3 Tips to Get You Started

Navigating the world of social media for a new business can seem tricky.  There is a constant stream of public mistakes that are made daily by brands trying to further their reputation, but don’t let that scare you. Social media is here to stay, and when you know what you’re doing, it’s a lot easier than it looks.  After all, it’s always better to be in the race than just a spectator.  Here are three tips from some notable social media pros to help you get going.

The Right Tools

The first thing to keep in mind is that just because a social media platform exists, doesn’t mean it is useful to you.  In a guest post for allfacebook.com, Sprout Social marketing VP Andrew Caravella gives the first tip of staying on top of current social networks but refraining from jumping in with both feet right away.  He writes:

“Learn the latest tools, but don’t act impulsively: When you lead the social media charge, you likely keep your finger on the pulse of new and shiny tools. However, there is a big difference between understanding the marketplace and knowing when to leap into the latest platform. To manage expectations — and your time — create a checklist to evaluate new platforms. A brief internal Q&A session, along with a gut check on viability, will weed out the wannabes and reveal the rising networks that matter most.”

Build Your Brand

Once you have your network priorities sorted out, it’s time to start creating a brand for your company.  You may have an offline reputation that precedes your entry into social media, but the real-time nature of the internet will be the determining factor for how you are perceived. Elizabeth Grace Saunders, founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Training, emphasizes this in a Huffington Post article, saying:

“Stick with a theme. Just like the most successful novelists develop a reputation for a certain style and subject matter, you need to establish an online reputation that’s aligned with your brand. If your main [reason] for engaging in social media is professional, you must pick a theme and stick with it.”

She uses Twitter as an example of how consistency is important.

“At first, I would just put up tweets about random articles or thoughts. But after a little bit, I realized it would be much more effective to tweet around a particular topic. This builds my reputation and expert status.”

Be Social

Finally, don’t forget the “social” in social media.  If your business has a Facebook page that does nothing but broadcast advertisements, not many people will pay attention.  It’s much more important to engage customers personally than to get more likes.  If you’re doing it right, those will come naturally. In a Forbes.com article, Jason Rosenthal, CEO at Ning, (a platform for creating social networking Web sites), writes:

 “…Ultimately numbers do not matter. For many online communities, it is preferable to have 100 intensely engaged individuals, who help drive sharing and vibrant conversations, rather than 100,000 ‘likes’ on a particular brand with no one participating in the conversation.”

These are just a few basic building blocks for you business’ online community management.   We hope they help you get started reaping the benefits of having a strong network that gives you direct access to your most engaged customers.  For more information on how effectively utilize social media for your business, check out our blog here.

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