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Newsfeeds, Hashtags and Likes, Oh My! How to Get Started in Social Media Strategically

It can be a chore to figure out how best to utilize social media platforms. And as your social media presence grows, that chore can turn into a serious drain on your time and effort if you don’t currently have a strong strategy in place. If you’re one of the many small business owners who are new to social media, getting started can be a challenge. There is no formal education for learning these new tools and academic learning never prepared us for this type of guerrilla marketing.

So what’s a sensible way to get started with social media? Here are 6 tips you can use to jump-start your year and get your feet wet with social media.

TIP 1: Think about what you want to invest into Social Media.

Yes, social media may be a new tool and channel for reaching customers, but the business world still operates on the premise that your efforts should, in one way or another, grow your business. How much you invest and how much you spend on social media are important factors to consider when thinking about how large a role social media will play in your business operations. For most businesses, this means considering:

  • Is your business in an industry where clientele regularly use social media to obtain information on it?

  • Will an investment in social media yield a meaningful return?

  • Can your business afford to invest in social media? In other words, will your investment be profitable? Will the sales generated by your social media campaign exceed the amount spent on the campaign?

TIP 2: Don’t start what you can’t finish.

Or at the very least, try to! If you want to truly benefit from your social media campaign, sustainability is key. Before you start using every social media platform available on the web, keep in mind that you will need to keep these accounts up to date so each additional account will require a commitment. Try to be selective when choosing the social media platforms you wish to employ. If you want to play it safe, consider starting with two sites first.

You can start by setting up a Facebook account and then select a second social media networking platform based on the best fit for your business and the objectives of your social media plan. For instance, if you are a photographer, you may want to set up an Instagram page so customers can check out your portfolio. As your campaign becomes successful, or you start to sort out which platforms yield the best results, you can then add more to your social media presence.

Small business owners should remember that it’s not unheard of for customers to look up a company on a social media network or to find a social media site using Google. If you start by setting up too many social media sites, you run the risk of not keeping the sites up to date and customers may perceive your business as being outdated or less successful.

TIP 3: Look before you leap.

For most businesses, your social media budget should correlate with the expected ROI. If you’re not familiar with social media, don’t start by allocating large portions of your budget to implement a social media plan, especially if you don’t understand the plan, what you’re paying for or how much ROI you can expect from each dollar spent. As I mentioned in TIP 2, start small and reassess in the future to make necessary adjustments. This can be difficult to do if your expecting a return that isn’t financial. If this is the case for your business, try to set a goal at the start of the project so you have a benchmark to which you can refer to assess the campaign’s success.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/


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