The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Social Media Beginner? 4 Things To Get Started

Are you a social media beginner? I’m assuming the decision has been made that you and your small business will venture out into the social media world. Congratulations! As you step into this new world, there are a few things that need to be taken care of. But, this is not a one-time thing. Social media is ever changing and you must be able to adapt. Put on your walking boots and lets get started.

4 Tips for A Social Media Beginner

1. Define Target Audience

The target audience may already be determined for your business, and that is great. The next question is where is your target audience interacting on social media? Are they mostly on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? This is an important first step. Why talk to people on a platform that doesn’t even reach them?

Target Audience and social networks

Lets take a step back first. Who is your target audience? To get started, write out each general character of your audience by age, gender, hobbies, profession, etc. Based on these people, determine any key marketing messages you want to address to each of them. Some of them will be similar, and some will be different and that is great. Once you have your audience figured out, the next step is finding out what social platforms they use. From here, you can then decide how many platforms you want to get involved with. At the least, start with the most common, and then decide if you want to add one more.

2. Develop a Goal and Strategy

Defining a goal at the beginning is not only important, but will help you stay on track. It also allows for measurements to be made to track results. Make sure your goals are measurable! Once a goal is determined, a strategy to reach this goal will follow. When starting to implement the strategy, start small. The goal won’t be reached overnight, and that is fine. Schaefer (2012) recommends using social media for just 20 minutes a day. Once those 20 minutes doesn’t seem like enough, keep increasing it. It is better for a social media beginner to log on to social media 3-5 times each day for 20 minutes each, than to log on once for 2 hours.

3. Listen

Start listening to what people are saying about your business. Take some time to sit back and watch customers discuss your business. Don’t get discouraged by any negative comments, a social media beginner will learn eventually that it’s just part of doing business online. Instead, use that as fuel to make your image better. I’m sure just after a week of listening, you will have learned what to improve on. Its great to sit back and listen, but engaging with them is also very important. Does this mean respond to every single comment? Not necessarily, but you cannot ignore the negative ones.

Brandwatch has a great list of 15 free social media monitoring tools. Some top ones are:

  • Hootsuite
  • Social Mention
  • Mention
  • Topsy
  • Google Alerts

4. Measure Results

What is the point of all this work if you have no idea if your strategy is working? This is why social media beginners need to learn why goals that are measurable, quantitative or qualitative, are important. There are plenty of tools to measure these goals. Google Analytics is great to determine which social media platforms are generating traffic to your website. There are free tools and some that have monthly or yearly fees. Like everything else, they are constantly changing so keep researching to determine which tool is right for you.

5. Have fun!

Okay, I slipped a 5th step in. Social media is about engaging with others in a genuine, helpful way. Don’t forget to have fun and not make it only about business.

See you out there!

 

References:

Schaefer, M. W. (2012). The Tao of Twitter: Changing your life and business 140 characters at a time. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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Category: Analytics, Social Media Marketing 101, Social Media Marketing 201, Social Media Marketing Integration

4 Responses

  1. Laura H says:

    Great information – especially know your target audience! This is a big mistake small businesses make especially when advertising using venues like YouTube – make sure your ads pop up on a video that your audience will actually see!

  2. Joanna M says:

    You make a great point about listening, social media has opened companies up to engage the customer and respond to positive and negative feedback.

  3. Rosanne S says:

    Hi Bella,
    I think many small businesses rush onto social media networks without taking any proactive steps as you mentioned above. When the small business doesn’t get results they think they should, they blame the network and marketing tactic. Thanks for providing the top 4 steps.
    Rosanne

  4. Desi B says:

    Part of the issue with breaking into social media for small business is the lack of understanding technology and or your own audience. I have worked with a small business on trying to enhance their social media presence, but the lack of commitment and know-how seem to be a constant struggle. Some business owners are very reluctant to change how they have operated their marketing and do not want to plan and then listen to the conversation.

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