Social Media 101: How to build a social media presence for your business from scratch

Lucy Somers

PLMR's Digital Marketing Executive Lucy Somers on how your business can build a social media presence from scratch

Launching a social media channel seems so simple. Create accounts across all the main platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram – send the odd tweet or post, and away you go! Well… not quite.

It’s easy to set up numerous profiles, but building brand-awareness and harnessing a following in your sector can be very difficult. Larger brands continue to have an oversized presence on many social media platforms (evidence if it was ever needed that social media dominance is a modern marketing essential) but how did they achieve this? How can your company start to receive similar results?

Don’t rush

The key is to plan before you build. It’s important that you don’t rush setting up any pages or accounts. Instead, sit down and plan what you want to achieve from using social media. It’s best to start small, especially if you aren’t familiar with the intricacies of each platform you are using. Every network is different, and it can take a while to adjust to the myriad of features available. Don’t be afraid to watch a few tutorials on YouTube before diving in, this will help you get to grips with the platform. Make sure to take everything at your own pace.

Which platform is right for your business?

 With each platform, comes a very different audience. Varying demographics of users congregate around each of the major platforms so you need to assess which should be the priority for your target market before you begin.

LinkedIn’s purpose is clear – the platform is tailor-made for the business community. This makes it perfect for posting job vacancies and sharing B2B content.

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform for users who enjoy conversing about a specific topic or sharing their views more generally. Twitter is a great place to share quick pieces of information without needless formality. People are normally scrolling through their timelines quickly on their commute or coffee break, so it takes more than just a few lines of text to stop these users in their tracks. Try photos, quotes or polls to catch people’s eye!

If you’re looking to build a community around your product or service, then Facebook is still the place to be. Say you’re a local business, keen to engage with the wider community – Facebook allow you to target these users with in-timeline adverts, invite them to local events and even message you directly for help or assistance. With over a billion active users world-wide Facebook is still a “must-have” for the majority of businesses trading in 2018.

Instagram is primarily a photo and video sharing service, but it’s also a playground for brands wanting to make a splash. Instagram continues to grow in popularity, and those brands that have a strong visual or artistic element to their work can see real results from the platform.

Time to get organised

Once you have decided on which accounts are most appropriate for your business, and are familiar with how they work, it’s time to get organised. It’s important that you keep on top of all the content you want to post, and the easiest way to do this is to create a weekly/monthly content plan. Create a simple spreadsheet that you can upload onto a shared drive so anyone can see or edit the plan as events develop. This will not only help you map out when you’ll be posting, but it gives you the assurance that regular messaging is always being sent to your followers – even when you have little to announce.

Free social media management systems are a great way to keep on top of your schedule. Hootsuite (for all platforms) and Tweet Deck (only for Twitter) let you schedule posts ahead of time and share the same messages across multiple platforms with ease. Make sure to set out time throughout the day to engage with users who have interacted with your content. Try responding in the morning, at lunchtime and before you go home as these are some of the most active times on the majority of platforms.

In the end, there is no quick shortcut to a better online presence. As with so many things, the more time and effort you invest in your digital strategy, the more confident you will become in the platforms you are using and, ultimately, the greater the value you will derive for your business.

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