Published in  
Business & success
   on  
November 25, 2020
 edited by  
Janet Escobar

Social Media: 5 Tips To Get You Started

Have a vision and purpose for your brand engagement on social media that correlates to your brand goals. Because as Lawrence J. Peter, a Canadian educator, said, "If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” The most successful brands and individuals have a clear vision of where they see themselves going.

When you’re unaccustomed to social media,being active as a brand on any platform can be intimidating, never mind whenit’s a matter of marketing your business. It feels all the more nerve-wrackingto post the right thing on the right platform when you’re a new brand. Ingeneral, the worst place to be on social media is invisible. Because thereality is, as a brand, being on social media is mandatory nowadays. So it begsthe question, where do you even start?!

No sweat, you got this! And to help, here arefive tips to ensure you’re ready to “Post It”.

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1.     Post to Connect

If you’re posting just to sell, you’re doing it all wrong. Social media is a social tool; it is all about community. Identify and use social media platforms to first understand your audience and give them an opportunity to understand you.

 

Leverage the opportunity you have on socialmedia to talk directly to your target audience. Understand their level ofinterest as well as their understanding of industry buzzwords and jargon. Using approachable language is essential. Check yourself when drafting content. Are you using internal terminology? Content should be easy to digest and understand as the reader (Spoiler Alert: coming soon, more on creating content with impact!). Think about social media as an opportunity to connect with, educate, grow, and engage with your audience.It’s another touch point. Like, respond, retweet and share to engage with audience questions and comments. That engagement with your audience can provide you with so many insights! What are they asking about? What are the problems ortopics they want more information about?

 

Find the social channel(s) where your audienceis looking for information in your niche. What do they need? How can you engagein a conversation with them? If you were at a networking event discussing their challenges, how would you speak with them? What questions may they have foryou, and how would you answer them? Provide your audience with the brand interaction they need to build trust. This trust builds relationships with youraudience, which enables you to foster a brand community.

 

2.       Post Value

Now that we understand that social mediaintends for us to be connected, hence the “social” nature of the name, we knowpart one of social media is engagement. Social media’s second role is to addvalue. Use the platform to build your credibility and expertise in your nichearea. Always ask yourself the classic who, what, where, when, and why? Who are you posting for? What information are you sharing? Where are you sharing this content? When is it being shared, it is timely? And, why is this content valuable to your audience?

 

Understand the need for your visuals to match the content and provide a nugget of knowledge your audience will be interested in. Your audience is not as likely to take the time to read your well-curated,thoughtful, insightful, “puny” caption without you giving them enough of a reason to spend their time to do so.

 

If you want to capture their attention, do not focus on capturing attention. Sounds like fake news, right? Wrong. Focus onvalue. Pretty pictures can only take you so far. However, it is important forthe visual to make an impact. Let the visuals draw them in to learn more.  And no, that doesn’t mean just making the logo bigger. Keep it simple. Many channels require you to click to expand and read more. The visuals and top headline of your caption need to capture enough interest to get your target audience to want toread it through. If you post value-add content with the intent to answer questions for your audience, you are setting yourself up for success in the long term.

 

Quality is better than quantity. Always. Evenin social media. Remember when I mentioned to find where your audience is looking for your information? Choose the right channels and focus on your marketing efforts. Offer your audience knowledgeable insights, fun witty facts,solutions to pain points, and you will quickly become a valued resource intheir day-to-day lives. Pick the channels that make the most sense, for your area of expertise and community, and target content accordingly. What is suited to Twitter may not fit LinkedIn, and what works on LinkedIn may not translate the same on Instagram.

3.       Post Regularly

Plan. Plan. Plan. Plan. Because planning freesup time and headspace for points one and two above. I said quality over quantity above, right? Still true. Regularly means post at regular intervals,so your audience starts to get accustomed to your posting habits and when toexpect you to #micdrop some knowledge. Do they look forward to a #mondaymotivation to start their week? Or a weekly new blog for some thought ful inspiration? Start small and choose your channel or two and post valuable content regularly.

 

Take the time to map out your content thoughtfully. Make sure you are talking about a good variety of interesting things to show your breadth of knowledge and value. Think about how the visuals will show on a feed, cumulatively over time. Side-by-side stacked, how do the images look all together? This is especially relevant for your Instagram feed. Many social scheduling applications offer the ability to preview how your content will look when all posted so you can visualize it.

 

As you get more comfortable, share more, anduse more advanced functionality and options within the social platforms. No one expects you to go Live, edit Reels, or be a pro on IGTV your first day on Instagram. Learn more and layer more in as you go.

 

I’m a visual learner (no, seriously, I colourcode my calendar so it looks like a Christmas tree, LIT!). So my recommendation, build out a content calendar so you can picture the contentover time and move things around as news changes the timely narrative or brandgoals and priorities evolve. My personal favourite content mix? Inform +Educate, Entertain + Celebrate, Soft Sell. That doesn’t mean your caption won’thave calls to action or hint to follow the link for more information or to readmore about your new blog post. Sure it can, and it should. It is a soft sellbut to encourage engagement - not a sale. Give your audience information they want, a laugh, a reason to be excited, because when you give them all of that -you can make them a customer for life. The key is to build a community to gaintheir trust.

4.       Have Goals

Have a vision and purpose for your brandengagement on social media that correlates to your brand goals. Because asLawrence J. Peter, a Canadian educator, said, "If you don’t know where youare going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” The most successful brandsand individuals have a clear vision of where they see themselves going. It keeps you on track and focused. When you are starting, be realistic in yourgoals and check in on them regularly.

 

Look at the results and learn from them. Different results in your social analytics mean different things. Understanding your social analytics basics (a great Coles Notes resource on this can be foundvia Sprout Social here). Use the information to adapt and adjust your content, moving forward to continue to strive towards your strategicsocial media marketing goals. Is there a time of day that’s working better? A channel or content type that seems to get more engagement? Is your audience growing? Are you getting noticed from an industry or region you hadn’texpected? Celebrate your milestones! Did you reach 100, 500, or 10,000followers - that is EXCITING! Has your engagement increased by 5%, 10% or 75% -WOW!

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, neitherwas a brand. Let your social content evolve and learn the same way your brand personality does (my inner nerd life of Always Be Learning coming out strong here). Use the information on your reach, engagement, and impressions to betteryour social planning and content development over time.

 

5.       Have FUN!

Last but definitely not least. Have a brand personality. Enjoy engaging with your audience. Play with fun puns and witty captions. Use your creative juices for catchy campaigns.

Be your best (brand) self!

Article written by Kat McGuire and edited by Janet Escobar.

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