the right content!

How to Post on Your Facebook Business Page:

1. If you setup the business page through your personal Facebook page, or if you were added (via your personal Facebook page) as an administrator to that page, then you can locate that page in the left hand sidebar of your newsfeed under “Pages”, when signed into your personal Facebook account (highlighted below):

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2. Click on the page you want to post from, then scroll down to the Status box. Once you start typing in a new status buttons will appear below the status box:

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3. Facebook is not set so that you are posting as the business once you land on that page (while signed in of course), you can double check this by clicking the icon in the upper right hand corner of the status box:

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Icons in bottom left corner of status box, from left to right:

  • Recently, Facebook has added a scheduling option for posts (the clock icon). We highly recommend you use this when posting on social media so you can see exactly how your post will be displayed to your audience before you hit ‘Post’. Schedule the post to publish in at least 15 minutes so that you have enough time to review it and make any necessary changes before it goes live.
  • The 2nd icon allows you to add a location. You can choose to enter either a geographical location (like Seattle, WA or an address), or you can start typing in the name of the location and if that location has a Facebook page it will come up as a possible option to select.
  • The 3rd icon is where you can add a photo to the status (you can also do this above the text box where it says Photo/Video). Adding photos can significantly help your content stand out in newsfeeds better.

Once your new status is ready to schedule for posting click the clock icon and schedule a time for it to publish.

To post an offer or an event simply select the “Offer, Event+” option above the text box. Fill out all of the necessary info and schedule to post so that you can review just like other posts.

Because Facebook has started to give non-paid posts from business pages less and less exposure, there is an option to “Boost Post”. Boosting Posts means that you have to pay for that post to stay near the top of your audience’s newsfeeds.

*If you setup a business Facebook page without going through your personal Facebook profile, then the only thing that changes is how you log in (log in using the login info you used to setup the page). All of the other directions are the same.

How to Tweet from Your Business’s Twitter account:

Sign into your account via desktop computer or mobile device, locate this button:

Twitter-tweet-button

And compose a tweet right there. If you’re sharing content elsewhere online, just make sure you’re signed into the correct Twitter and use the social sharing options usually provided by the website the content lives on. HootSuite is another option.

How to Post on Your Google+ Business Page:

1. Once you’re signed into your Google account, if you’re on any Google-related page (google.com, Gmail, Google calendar, etc.), you’ll see a couple of links/icons in the upper right hand corner of the screen:

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2. Click the first icon, the one with your name (or business name, depending on how you setup the page) and plus sign in front of it. You’ll be taken then to a Google+ dashboard, from there hover over the ‘Home’ button on the left hand side and select “Pages” from the dropdown menu:

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3. Click the Manage this Page Button for the business page:

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4. Then enter your new update in the “Share what’s new…” box:

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Click “Share update”, and that’s it!

Content Designed for Your Audience & Social Channel

One thing you’ll want to remember once you start posting on these three social media channels is that while you’re target audience may remain the same, the type of content you share on each of these channels will have to be customized to be appropriate for that channel. For example, say there’s a great article in the New York Times that you want to share with your followers on all three channels.

On Facebook you’ll want to share a link to the article with a sentence in the status bar that entices people to click (ex: “Wow, we had no idea…” or “This is just ridiculous…”).

On Twitter you’ll want to make sure you have a shortened link to the post because you only get 140 characters total per tweet, and you’ll want to make sure you include a hashtag before any important keywords (ex: @nytimes has an awesome new article on #digital #marketing, check it out! ShortURL.com)

On Google+ you’ll want to post a link to the article, and a couple of sentences in the status box either recapping the article or giving your take on it. Make sure that you put a hashtag (#) before any target keywords (ex: From The New York Times: Everything You Need to Know About #Digital #Marketing).

Online Reputation Management (ORM)

Once you start posting and start getting into a rhythm with the types of content you post and the frequency of posting, it’s incredibly important to start thinking about online reputation management (ORM).

A lot of businesses have been avoiding social media because they believe that it opens the door for unwanted criticism and negative comments. Here’s the deal, your customers are going to talk about you. They’re going to talk about you on social media. They’re more likely going to talk about you if they had a bad experience. But guess what? You need to know what your customers are saying about you! You need to hear those negative comments and learn more about their bad experiences so that you can correct those mistakes going forward, and so that you can improve customer retention by showing customers not only that you’re listening but that you care enough to respond. Make sure that you have notifications setup for each of your social profiles so that you get notified whenever some leaves a comment or mentions your brand. Doing this, will allow you to stay on top of the latest comments and respond to them as quickly as possible.

Social Media Isn’t Easy, But It Isn’t Rocket Science

Social media is not going anywhere anytime soon, so to ignore it simply means you’re missing out on opportunities. Don’t be afraid of social media. The only rule we have for social media is: don’t be offensive. That’s it. As long as you’re doing your best to not be offensive to your audience, feel empowered to try new things. Understanding that social media isn’t easy is important, but don’t feel like it’s so complicated that you don’t want to bother with it.

If you have more questions about the basics for social media for business that we didn’t cover in this blog post, please leave them in the comments!

 

 

Zoe Huden

Author Zoe Huden

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