Social Media for Business - A Beginner's Guide
I have no idea what I’m doing! Help!
Small business owners, listen up
Social media can seem freakishly daunting to beginners. Where the fudge do I even begin, yo? Don’t worry, if you’re a complete noob (btw that means you know NOTHING) then this post is just for you. Why bother? Well because social media is FREE. That’s right. FREE.
I'm going to cover three social channels, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Yes, there are loads more. But this is a nice beginner’s post, so we’ll keep it simple. My next post will look at Instagram, the fastest growing social channel of the moment. For now, here are some handy tips and hints, so that you don’t feel like screaming any more. Well, maybe just a bit less.
How the freak do I even promote my business on this thing?
Ok then sweetie darling, let’s get started. Firstly, before you set up a business page you need a personal profile on Facebook. You can set this up easily, just follow these simple steps. This is your personal profile, so use pictures of yourself (not your business) and keep it about YOU. You can change your privacy settings, because you may want to keep your personal page private.
Great! Now you have a personal page, and you can create a page for your business. This hilariously red-faced man shows you the steps on how to do it, via the medium of video.
Now you have a business page. STOP. Now it’s worth thinking before you start to post anything. Who are your customers? What are they like? What are their interests, hobbies and what challenges do they face in their lives? Social media is all about building a community with people. Don’t simply aim to sell your product 24/7, because it will piss people right off. Facebook is about real lives, families and stories. So if you want to promote your brand, you need to think about your customers as if they were friends. What sort of pictures, information and content would they like to see? What might they share?
You will ideally need to post content on Facebook once a day, and you can use Facebook Insights (a tool at the top of your page, available once 90+ people like your business) to help you gauge when to post. But broadly, the evening between 7-9pm is when most people are online.
What should I post to Facebook?
- Every post should contain an image. Images attract more attention, clicks and likes. Find out where you can get free images in this useful blog.
- Include links in your posts, they attract more attention. This is your chance to show off interesting content, other blogs, or your products. Link to websites your clients would find interesting or useful.
- In every post you need to comment on what you’re posting. Think about the tone of voice you want for your brand, and make it consistent. What tone of voice would your customers engage with? Informal? Jokey? Remember Facebook is about engaging with people, so keep it upbeat and fun.
- Capitalise on events, seasons, holidays or National Days. Use this useful calendar planner so you can think ahead, and tie your brand in with events that people are already talking about
- Check out what your main competitors or big brands are doing, and get inspiration. See what works and use that to help you along!
NB: You don't need to be doing it all the time. To make your life easier it’s possible to schedule (plan ahead) your posts. The tool for the job is Buffer, an online tool that will easily plan your posts and is free for one user! So go for it, use Buffer and plan your posts for weeks in advance.
How do I even tweet? AAAARGH Help me my eyes hurt.
Signing up for Twitter couldn’t be easier. Unlike Facebook, you don’t need a personal page, and can create a business Twitter account for free. Choose an @ handle as close to your business as you can, so people can search for you, and you’re ready! Now you need to set up your page to reflect your business. Think carefully about which images you use, include a link to your website and use the large banner behind your profile photo as a free advert. For other tips on getting started, including using some of Twitters more business orientated features, see this useful post.
Tweets are 140 characters long (the length of an old text message). Twitter is a constant stream of tweets, re-tweets and replies. There are some basic rules to tweeting as a business. Here they are:
What to tweet:
- Include a link in every tweet. Use bit.ly or Buffer to shorten links so they don’t take up too much space. Include # hashtags to attract attention around topics, so #socialmedia #marketing for example. Tweet with reference to other people – include their @name so they are notified.
- Twitter is fast-moving, and all about engaging in conversations with people. It’s a great way to interact with people. So Tweet regularly and engage with people that you want to like your brand.
- Regularly include images in your tweets. Twitter images should be cropped to 1024 x 512 pixels, if you post a square image Twittter will cut the top and bottom off! You can use online tools like Canva or Picmonkey to help you resize any image you choose.
- It's OK to Tweet the same message more than once - just change the wording slightly. Tweets are fast moving so the same person is unlikely to see it twice.
NB: You can use Buffer to help you plan your Tweets ahead of time, but remember to keep monitoring Twitter to see if you get replies or @ mentions. The best tool for this is Hootsuite, which allows to you to monitor certain relevant hashtags and keep an eye out for interaction. Great stuff!
What the hell does pinterest have to do with anything?
Pinterest is an absolute gem for business. It’s better than Alton Towers when you’re a teenager. Like Twitter, you don’t need a personal page and can set up a business Pinterest account for free. What’s so good about it? Well you can ‘pin’ images of absolutely anything to Boards you create, and the more you pin, the more other pinners will ‘re-pin’ your images. Set up your profile in a few easy steps, and get going! Whatever your business, there will be Pinterest boards related to you. Add to them, re-pin to your own boards.
Pinterest is about lifestyle. So keep your pins aspirational. Add descriptions of the images you post, that make it sound attractive. All pins need to have a link, so pinners can follow the pins to purchase. Compared to Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is perfectly suited to business. Just think of it as one huge advert!
- Pin regularly. Use Buffer to help you schedule up to six pins per day. Pin images to your boards around themes that are relevant to your business.
- Choose engaging images, that other people will want to re-pin. There is an absolute wealth of images to choose from on Pinterest, and you should also include images of your own products wherever possible.
- Include rich descriptions of what you pin, to attract people. Choose keywords that your customers would search for, so make sure you know what your search terms are.