Social media can seem like an intimidating world, especially for business owners who are used to more traditional forms of marketing *cough cough* Yellow Pages and billboards.
But fear not. With a little guidance, you, too, can navigate the organic social media landscape like a pro in no time. Well, not as pro as us, but close enough. So sit down and strap in for a lesson in social media for beginners.
Social media is pretty much a non-negotiable for businesses these days, and, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know it is a must-have tool in your digital marketing. According to a recent study, over 3.96 billion people use social media worldwide – that’s a lot of potential customers!
Now we’re not saying you will have 3.96 billion people throwing money at your services, but you can definitely expand your reach to a larger audience than you would through just traditional forms of advertising. Want to get in on the action? Check out our easy 5-step guide to social media for beginners below.
We should preface this blog by saying there are two different types of social media marketing: paid and organic. Paid social media refers to ads, boosted or sponsored content – essentially anything you post where you’ve put money behind it to help it reach more people. But when starting out, and for the purpose of this blog, organic social media should be the focus. Organic just means social media posting that you don’t pay the social media platforms for.
So, now that’s out of the way, let’s get into it.
Step 1: Choose Your Platforms
The first thing you need to do is choose which social media platforms you want to use. There are many different platforms out there, but you don’t need to use them all. Think about your target audience and which platforms they are most likely to use. For example, if you’re targeting an older demographic, Facebook might be your best bet. If you’re targeting a younger audience, Instagram may be best.
But you also need to consider the kind of content you want to post. For videos, YouTube, Tik Tok and Instagram are great. If you’re wanting to post job opportunities, blogs or articles, LinkedIn and Facebook are ideal. For more international audiences, Twitter is a must. So before you go and sign up for every social platform under the sun, think about who your audience is and what you intend on posting. Remember, you can always create accounts later on.
Step 2: Set Up Your Profiles
In nutshell, you’ll need:
- A profile picture (generally your company logo)
- A cover photo (team image or well-selected stock photo)
- A bio/about (detailing your brand purpose, services and USPs)
- A link to your website and other social accounts (so people can find your business elsewhere online)
- Accurate location, opening hours and contact information (so people can find your business and contact you)
All of these elements need to be consistent with your branding, so we cannot stress the importance of using professionally designed images that are clear.
Oh, and for the love of all that is holy, make sure your personal account is not linked with your business accounts; have a PROFESSIONAL personal account that links with the business. Customers want to know about your services, not see a picture of you from a costume party in the 90s or get updates about your kids graduating school.
While creating a personal social media account isn’t difficult, creating a social media account for a business involves a little more work and, if set up incorrectly, can cause a lot of problems, so it’s best to have an expert do it. You’ll need your business profile to be able to integrate with scheduling tools and to be able to cross-post in order to provide the best results and accurately measure metrics.
Step 3: Create Your Content
Next up, it’s time to start posting content. But what should you post? Here’s a little secret: social media is all about storytelling. Your content should tell the story of your brand and connect with your audience on an emotional level. This can be done through photos, blogs, articles, videos and well-crafted captions and hashtags.
But don’t just post anything and everything. Make sure your content is high-quality and relevant to your brand. Remember that your brand voice should be reflected in your social media posts, and please, PLEASE proofread your captions. Nothing screams unprofessional like a typo in your Instagram caption.
Step 4: Schedule Posts
When it comes to posting, there is no ‘one-time-fits-all’. Depending on your audience and industry, optimal posting times will differ. This is where scheduling tools, like SEMrush, come in handy. The tool analyses your posts and competitors to suggest the best day and time to post to receive optimal engagement. Nifty, right?!
Scheduling is also important to maintain consistency. Working out the exact amount of posts to publish each week is a bit of an art form that requires analysing data over time, but as a rule of thumb, if you’re just starting out, aim for between 2 and 4 posts per week.
Step 5: Community Management
Unlike traditional marketing, social media is not a one-way street. You need to engage with your audience in order to build a relationship with them. This means following other profiles, responding to comments and messages in a timely manner, liking and commenting on other people’s posts, and even sharing user-generated content.
Top tip: NEVER BUY FOLLOWERS. This might seem like a quick way to make your profiles seem impressive, but it’s not worth it. Not only is it unethical, but it can also harm your brand’s reputation. Just focus on creating high-quality content and engaging with your audience authentically.
We know social media for beginners can seem overwhelming, so if the idea of setting up your social media profiles and trying to keep up with the trends is a bit too scary, 80/20 Digital’s social media specialists are here to save the day. Call us on 03 9042 0714 or explore our social media marketing packages.
80/20 Digital's Content & SEO Specialist, Abbey Faulkner is dedicated to staying on top of industry trends and putting her creativity to good use for her clients. She combines her expertise in media and writing to boost rankings, improve brand awareness, increase engagement and generate leads across clients' websites, email marketing and social media.