Why should you be on social media? Not only are your competitors there, trying to capture mindshare among your customers, but your customers and potential customers are there, too. Without being on social media, you’re asking customers to find you on their own, in an age where customers expect businesses to have a social media presence.
If you’re looking to get started on social media, it’s important to look first at the biggest, most established networks. That means Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. They have the biggest audiences, and are the best place to establish yourself—because that’s where the people are. As you get more experienced and build more of a following, you can more effectively branch out into the smaller, more niche networks.
It’s easy to set up accounts on these networks, because they want you to be there. They want you using the service, so they make it as easy as possible, with big buttons telling you how to sign up, and free accounts that let you get started with no obstacles. It’s one more place someone can find you and discover your business idea—free marketing.
Have realistic expectations, though. You can’t post one time on a network and expect immediate, massive results. Consistency over time is where you win. At first, nobody knows you’re there yet, and no one is looking for you. But as you post over time, find trending topics and share more and more relevant content, you’ll see a return. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but something that makes a difference in the long run with hard work.
As you incorporate social media more and more into your marketing plan, you’ll see all kinds of uses for it. Today, companies even display social media buttons on television commercials, a reminder to viewers that, yes, you can find this company on these social media channels to follow them and learn more. Social media isn’t just advertised on social media—it can be used anywhere.
However, when you get started it’s easy to feel intimidated. There are so many voices telling you what you should and shouldn’t do, that it’s difficult to know how to start—especially since so many of the voices contradict one another. It’s important to do your homework upfront and come up with a plan to start, but how you use social media ultimately shouldn’t just be blindly following what other people say. The more you use these networks, you’ll see patterns and get more information about what’s working for your company. What types of posts are getting good response? What days and times get more attention? It’s a process, and as you learn more about how things work, you’ll get more and more effective.