Social Media 101: The Why & How
From Facebook to TikTok, social media is all the rage. But you already knew that! It seems that, no matter where you look, you’ll find a multitude of perfectly curated pages that somehow convey a business’s entire essence in just a few glossy pictures or witty paragraphs. While other companies may make it appear effortless, the reality is that a lot of thought goes into each and every social media post. And, with the right strategy and resources, you too can become a social media starlet!
Although there is much to be said about social media, we’re keeping it simple today and just focusing on the basics. Keep on reading the 101 for the 411!
Hey! What’s the Big Idea?
For almost all of Gen Z and most Millennials, an online presence goes hand in hand with a physical one. We now live in an age where a significant portion of our social currency is stored in a digital bank. On an individual basis, some people may choose to opt out of social media, but the same cannot be said for businesses. Why? Well, social media is pretty much the biggest marketing tool you have! Not only is social media a low-cost (often completely free) way to promote your business, it’s also ubiquitous. If you have an eCommerce business, it’s a very smart idea to be on social media too.
So… Where Do I Get Started?
Like any business decision, expanding your presence on social media should be a deliberate and conscious choice. One of the number one mistakes we see business owners making is doing too much, too fast, too soon. We guarantee you won’t need to be on every single social media platform out there, at least not all at once. So, how do you choose?
As a rule of thumb, we recommend starting out with Instagram and Facebook. With 1 and 2.45 billion users respectively, there’s a high probability that the majority of your customers will be on either one of those platforms, possibly even both. Nonetheless, we encourage you to dig a little deeper. For example, if your target demographic is crafty moms, Pinterest is a sound addition. Stay tuned for an upcoming article where we dive deeper into all the different social media platforms out there! For now, focusing on Instagram and Facebook is a great way to begin your journey.
So… How Do I Get Started?
You’ve selected your platform, and you’re ready to rock ’n’ roll. Not so fast! Even though trial and error is expected, you’ll need a general plan of action before you take the plunge. Here are a few things to consider…
Of course, you’ll want to post about your business. But what kind of posts are best for your business? The most effective way to market is to provide content that is helpful or informative first and promotional second. You’ll want to catch your audience’s attention with something enjoyable and captivating, even if it’s not directly about your business. Bombarding everyone’s feed with posts that are too technical or uninspired in nature is a surefire way to get people to hit “unfollow.” For a little bit of fun, here are some suggestions:
- Collaborations with influencers or other brands
- Contests or giveaways
- Cool facts related to your product or industry
- Polls or surveys
- Brainteasers or other interactive games
- Relatable posts that ask your audience to tag a friend
- Sneak peeks into your company’s culture
As a bonus, most of these methods serve as a way to engage followers and build brand awareness. More on engagement in a bit!
When it comes to timing posts, there are no hard and fast rules. But, if there were a breakdown of the optimal amount of posts per day for each platform, it would go something like this:
- Twitter: As many times as you want! If you like to talk, this is the platform for you. But, remember, spam is never OK. The digital or the canned pork kind.
- Instagram: There are two kinds of posts you can make on Instagram. The first is just a regular post to your feed, and the second is a post on your Instagram story. When it comes to your feed, it’s recommended to post no more than three times a day, however this can vary (as you’ll see in the next paragraph). For stories, multiple a day is fine. Think of stories as if they were Tweets in visual form.
- Facebook: Facebook is a little less conversational than Twitter or Instagram, so posting once or twice a day is usually the way to go. Again, this can vary.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the most formal out of all these platforms. You want your posts to be more deliberate, so posting once a day is your best bet.
Of course, there are anomalies. For example, Fashion Nova, the fast fashion titan, posts up to 30 times a day. If that seems excessive, consider the position they’re in. They are immensely popular, have an extensive catalog, and use their customers’ Fashion Nova outfits to both promote their brand and strengthen customer loyalty. Clearly, they’ve found a winning formula, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your own brand.
Once you’ve found your social groove, it’s crucial to stay consistent. When your audience knows what to expect from you, it creates a sense of trust and predictability that will serve as a foundation for your company. Additionally, social media has an inherently short attention span. Being inactive for a few days or even a week can be detrimental, especially in the beginning while your business is still trying to establish itself.
It’s called social media, so be social! This is one of the most fun and fulfilling parts of having a social presence, but too often it goes unnoticed. Don’t be afraid of your audience, embrace your audience! Like and reply to comments, follow back, and ask for feedback every step of the way. When your customers feel included and valued, they’re more likely to support your business and remain loyal to your brand. Being diligent with your engagement merges marketing with customer service, creating a winning combination. So, turn those notifications on and be on the lookout for any dings or pop-ups!
Love it or hate it, social media is an invaluable tool which is here to stay. We encourage all businesses to give it a try and find out what works best for them. It may take some trial and error, but we assure you that the end result will be worth it.