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Get Started with Social Media for your Business

There’s a deluge of fluffy social media content out there: ask just about anyone, and they’ll admit that information overload is a real struggle in 2019. I define “fluffy content” as anything that users don’t really want to see, but ends up in their timeline anyways: things like paid ads, veiled “content” that’s really an ad, and meaningless posts from their latest friend to take up home entrepreneurship.

Because of this information overload, we can conclude that communication for communication’s sake won’t cut it: users are likely to cut it out. Whether it’s paid promotion or organic social media, customers are far more likely to tune out content from a business than from another individual.

With that said, it’s still possible to build a social media following for your business: all it takes is a little bit of extra effort.

The extra mile

Auto-posts from your business blog are fine, but they can’t be the meat of your social media presence. Social media, after all, means interaction! Interaction with your customers is key for building a good social media brand. This requires far more work than ‘set-and-forget’ auto-posts, but without it you’re wasting an untapped audience.

Social media for your business can propel your products and content far beyond your social circles. Thanks to re-shares and word of mouth, your posts can be passed around to much larger audiences than you can reach on your own. But this will only happen if your posts are worth sharing. True business storytelling will attract attention.

Get out of “business mode” for a little bit and get into “people mode.” Think about what people want to see: the things that made them fans of your business or your product in the first place. Here are some tips for sharing meaningful social media.

Interesting Photography

When I first started in web design, in 2009, the web was already a pretty visual medium. In the last ten years it’s only become more and more so. Images matter: they’re engaging, interesting, and eye-catching. Images matter so much that Facebook now recommends paid ads include a minimum of text, focusing on imagery instead.

With some good imagery, your business can stand out. If you haven’t already, it’s worth paying for some professional shots of your products or your place of work. But even if you haven’t done that yet, or can’t afford to, real photos of you and your business are important. A nice photo of your coffeeshop shot on an iPhone builds your brand far more than a perfectly-shot stock photo of some random coffeeshop.

tl;dr – Photos are a key hook to draw visitors into your post or offer

Do a few channels well

There are dozens and dozens of social media accounts. Just off the top of my head I can name a half a dozen: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

In my experience, Facebook is pretty unavoidable. Many users expect a facebook page which is an official portal to your website, your products, and your support systems. Twitter and Google+ are also often requirements, depending on your industry. Be sure to tune your social media presence to your industry: Photography experts tend to communicate over Google+, while the education field may be more prone to something like Pinterest or Instagram.

The point is to focus on channels you know you can thrive in, and provide meaningful content to your users. If you offer video tutorials, skip Instagram and put all your emphasis on YouTube. It’s better to have no presence at all on a channel than to have a weak, inadequate presence that reflects poorly on your business.

tl;dr – With only a few channels to worry about, your company will be able to present a fuller, better image to your potential customers.

Build buzz with sales and deals

Any time you offer a sale or an in-store deal, you’re missing an opportunity to talk about it online. Our culture absolutely loves taking advantage of a good deal, and it’s great content to put on your social media channels. Do it regularly enough, and customers may start to follow your channels specifically to get access to special deals: and that’s a captive audience!

tl;dr – Post deals to get your audience excited and keep them following your channels.

Include social media activity on your website

Websites and social media are a virtuous cycle. The more you update your website (say a blog, or new web offers), the more you can post about those things on social media. Correspondingly, you can also keep your website looking fresh and up-to-date by integrating your social media channels onto your website.

This can be adapted to your particular social network, but there are plenty of options. Longer Facebook posts are perfect as mini blog posts or “asides,” while a twitter feed can easily be integrated into your footer. Many companies integrate gorgeous scrolling Instagram photos to great effect: not only is your social media content being added to your site, but it updates automatically and keeps the website from feeling stale to repeat visitors.

Of course, this only works if you’re leaning into social media for your business and keeping the channels updated with useful information.

tl;dr – Keep your website integrated with your social media: little touches like this make the site feel active and up-to-date.

How have you built social media for your business?

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