Ok, so your new business is live and you are now ready to see the cash pouring in. Not so fast cowboy, you still need to set up your Social Media accounts.
Like them or hate them, Social Medias are no longer a fancy new channel to advertise your products & services on. We can all agree that they aren't just a fad either.
In 2017, Facebook alone will reach 2 BILLION monthly active users. Add to the fact that 95% adults aged 18-34 are most likely to follow a brand via social networking (Source: MarketingSherpa) and it's pretty obvious why you can't afford not to have a presence on at least one of these platforms.
That being said, merely "being on Facebook" won't do. Your content strategy must be top notch. A crappy Social Media presence will turn people away instead of enticing them in.
First impressions do counts. Nothing screams "Get out while you still can" louder than a tawdry shopfront. Same goes for your online channels. Your Social Media pages are your online store fronts and we are going to make sure that whenever a potential customer land on either of them, they like what they see.
As with many things in life, there's no point shutting the door once the horse has bolted out so in this post, we're going to outline the main guidelines on how to set up your accounts properly, right from the start.
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT CHANNEL FOR THE RIGHT PRODUCT:
Don't try to be everywhere at once. You'll spread yourself too thin. Instead start with the basics: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the most popular and are all safe bets for beginners. You can either go for all three or just the one. It depends on the nature of your business and what sort of time commitment you are ready to make.
As you grow your following and start to feel more comfortable in your abilities, you can add more channels to your arsenal: Youtube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn... there's a platform for everyone these days!
Not every Social Media are created equal though. Your business, but also your skills will determine which platform you want to be on: Instagram is the perfect medium for a cupcake business, LinkedIn not so much. Likewise, don't start a Youtube channel if you know nothing about video editing.
- PICK YOUR HANDLES WISELY:
Your audience must be able to find you quickly and easily. Pick a handle (that's your username) that's relevant to what you do, that's easy to type and even easier to remember. It must be consistent all accross the board. So even if you only want to start with a Facebook Business Page, check on KnowEm that your handle is also available on other social networks and if it is, secure it straight away.
It would be a shame to find the perfect handle on Twitter only to realise 6 months later that it's already taken on Instagram. Worse, it could also confuse your audience and dilute your brand.
For example, my handle is @little_guyde. I use it whenever permitted and have accounts registered on several networks, just in case.It's memorable and makes it easier for people to find me online. This step is important so make sure you choose the right handle for your Socials as some platform won't let you change your handle once you've picked it.
- ADD GREAT COVER IMAGES:
A picture is worth a thousand words. Images are by far the most powerful medium available to sell your idea, or product. Our brains are hardwired to process visual information. Long before the invention of the written language, cavemen used to paint on walls! A sharp, engaging and high resolution cover image will speak volumes about the quality of what you offer and will create a positive and lasting first impression. Hire a professional photographer, or if you're short of funds, enlist the help of a friend who's a shutterbug.
Thanks to today's technology, one can capture beautiful shots with a simple smartphone. While this is a welcome boon for creativity, it's also raised the bar very high and today's audiences are less inclined to forgive a crappy shot. So don't try to save on your visual assetts!
For your profile picture, simple is usually better. If your logo's shape lends itself to it, use it as your profile pic across all social networks. Why? Consistency. It will help someone who follows you on Instagram to find you on Twitter and vice versa and makes cross promotion across different platforms a breeze.
Last but not least, do your best to have your photos fall within the recommended dimensions for a particular network. I've included the dimensions for the most popular Social Media below:
- FILL IN YOUR PROFILE:
Take the time to fill in your profile with the correct information. Apart from raising brand awareness and allowing you to engage with your customer base, the main purpose of your Social Media accounts is to redirect traffic to your website and convert visitors into potential buyers. Your website url should be clearly displayed along with your business physical address, phone number and if applicable your opening hours.
Write a short engaging bio, introducing yourself what you do to potential leads. Tailor it to the network: Your Facebook bio can be quirky, but your LinkedIn bio should have a more serious tone and highlight your main qualifications.
When creating your Facebook Business Page, select the right type of business as different types of pages have different layouts, optimized for that particular kind of activity. Once the page is up, head over to the page settings and reorganize the tabs (Settings>Edit Page>Tabs).
If your business is heavily reliant on users referral the Review Tab should go at the top, if it's event led, the Event Tab should be prominent, and so on...
Twitter personal and branded accounts are similar so the proccess is straightforward and doesn't require you to learn a new interface.
Instagram gives you the option to convert your account into a business account. It's free and gives you access to valuable insight tools to measure the success of your campaigns. Simply go to your settings and tap Switch to Business Profile. Select which Facebook Page you'd like to associate your Business Profile on Instagram with, set your profile to Public and you are all set.
- CREATE A COUPLE OF BRANDED HASHTAGS:
The use of hashtags is probably the most confusing aspect of Social Media. What's it for? How does it work? What does it do? Do I need to hashtag every other words? These are the most common questions I often get asked. The answer is simple: saturation. At the time of writing this post, 7729 Tweets are sent PER SECOND (Source: Internetlivestats.com). That's a lot of noise. Hashtags make it easier for users to find relevant and engaging content by looking up specific keywords.
Still not getting it? Ok, let's say that you are crazy about dachshunds. You want to find other pet owners to share tips with. You log in on Twitter or Instagram and search for the hashtags #dachshunds, #dachshundsareawesome and #dachshundowners. In a matter of seconds, you are redirected to a hundreds of tweets and accounts relevant to dachshund dog owners (provided that they use the same hashtags of course).
And that's the magic of hashtags: connecting people and business who share similar interest in a couple of clicks. Your business should use a couple of generic hashtags relevant to your activity along with one of two branded hashtags to allow people to easily find you.
Using Little Guy as an example, my generic hashtags could be
#digitalmarketing, # brand and #socialmedia and my branded hashtags #LittleGuySocial, #LittleGuyDigital and #AskLittleGuy. The generic hashtags help potential clients find my content and the branded hashtags allows me to "file" all my content under different categories, depending on what I'm posting about. Once you get that, you pretty much know all there is to know about hashtags.
- CONSISTENCY IS KEY!
If you're only going to take one thing out of this whole post, let it be this one: be consistent.
Consistency across all social networks will help people connect with and trust you. Internet have changed the way people interact with their favourite brands, and Social Medias are the main reason behind that trend. Used wisely, it is a powerful tool which has the potential to turn any interaction into a source of referral traffic.