Social media is a true powerhouse. People use social media in their personal lives and smart businesses use social media to drive traffic and build relationships with customers and potential customers. Businesses use social media to help build their brand and establish their authority.
Some people in business are really hesitant to get started with social media even though they know there are so many benefits. It really is the best way to get to know your customers and a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website, your list, or whatever it is you're trying to drive traffic to.
But, people get scared. They get scared if it's something they’ve never done before—which is often the case for small businesses and social media. And, maybe they have a personal Facebook page but can't conceive of how they could possibly use the Facebook platform to drive traffic.
Or, maybe they think it will take forever to build up a great social media campaign so they don't get started or procrastinate and think it’s something they’ll do “someday.” Whatever the reason, it's time to break down the process so it’s not intimidating and you can get started using social media for business as soon as possible.
There Are a Lot of Options When It Comes To Social Media
The first thing to know is that there are many social media sites you can use for business. One of the must important things you can do for your business is to decide where you should put your focus. You shouldn’t be scattered—have a plan.
For some businesses, Instagram or Pinterest are going to be the biggest traffic drivers and the biggest way to engage their audience.
For others, something like Facebook is going to be a much bigger and more important social media site.
How to Choose the Best Social Media Sites for You
If you really focus on the best social media sites for you, it really doesn't have to take that long to set up and manage your social media campaigns. You can drive a lot of traffic and really engage your audience and it doesn't have to take all that long to do.
If you're totally stuck and not sure what you should do or which social media sites you should spend your time on, I'll tell you that most businesses can benefit from being on Facebook. Whether it's starting a Facebook page or Facebook group, it’s really where I’ve seen the most benefit for the biggest variety of businesses.
If you have more of a visual type of business where people want to look at pictures and share pictures and see what's going on in the moment, then something like Instagram might be right for your business. Of course, maybe a combination of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram would be best for you.
Basically, you’ll mix and match based on your business and where your specific audience hangs out the most.
Depending on your audience, something like LinkedIn might be the best way to engage your audience. LinkedIn is particularly fantastic for those in the business-to-business market.
Investigate all the social media sites and how other businesses like yours are using social media to engage their audience. You can probably get some clues by looking at other businesses that are really successful and seeing what they do. Success leaves clues – don't forget that.
Getting Started Using Social Media
Once you’ve figured out which sites are most worth your time, it's time to get started using those sites to drive traffic and get to know your audience.
Take some time to investigate how your audience is engaged on these platforms. If you can do that, then you can figure out your best strategy.
Sign up for the site you're interested in. If you plan to be active on a few sites getting started, sign up for all of those sites and start to learn their ins and outs.
You’ll want to come up with sort of a unifying theme for your social media accounts. You'll want to register your business name, brand, or whatever, across platforms.
Know that you may not be able to fit your entire business name on your Twitter handle – so figure out what you'll do based on the needs of each platform.
You'll want to have consistent banners, graphics, and profile pictures across these platforms as well, as part of your branding.
It's really not that hard to get signed up and started with any of the social media sites. Remember that they are designed for the masses to use so there's nothing tricky about getting started.
Personal Social Media Vs. Business Social Media
It is important to pay attention to how you'll be using individual sites for business purposes. How you use Facebook for personal purposes is different from how you'll use it for business purposes, for example. You won't be using your personal Facebook profile for business – you'll be using groups and/or pages.
Again, Facebook is a great one to get started with. Twitter is something I’ve found to be less useful, but can still be a good way to keep up with your audience. There's also LinkedIn, Tumbler, Pinterest, Instagram, and so many more. Focus on the ones that are most popular with your audience and the ones you think will be most beneficial for right now.
Getting Started Posting
Once you sign up for the most relevant and beneficial social media sites, it's time to get started posting. Don’t be shy about this! It’s easy.
Post a welcome message. Do something or anything to break the ice on your social media accounts. Once you make those first posts, it will be so much easier to keep going.
Find Friends and Followers
Of course, you don't want to post to yourself! You want to have friends and followers to post to.
One of the best ways to get friends and followers is to just let people know that you are now on social media. Tell your current audience. Write your email list and let them know.
Cross-reference your social media accounts. Let people know where to find you.
Start to follow others. If you start to follow others, they will start to follow you. Find relevant and interesting information to post about. If you do that, people will start to share what you're posting and you’ll get more friends and followers that way.
Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Web Properties
Your main purpose or reason for using social media is to drive traffic to your web properties. You want to use social media to build your list, make sales of your products, and engage people in a way that will make them excited about you and your business.
That doesn't mean you should constantly post links to your web properties. No one wants to look at a social media page where someone is constantly trying to make sales or obviously solely trying to use social media for their own gain without a thought or care for the audience. Compare this with your favorite television show. Would you watch it if it was all commercials and no story or entertainment at all?
You really have to focus on building relationships and getting people interested in what you're doing. If you can share really helpful, out of this world content that will go viral, that's all the better.
So, your main focus should be on the content and really building your online audience. You want people to really take notice of you. So, focus on content, benefiting others, building relationships, getting to know others in your audience (including others in business), and creating a social media presence that will benefit you and that you can be proud of.
This doesn’t mean you should never link to your web properties. In your profile, you should certainly have a link to your web site as well as some information about who you are and what you do.
Occasionally, you should tweet a link or post a link to your website or offer. Maybe you've written an interesting blog post you want to share with people. Maybe you are giving away a new freebie offer and using it as a list builder. Those things are fine to post about and get excited about – just don't overdo it.
If you post interesting staff, people are going to want to follow you. They're going to want to seek you out on their own. And they'll be definitely interested when it comes time to post a direct link to your website, freebie offer, or whatever it is.
You can really build up a great following using social media. Just remember that social media is not the be all, end all. In the end, you really want to drive your social media traffic to your list. You want to capture this traffic so you can have it whenever you want it – whether Facebook is around in 10 years or not.
Come up with a Social Media Plan and Implement It
Hopefully, this will help you get started. Hopefully you understand what the real purpose of social media is and how to use it most effectively.
Some people start using social media and just start spamming people. That's no way to gain an audience or get traffic.
It's so important to engage your audience and to treat them right. Do that and people will want to follow you. Use social media to build your list and let them know about the great things you're doing.
You want to appear to be a real person who really cares about your audience when you're using social media.
Figure out which social media sites are going to be most beneficial for you. Get started using them by signing up and branding yourself across the social media sites.
Start posting. Start friending and following others. Really start to build your social media presence a little bit every day.
Social media can take a while to really take off. You have to be patient and you have to be consistent. Even if you spend just a half an hour each day building your social media presence, it can really pay off. Just start using it and using it in the right way.
Just because you're on social media doesn't mean you'll see instant benefits from it. Use it strategically, use it consistently, engage your audience, care about your audience, and make sure you are paying attention to what people of your audience want and need.
You want to stand out from the crowd and make people want to follow you. If you can do that, then social media can be a fantastic way to drive traffic for your business, and maybe you’ll even begin to consider it fun.