7 Essential Steps to Get Started on Social Media

When was the last time you were advised to “start getting serious about social media?” Or someone asked, “I know you guys are B2B, but why don’t you use Facebook? It’s awesome!” Probably not that long ago, right?

You’ve probably heard people say things like, “Did you know that at least 75% of B2B buyers use social media to support their purchase decisions? Why aren’t you using it yet?” and in the same breath, “I heard that Twitter is dead – not sure if we’re going to keep on using it.”

If you’re new to using social media for your business, it can be incredibly confusing. It can even turn frustrating when you’re advised to do one thing by one agency and something completely different by another.

Fear not, getting started on social media doesn’t have to be a complicated process. The key is start small by learning to walk before you can run. Simplifying how your business uses social media is the best thing you can do today.

Get Started on Social Media with these 7 Essential Steps

For each of these tips, we’ve added an action point that you can take right now. Even the smallest action today can lead to consistent progress in the future. It’s never too late to get started!

So, let’s dive into our 5 essential steps to get started on social media:

1. Decide what you need (or want) to gain from using social media

Think back to the opening lines of this article. Are you just saying you need to use social media because the keynote speaker at an event told you that “you’re mad not to use it?” Or do you actually have a goal in mind?

In his article on the importance of social media goal-setting, Alfred Lua, User Acquisition at Buffer, said that “a key part of social media success is knowing which goals and targets to set for your team. Without goals, it’s hard to know exactly how well your social media strategy is performing and where you need to iterate to continue moving forwards.”

If you’re business sin’t already on social media, the first thing you need to do is figure out why you should be. Even if you are using it, you may not have done this, so there’s no time like the present.

What can you do today?

Write down a list of anything your business needs to improve on. Here are some ideas you can use:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate new leads
  • Increase revenue
  • Build a community

Once you’ve done this, select one goal that you think social media can help with. You can check out Alfred’s article above for some guidance on this too.

2. Select a channel and focus on it

According to Neil Patel, Founder of QuickSprout, one of the biggest mistakes that a company can make is to launch accounts on multiple social media platforms.

“Jumping in head first and attempting to manage, say, four or five different channels can be overwhelming, and you’re unlikely to kill it at any strategy… Working on too many marketing channels at once is kind of like being a jack of all trades and master of none.”

You’ll likely spread yourself too thin, even if you’re using a social media management tool like Buffer, or Hootsuite. Tools are helpful for pushing out content. But you still need to invest the time to interact with your audience, which we’ll cover in more detail later on.

Another downside to pushing content across multiple social channels is that you’ll risk repetition, which can be boring for users following your company accounts. The last thing you want your marketing efforts to come across as is “boring.”

Moreover, each social media platform has its unique characteristic. For example, Instagram is more image and graphics oriented. YouTube is a video platform where people search for entertaining videos as well as “how-to” educational type videos. LinkedIn is a more professional networking platform.

A one-size-fits-all message across all the platforms won’t work. Your posts need to be tailored to fit what the audience on that platform is accustomed to.

What can you do today?

Write down some key characteristics of your target audience – you may have already done an extensive audience analysis or created buyer personas. Which social networking sites are they using? Decide which platform you should dedicate your focus towards based on this information and your objective (point 1). Then create a social media account.

3. Check what other companies in your industry are doing

One great way to find out what types of social content you should post is to research what your competitors are doing. As Andrew Pressault from Hootsuite suggests“There’s a lot to learn from your competition—from what they’re doing well to what they’re not and everything in-between.”

Andrew recommends a few tools in his article, and there’s no shortage available to help you assess what your competition are using social media for. Try BuzzsumoBrandwatch or Mention. Ultimately, the most effective way to gauge what a brand is doing well is to follow them and watch for their marketing strategy.

What can you do today?

This one is easy! Write down your top five competitors and follow them (if you haven’t already) on the social channel that you think you’ll use to promote your business. They’re likely on Facebook or Twitter. Are they posting particular types of content? Do they seem to spend time interacting with their audience? Are they sharing insights and comments from posts by fans? Learn from their social media presence.

4. Plan how often you’re going to post content

There comes a point when you simply need to start posting some content. That time is now! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and think that posting 10 tweets every hour is a wise approach. Start off with a basic posting schedule, or content calendar, for your desired social media channel.

Share an article, or post some tips for your followers. twice a week on LinkedIn might be more than enough to get started.

What can you do today?

Pick a day, a time, and set a reminder on your phone/calendar for when you’re going to post content on your social media sites.

Don’t worry about editorial social media calendars or management platforms at the early stages. For now, it’s important that you spend some time posting on social media. Practice using the platform as a business, and get familiar with the tone, language, and thoughts of your followers.

Oh, and as a bonus tip, write down topics that you think you might like to post about over the coming weeks. Do this in a notepad or somewhere easily accessible so you can add to the list over time. If you decide to engage an agency to help with content development, share this list with them! 

5. Dedicate time to interacting with your audience

Social media gives you and your business a chance to build relationships with people all over the world. Subject-matter expert Gary Vaynerchuk, who is followed by millions of people, had this to say about Twitter in particular:

“Twitter is still a marketer’s dream come true because it allows you to initiate a relationship with your customer… At any time, you can use Twitter’s search engine to find people who are talking about topics related to your business, even if only tangentially.”

Now that you’ve started posting some content on social media you can’t ignore it and expect magic to happen overnight. Small businesses benefit from social media marketing because they can communicate directly with followers and customers.

Social media isn’t a broadcasting platform. You have to get good at leveraging the interest in your content to interact with people, build relationships, and find out how your business can help them even further. Over time, they will be ready to buy your products and services.

What else can you do today?

Search for five hashtags relating to your industry or five people’s social accounts who follow your company. Browse through their most recent posts and if you have something to add to the conversation reply to them and like their post.

6. Measure the results of your marketing efforts

Recall that at the beginning of this article, we discussed the importance of having a goal. Now it’s time to measure the progress towards those goals you’ve set. By tracking and measuring, you’ll know what is working and what needs improvement.

What can you do today?

Circle back to your goals and compare them against your metrics. You can get them by going to the insights provided on the platforms’ backend, Google Analytics, or other social media analytics tools.

Here are some metrics you can look at based on the goals you’ve set.

Increase brand awareness
  • Reach of your social media posts each day, week or month
  • Mentions and shares – This is an important metric because they are helping you spread your message
Drive traffic to your website
  • Traffic that’s coming from social media
  • Which posts generated the most traffic
  • Bounce rate on traffic originating from social media to measure the quality of the traffic
Generate new leads
  • Number of leads collected
  • Number of email addresses that bounced
Grow revenue
  • Revenue attributed to social media channel
  • Note: This metric is useful only if your business has a short buying cycle
Build a community
  • Number of followers
  • Number of group members

7. Be Consistent with Your Social Media Marketing

When it comes to any social media platform, consistency beats intensity. It’s much better to post once a week consistently, rather than posting daily for 30 days straight and then stopping altogether. Social platforms reward those that produce content regularly.

Social media is fast paced. Content that is published gets drowned quickly, even as fast as 24 hours. That’s why you need to be consistent. It keeps you top of mind.

When you’re first starting out, you may not see results right away. That’s because relationships take time to build. But if you keep at it, it will pay off in the long run.

What else can you do today?

Commit to your content schedule. Plan a strategy on the content you’ll publish ahead of time. Keep a content library to draw inspiration from.

If you don’t believe you can set aside time to be consistent on social media, consider getting help from social media management experts who specialize in doing that.

Get started using social media for your business today!

Hopefully, these 5 essential steps to get started on social media have inspired you! In summary, here are your 5 essential steps to get started on social media today:

  1. Decide what you need (or want) to gain from using social media
  2. Select a channel and focus on it
  3. Check what other companies in your industry are doing
  4. Plan how often you’re going to post content
  5. Dedicate time to interacting with your audience
  6. Measure the results of your marketing efforts
  7. Be Consistent with Your Social Media Marketing

Would you like some more help in getting the ball rolling on social? Give us a call!