Well, can you believe it? We have now entered the second quarter of 2020 and with the threatening spread of SARS-COV Coronavirus/COVID-19, the internet is proliferating like no other! The proven need to maintain physical distance during this pandemic means that every aspect of industry is hard-carried by social media and if you have a business that has no social media presence, you are struggling right now. 

If you have a business, at this time in our existence, I expect that you are planning out your marketing endeavors, to boost its chances of survival. This then begs the questions, what are your social media plans and do you know the basics of how to leverage them for your business/brand?

If you are a small business owner who has not gotten started with social media, you are undoubtedly overwhelmed and puzzled. Although social media is composed of simple and complex platforms, you should not let any of this intimidate you. Social media can be easy to get started for your business, as long as you know the right platform(s) for you. Social media can be fun and more importantly, it can also open up the possibility of new business and networking opportunities. 

So, let’s move on and discuss the five basic tips for equipping yourself and your business for social media and how to get set-up, accordingly.

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1. Determine Your Goals – Identifying your specific goals for being on social media will determine the foundation of your marketing and your marketing will, in turn, determine the results. Ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish on social media: Are you trying to build a strong following and rack up the likes, do you want to generate sales or is it that you want to position yourself as an expert in your field? Your answers to these questions determine the type of content you will create for your social media. Also, it is imperative to create goals following the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-oriented) framework to get practical results in the long run.

2. Choose the Right Platforms – Once you have determined your goals, you then need to select the platform that will best help you meet those goals. Since the most utilized social media platforms are free and highly accessible, most business owners choose to have a presence on more than one platform. However, there is such a thing as spreading yourself too thin across platforms and for a beginner, a strategy like that can quickly become overwhelming; resulting in you losing sight of your marketing plans or unnecessarily spending time or money that you do not have. So, before choosing a platform, figure out the target audience for your business and choose one or two platforms where they are most likely to be found. For example, if you choose to be on Facebook, it is logical that you will choose to be on Instagram as well, since they are complimentary platforms, at this point. Alternatively, if your business is mostly opinion or sound bites based, twitter may be the platform of choice for you. While, if your business is performance or audiovisual based, platforms like youtube or tik tok may be better suited for you.

3. Know Your Audience – I mentioned target audience in the previous points, for a reason. Your target audience is your potential customer for your products or services. To effectively target them, you have to identify the perfect platform where your target audience spends most of their time. Ask yourself, what kind of information do they want from you and what are their interests? Remember, it is not enough to just publish marketing content on social media sites. You need to fully understand the needs and wants of your audience, so that you can provide the ideal content which will pique their interest. Also, do not forget to personalize your social media approach so that your audience can interact with you/your brand directly. The key to building audience loyalty is helping them to understand that you/your brand are authentic.

4. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles – Your social media profile is a direct reflection of your brand and business itself. To present a valuable profile, make sure to optimize it by adding an attractive profile photo or identifiable logo, a succinct header including a simple but clear description, a website link, and your location. Take the time to completely fill out your profile before you fully promote it online. If you ever find that you need to make changes to your profile, make sure to be consistent in updating it across all platforms, in order to not confuse your audience.  

5. Create Stellar Content – Once your social media platforms are fully optimized and your goals are identified, it is time to translate this organized approach into actual content. After determining where your audience spends their time and what kind of content generally appeals to them, take time to create content that would entice them to engage with you or your brand. This requires consistency but it also involves researching other brands in your genre and then, some trial and error. You see, not every piece of content that you create would be a hit! However, with the right strategy that incorporates persistence and a willingness to pivot with your target audience, you will find your voice. Yet, I must encourage you to not overdo it — focus on quality over quantity. Once you implement your content strategy, it is important to keep track of what works and what does not. Utilizing simple analytics to determine what works and discarding what does not work is critical to fine-tuning your marketing efforts and results. 

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So, there you go! If you are new to the world of social media, do not be dismayed by the thought that others have been doing it for so long. It is never too late to get started and there are so many fun things that you can explore and incorporate into your business endeavors. While success will not happen overnight, just start slow, be honest and humble about what you do not know and stay authentic to your audience — your efforts would pay off!

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