Social Media for Business 101
With over 4.33 billion active social media users around the world1, businesses have been able to tap into and harness the power of social media to promote brand awareness, generate new leads and establish themselves as experts in their field. As a result, the question many companies found themselves asking was not if they should have a presence on social media, but how they should go about it. To help answer that question, we’ve provided the basics to getting started when it comes to using social media for business.
Choosing the Right Platform
The list of social media platforms grows longer with each year that passes. In the past two years alone, you’ve probably heard about the rise of TikTok and Clubhouse. With countless social platforms to choose from, settling on the right one (or ones) for your business can seem like a daunting task. To help in the decision-making process, we’ve compiled a list of six powerhouse platforms to use for business, all with millions (or billions) of users.
- Active monthly users: 2.79 billion1
- Largest age group: 25-34 (26.3%)3
- Gender: 44% female, 56% male3
- Time spent per day: 38 minutes3
- Pros: Massive audience reach, targeted ads, relatively easy to use
- Cons: Little to no help support, lots of competition
- Active monthly users: 1.29 billion1
- Largest age group: 25-34 (33.1%)3
- Gender: 57% female, 43% male3
- Time spent per day: 29 minutes3
- Pros: Lead generation through ads, detailed analytics, discoverability
- Cons: Growth requires lots of engagement, visual-based app needing great photos/graphics
- Registered users: 756 million2
- Largest age group: 46-55 (40%)3
- Gender: 49% female, 51% male3
- Time spent: 63% frequent monthly, 22% weekly3
- Pros: B2B networking and lead generation, designed for professionals, low saturation
- Cons: Less active users, fewer interaction types
- Active monthly users: 396 million1
- Largest age group: 30-49 (44%)3
- Gender: 32% female, 68% male3
- Time spent per day: 3.53 minutes per session3
- Pros: Increased discoverability with hashtags and tags, great for article resharing
- Cons: Low initial exposure time, requires fast, real-time information
- Active monthly users: 2.29 billion1
- Largest age group: 15-35 (77% of internet users within this age group)3
- Time spent per day: 17 minutes and 22 seconds4
- Pros: Second largest search engine, builds authority in industry, easy to reshare
- Cons: Requires decent video knowledge, hard to rank in search
- Active monthly users: 459 million1
- Largest age group: 50-64 (38%)3
- Gender: 78% female, 22% male3
- Time spent per day: 14.2 minutes3
- Pros: Great for driving traffic to your website, lower cost for targeting and ads
- Cons: Graphics-heavy platform, requires vast keywords research
Research & Preparation
Now that you have an idea of the major social platforms, it’s time to do some research and prepare — both internally and externally. The first task to complete is securing your handle (@username) on your preferred social platform and any additional platform you feel may be of use in the future. Remember: it’s better to have your username claimed now than leave it for someone to grab later.
We recommend having the same handle across platforms for greater brand awareness. Don’t worry, we know this is usually easier said than done. Your handle can be your business name, website domain name or a variation you see fit. It’s important to remember that not all social media platforms have the same rules when it comes to the length of your username or characters you can use. One resource to use when just starting out is a username checker, such as NameChk, which allows you to check the availability of usernames across countless platforms.
After securing your handle, it is time to gather your branding materials. These items include profile and cover images, your company color palette and font guide, your “about” section description with proper disclosure and additional business information such as hours of operation, contact email and phone number. You can also work with the IFP Design Group to create your cover and profile graphics as well as your custom branding guide.
Develop Your Social Strategy
The next step is arguably the most critical, yet the one most companies fail to properly complete. Dedicating time to appropriately developing your social strategy will save you time and headache in the future. Your social strategy will be your reference when creating content and growing your following as it is based on your business’ purpose and goals. Simply stating you want to be on social media because you want leads or it’s the norm is not enough.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when developing your social strategy:
- Who is your audience and what do they want to know? How can your content provide them value?
- Who are your competitors? What are they excelling at on their own pages? Are they struggling with anything?
- What goals do you want to accomplish? How will you go about hitting these goals?
- What metrics are most important to you? Likes, follows, comments, shares?
- What are your company pillars? How can these transform into various content categories?
- How often can you post? Is one person posting or a team?
- What hashtag are relevant to the content you’ll post? Are there smaller, more niche hashtags you can find and use?
By answering these questions, a roadmap will begin to form on what purpose your social media accounts will have and how it will ultimately benefit your business as a whole.
Content, Content, Content!
You’ve made it — it’s now time to start creating content. As exciting as it is to be close to launching your social accounts, it can be pretty intimidating if you’re stuck on how to start. Luckily, there are various resources and planning you can do to ease the process.
Creating a content calendar is the best way to keep your ideas organized and in one place. There are a variety of free and paid resources you and your team can use to create your content calendar. With free, ready-to-use templates, project management sites such as Airtable, Asana, or Trello are reliable choices. Remember: the purpose of creating a content calendar is to better implement your social strategy by keeping yourself and team organized with captions, hashtags, graphics, and scheduled dates in one place that is easy to reference. In addition, you can batch create content once a week, month, or longer to save yourself time!
Next, you should ask yourself or your team member if they have the appropriate skills to create the visual graphics needed. Are they a graphic designer or tech savvy? If not, is there someone you outsource this task to? If wanting to create content in-house but unsure of where to begin, a great resource to consider is Canva. You can easily find templates customized for each platform and incorporate your own color palette and images to fit your brand. If looking for copyright-free images or videos to use, we recommend Unsplash, Pixabay, or Pexels.
The final step: scheduling. Just like with a content calendar, scheduling out your posts will simplify the social media posting process. Most social media platforms have their own native scheduling tool that allows you to upload your content and select a specific date and time that content will be posted. There are also other companies who aim to consolidate scheduling for all social sites into one platform. With custom analytics and additional resources, sites like Hootsuite or Later, aim to make scheduling as easy as possible. Once you’ve scheduled your posts, the only item left to consider is community engagement.
Growing Your Following
You can find countless tips and tricks to growing your social media following with a quick Google search. We’ll provide you the with the four action-step basics to get started: engage, promote, utilize and analyze.
- Engage with your audience and provide extra value where you can. This means reacting and responding to comments, discovering posts where you can add insight and polling your audience to gain understanding for what they’d like to see.
- Promote your page and posts internally and externally. Mention your accounts in newsletters, tag employees in posts, share your posts on your personal page — the better the promotion, the greater the potential.
- Utilize the features each platform has to offer, especially new offerings. Include hashtags within your captions or comments to increase exposure or create an engaging video story or Instagram reel to boost the algorithm – get creative!
- Analyze your results. Each social media platform and scheduling tool has a plethora of analytics dedicated to what is performing best (or worst) on your account. Use this information to continue to improve your content during your next content batching section, you may be surprised to find what your audience reacts most to!
Now that you have the fundamentals of social media for business down, we’re excited to see the content you and your firm posts! For more information or help designing profile graphics, contact the IFP Design Group at [email protected].