Social media marketing for beginners

The world of social media can sometimes feel overwhelming. The sheer number of networks and options open to an individual suggests that it is probably best to choose a few and focus. The trick here is to choose which platforms suit you best. These may differ across industries (and personalities, as a matter of fact), so sometimes, you just need to explore each one and try them out.

That said, there are some basic tools that a business owner should have in his/her arsenal:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Hootsuite

Google

Why does every social media campaign begin with Google? Google is the biggest and most popular search engine on the web, which means that most of your potential customers probably use google to search for goods and services online. Look at it this way: if someone was looking to hire your services, they’d probably ‘google‘ you first.

Furthermore, Google gives you access to a bunch of services that are ideal for business, including Google Maps, Google Places, Google My Business, Google Hangouts and much more, all of which are free. Combine these with Google’s well-honed advertising platform and you’re on to a winner. How do you make the most of Google?

Sign up to Google Plus

Start with a Google Plus account. This makes it easy for you to link and manage all of your google services. Think of it as your basic Google profile. With it, you can organize Hangouts, add places to Google Maps, add your business and much more.

Check out Google My Business

Google My Business is a collection of Google services designed to make marketing your business (and managing your business) feel like a breeze. From adding your business to Google, so that people near you can find you, to giving you access to email, website management, synchronized calendars, affordable advertising and much more, it is a safe place to start if you want to get your business online. You can always follow their business blog for more free tips. There’s also one for small businesses.

 

Facebook

Here, you may be thinking “I’m already on Facebook, so what now?”. Well, there’s a lot more you could be doing on Facebook profile, and I’m going to highlight a few things here.

Create a Facebook Business Page

If you already have a Facebook Business page, it may seem like a no-brainer to you, however, there are many businesses that use personal profiles on Facebook. This is not ideal. What you want is a Facebook Business page. Why? Well, here are a few reasons:

  • You could be violating Facebook’s Terms of Service and your account could be deleted.
  • On your personal profile, you can only have 5000 friends. This may seem like a lot now, but consider your business and how many people you hope to have affected in 5 years. It doesn’t seem like so many now, does it?
  • It looks plain unprofessional. Using a personal profile for business tells your customers and potential customers that you don’t know how to use Facebook (or social networks as a whole) correctly.
  • Personal profiles (i.e. being friends) allows you to share and access personal information. Some of your (potential) customers may not be too happy about that. They may be interested in what you have to say/share, but not too keen on sharing their phone numbers, birthdays and other personal information with you.
  • Post promotion: you cannot promote posts from your personal profile. Simple.
  • Insights: How do you know who’s clicking on what post, or the sort of posts that get the most traction? I can tell you: Facebook Insights. Facebook Insights gives access to useful analysis that can help you optimize your communication with your customers.

There are many more reasons, but I’ll leave this here for now.

Join Relevant Facebook Groups

The keyword in this section is “RELEVANT”. That is to say that if you join “Naija Hot Gist” (for my Nigerian readers) in a bid to sell more baking powder, you probably won’t sell a lot. Why? It’s simple: the people that are members of “Naija Hot Gist” are not looking to buy baking powder.

Facebook Groups offer you an opportunity to share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert on a certain subject matter. Sticking to the baking powder example, say, instead, you join a baking group on Facebook. You’d be putting yourself right in the middle of your potential customers. Now, depending on your reputation within the group, I reckon you’re more likely to sell your baking powder amongst these group members.

If you run a local business, say a barber shop, and you can’t find a specific group that covers your subject matter in your area, why not start one? As a barber, you could talk about celebrity hairstyles, clippers or anything that tickles your fancy. Facebook offers some useful tips.

 

Twitter

What can you really say in 140 characters? In the world of social media marketing, … A LOT! Twitter offers a quick, easy way for you to reach and interact with your fans. With more and more people spending countless hours on Twitter, it is now essential for your business to have a Twitter account.

Getting Started on Twitter

Of course, the way you use Twitter personally will be different to the way you’d use it as a business, so here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Optimize your Twitter bio with your business information.
  • Find out who the influencers are in your industry and get them involved. You can do this by following them, copying them into your tweets and engaging them in fruitful discussions.
  • Favourite and Retweet: This is the lifeblood of Twitter. You can start by connecting with friends and family and asking them to Favourite and Retweet your tweets. Don’t be shy to ask for help.
  • Stay consistent: Tweeting regularly is a good, quick way to grow your fan base and show people that your account is one to watch.
  • Stay on trend: Follow trends, #hashtags, etc. Twitterland is all about the bandwagon. Get on it!

For more Twitter tips and tricks, check these out.

 

Hootsuite

HootSuite is a social media management (SMM) platform that allows you manage all of your social media accounts from one place. As such, you can ensure all of your communication is uniform. More than that, it helps you save time and energy – no need to duplicate effort. Essentially, you can post to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all at the same time with the click of a button – Bliss!

Also, with a social media management tool like HootSuite, you can:

  • Schedule your posts
  • Form teams – so that your colleagues can get involved
  • Access useful analytics data
  • Generate reports
  • …and much more.

Your SMM dashboard gives you a bird’s eye view of your social media activity – a useful tool in social media marketing, if you ask me.

There are many other social media management platforms, such as Socioboard, AgoraPulse, Buffer, BuzzBundle etc., however, HootSuite is probably the most popular platform, and thus, a good place to start. If you want, you can play around with the different platforms and see which one suits you best.

Well, that brings us to the end of this week’s post. As usual, if you have any contributions, questions or opinions, I’d love to hear them. Until next week, happy marketing!