A beginners guide to social media
Facebook. Instagram. TikTok. Where to start? Our beginners guide to social media breaks down how to get started, tips about which channels might be best for your business and creating that all important first post.
With over 45million active social media users in the UK (We are Social, 2020), it makes sense that you’re considering starting a social account for your business. But where to start?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. The number of social channels you can use for your business is vast, but which is right for you? In this blog we’ll discuss the different audiences you can reach on each platform, different types of content and also some 101’s on setting up business accounts.
1. Define goals or KPIs
Joining social media might just seem like the right thing to do because it’s where your competitors are and you want to be in that space too. Setting clear goals for your social media accounts helps you to make sure you’re putting the right content out there to achieve them.
Some goals you might want to set:
Brand awareness: Social media is a great way to reach large quantities of people and help them discover your brand quickly
Reaching new customers: No matter if you’re B2C or B2B, social media can be a great way of finding new customers easily
Reduce marketing spend: Social media can be completely free if you want it to be – a lot of businesses try and build up their organic following so they can spend less on paid marketing.
Your goals are dependent on you and your business, and most importantly, don’t go chasing every goal under the sun. The more defined you can make your goals, the more likely you are going to be able to achieve them.
2. Choosing the right platform
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to where you should market your business on social media, but there are some common practices that make it easier to reach your target audience, without wasted effort and money.
Who is your target market?
Defining a target customer helps you to figure out how to market your product but also where you should too. In the sea of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, TikTok etc.) it’s often hard to realise which one is best suited to you and your business but also where your best placed to reach your target customer.
Still the most popular social media channel, Facebook is a firm favourite of marketers the world over. A Facebook page for your business allows you to easily display information about your business, share posts, images and videos. It’s also a great way of displaying your opening hours, your product range and links out to your website etc.
To set up a Facebook for business page, you must have a personal account. Getting set up is easy, just follow the step-by-step guide Facebook takes you through.
Once you’ve set up a business account, you also have access to in-depth data about your audience, how your posts are performing as well as access to the ad platform which allows you to do paid marketing on Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook is also probably the best platform for reaching a wide audience. The age-range of Facebook is bigger than any other platform, meaning that the likelihood of your return being bigger from your output can be a lot higher.
The one with all the photos. What started as a platform for sharing pics of our morning coffees and cute cats has evolved into a beautifully curated and highly engaged e-commerce platform.
It also has lots of great content features like Instagram Stories or IG-TV which respectively allow you to post short-form content that lasts for 24 hours and longer video content which is great for interviews, skits and product launches. Lockdown has also seen a huge increase in the Instagram Live feature and the (almost) face-to-face collaboration and discussion you can have with other brands, designers, customers etc. at the drop of a hat.
Setting up an Instagram account is free and super easy. Instagram is also predominantly mobile-based making it easy to manage on the go and whenever you’ve got a few minutes to engage with your customers and followers.
Instagram has a lot of the same paid features like Facebook and can also be done through the Facebook Ad Manager.
What tends to do well on Facebook, however, doesn’t always do well on Instagram. The more your product lends itself to beautifully shot photos and videos, the more engaged you’ll probably see people are on Instagram.
With most businesses using Twitter for sharing blog content from their site, giving short updates or predominantly as a customer service channel, it’s easy to overlook Twitter these days.
But, gone are the 140 character limits and celebrities telling us what they had for lunch and instead is a place where you can build out a brand reputation for your business by being present, engaged and having a super tight tone of voice that you aren’t afraid to use.
So many brands have found themselves a whole new range of customers and an increased brand awareness by chipping in on conversations relevant to their industries or having quick (and sometimes witty) responses to customer queries and complaints and publicly showing that they are there to help.
Since launching in 2003, LinkedIn has always been the more corporate uncle of the social media world. These days it’s probably one of the most powerful channels for businesses to connect with others in their industry, take part in discussions and pave the way for future employees to see them in the best light.
Now with over 675 million monthly users and over 30 million companies on the platform (Hootsuite, Mar 2020), LinkedIn has proven itself as a strong contender in the social space. It might not be the beautifully curated space of Instagram or the fast-paced, trend-led video content of TikTok but it’s professional edge and networking-first approach has cemented it as one of the channels most companies would rather be on than not.
No longer just for personal mood boards, Pinterest has evolved into a shopping platform and place users come to digest content and seek out new products.
Gone are the days where Pinterest had a reputation for kitschy home decor, now people use it to seek out the perfect inspiration images, homewares and also to buy directly from boutiques and retailers. Now with features such as Visual Search, which allows the user to search with an image rather than text, more and more users are honing in on that perfect item, recipe, special something and buying through the platform.
If you’re looking to inspire potential customers with imagery and inspiration, Pinterest could be the one for you and your business.
Now with over 800 million active users worldwide (oberlo.com, July 2019), TikTok is in the top 10 most used platforms, despite being a general newcomer to the market.
Dance trends, pranks, tutorials - TikTok was first seen as the Gen-Z playground, but although it does tend to still cater to a younger audience there is a whole range of ages, locations and communities you can reach on the platform. Their ad-platform is pretty much still in its infancy but is expanding constantly to allow more targeting and capabilities.
Short-form video your thing? TikTok might be the place for you.
3. Choosing your handle
Let’s start with what on earth is a handle? A social media handle is just another name for the username or profile name that you decide to use for your account - @joinmettle for example!
Choosing your handle is important when it comes to setting up your social accounts as it’s a big way you’re going to present your brand to the world. These days it’s not always easy finding your exact brand name as a handle (but if you do, you’re onto a winner) and there are some other ways of keeping a branded handle.
A lot of brands decide to put something along the lines of ‘weare…’ or the location your brand is based in their name to try and create a unique brand handle that they can use across all channels. If you have a brand name with two words, why not try putting an underscore or a dash in between, or merging the two words together to see if you can find that as a handle.
Finding a handle that you can use across all your social media accounts can help build your brand, and for consistency, especially if you want people to find you on multiple channels.
A great way to try and find the perfect handle is to write down what you would ideally want and see if you can find it on whichever social platform you foresee as your main one. If it’s there, great, if not, keep trying different handles until you find the right one, then start searching for that handle on other platforms.
4. Start planning and creating content
You’ve got your plan and your platforms you want to use, so now it’s time to make some content to put out there.
Depending on how much design/creative resource you have, you may go for a channel-specific approach to creating content or a central bank of content that you can repurpose across all your channels.
One way of thinking about your social content is to create some ‘pillars’ that you work to. These can cover everything from product updates and company news to inspiration and social-proofing (social-proofing may come later once you’ve built up a community of customers who are posting pictures and reviews of your product).
Also because this is your first foray into the world of social media, why not start with introducing yourself, your company and your product over the first few posts so potential customers know more about you?
Some things to remember when planning/creating content for social media;
Create high-quality content
You have around 3 seconds to catch a user’s attention so if you can get to the point quickly, do it
Add value, structure your content so it can help users
Keep your target customer in mind, stray from this and you might miss your customer completely
Have fun, even the most serious of industries can have a bit of fun with their social content to help attract more customers
Now you’ve made content, it’s time to get posting.
5. Scheduling and posting content
It’s probably a good idea to set up a content calendar that shows all your channels and a topline view of what is going out when. Having an eye across everything at once makes it much easier to plan campaigns or make sure you’re hitting those pillars wherever you need to.
It also is a good way to make sure you’re putting yourself in front of your followers when they’re scrolling. Each platform has analytics that over time learn when it’s the most engaging time for your followers. To start out, it’s good to try different times to learn when works best for you – there are some ‘best practice’ timings such as commuter times, weekend mornings and midweek evenings when people are most likely to be on social media, so this is often a good place to start.
Okay, the time has come to post your first post!
If you’ve got a current customer base, why not let them know you’ve just launched on social media and that they can follow you there for product updates, new releases etc? They’re also more likely to recommend your page on social to their friends. Popping up on their feed regularly is a much easier way of reminding them to recommend you than hoping they’ll remember over dinner with friends.
It’s also good to, depending on the channel, make use of location tag features and get some relevant hashtags on there – but don’t overdo it, the more considered you are the more likely you are to hit the jackpot.