As a new or small business it can be daunting getting your social media set up, and with a huge amount of work having to go into admin, marketing and general business, social media often gets pushed to the side. In this guide we’ll give you some pointers on how to make social media for your business both easy and enjoyable, as well as an effective tool to drive new leads and customers.
When starting out with social media you have a few options in terms of how to get set up. Firstly you could get an agency to set up and manage your social media for you, however this option is often quite costly and as a small business you’ll likely be trying to save money where possible. Another common option is to setup and manage your social media yourself, and this will be the focus of this guide.
Starting your accounts
First up you need to start your accounts. There’s a variety of social media platforms around nowadays, each with different audiences and content types. We’ve listed the common ones below, along with a brief overview. It’s best to choose 1-3 platforms that fit the nature of your business and start with those - any more and it becomes too difficult to manage.
Facebook is commonly used as a central information resource for prospective customers and can be used to share text, image and video updates, as well as business information like opening hours, locations and your website.
Instagram is an image and video sharing platform, with small captions on each post. This is the perfect platform if you have a business which has good photography available. There’s no harm thinking outside the box with Instagram too - if you’re a travel agent, setting up an Instagram of destinations rather than your fares would probably be more appealing to customers.
Twitter is a platform for sharing text (sometimes with attached images and video) with the maximum length of 280 characters per update (tweet). Twitter is designed for rapid news and quick updates, and could be good for a business with rapidly changing information, like a sports club.
LinkedIn is regarded as the professional social network, and it is designed for sharing information around industry and business. LinkedIn is more about broadening ones network rather than obtaining new clients, and is effective form of recruitment for some companies.
Pinterest is an image sharing platform, not entirely dissimilar to Instagram, where users can share and save images they like from around the web. Again this platform is ideal if you can present your business in a photographic manner.
TikTok is a video sharing platform, where users make short videos on a variety of topics, from dance, to comedy all the way to product design. The key to making successful TikTok videos is to keep content short and interesting.
Once you have chosen your key platforms it’s time to set up your social media architecture.
Social Media Architecture
Social Media Architecture refers to elements you will use to brand your social media platforms as your own. Architecture differs from platform to platform, but if you have the following items you’ll be in good stead.
Display Picture (DP)
A display picture is the first image people will see when they interact with your business on Social Media. It’s commonly a logo or brand mark for your company and should fit in both a square and circle form. For more information on the best display picture check out our guide here: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn Display Picture Sizes and Tips 2020.
A handle is your username on social media. When people want to tag you in a post or link to your profile, they use your handle. Commonly a handle is your business name and sometimes your industry or location attached to the end.
A cafe called “The Warm Kitchen” might use one of the following handles:
For more information check out our guide on: How to create a good social media handle in 2020.
A cover photo is a heading image that visitors see on many social media platforms when they visit your page. Ideally your cover photo should be interesting and on-brand, and also give your audience some more information about business. Some examples of cover photos are:
- For a cafe - a photo of the inside of the cafe
- For a sports team - a photo of the team
- For a real estate agent - a photo of a recent sale.
For more information on how to create the best cover photo see your guide on: How to create the best cover photo for Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn in 2020.
The final key bit of social media architecture is an about section. This is a basic overview of your company and should explain what you do to anyone who visits your social media page. A great way to develop an informative about section is to say out loud your response if someone asks you in an elevator “what does your company do?” - this is known as an elevator pitch. You’ll only have a maximum of 30 seconds before the doors open to convey this information and it will give you a pretty good idea of what should go in your about section on social media as well.
Once your social media architecture is set up, you want to move on to defining your target audience, which will influence the content you’ll be creating and posting. This should be fairly similar to the target audience of your general business practice. If you’re a cafe, it’s likely to be people in the local area. If you’re a real estate agent, it will probably be people who are in the market to buy and sell houses.
Once you’ve identified your audience, write it down so you can always refer back to it and to make sure your content is tailored to this audience.
The next step is to develop a content plan. This is often the part where most people fall over and give up, but we’ll give you some tips to make this as easy and as non time-consuming as possible.
The first part of the content plan is to work out your “content pillars”. Content pillars is a fancy name for groups of content that you’ll be posting on your social media. It’s best practice to have around 3-4 content pillars for your accounts. Some examples of content pillars include the following:
- Product images
- Team images
- Special Offers
- Re-shared content
Think about your business and try and come up with 3-4 content ideas that you can use as topics to create regular content for your audience. Ultimately all the content you wish to create should fall into one of these pillars.
The next step is to work out the frequency of each of these pillars. The best way to do this is to look at two things: firstly: how much time do you have to spend developing content each week. If you have time to source 2 images and write one tip, then you’d probably spread the frequency of content to 1 piece of content per pillar per week. Secondly: how much would you want to see. You want to avoid overloading your audience with content. Even if you have time to create 100 images a week, your audience probably only wants to see 3 or 4, so set a limit based on how much you’d want to see if you were following your page.
You should end up with a simple frequency map which looks like this:
- Product images - 1 per week
- Special offers - 1 per week
- Tips - 1 per week
Suddenly you already have a blueprint of what content you’ll need to create and how much you’ll need to create.
For tips on how to create content have a look at our industry specific content guides:
- How to create engaging social media content as a cafe in 2020
- How to create engaging social media content as a real estate agent in 2020
- How to create engaging social media content as a sports team in 2020
Social media management
Now you have a plan on how much content you’ll produce you need a way to manage all your new social media platforms.
To help you with this, we’ve created Simple Social. With Simple Social you can simply input all your content, manage all your social media pages in one location, edit all your images, automatically schedule your content and also get insights about what’s working and what’s not. You’ll save a huge amount of time not having to head back and forth between platforms and likely increase the engagement and revenue of your business.
Simple Social is free for the first month and only $14.99 per month after that. You don't need to provide any payment details to give it a try out, simply click here to start your Simple Social Trial today.
Build a following
As you start to create and post content you’ll begin to build a following. To speed this process up make sure you’re using hashtags to help people find your posts.
You can also use paid ads to help develop your social media following if it’s not developing as quickly as you’d like.
Engage with your audience
As your audience begins to grow make sure you’re engaging with them. Reply to comments and listen to feedback about your content. If your audience wants something new, change your content pillars to suit their needs. The more you listen and adapt, the more you’ll grow.
The final piece of advice we’d give any small business owner starting a social media page for their business is to be real. Audiences want truth and real stories, keeping myths off your social media will keep your audience engaged and growing.
Thanks for reading our guide on how to start your social media as a new or small business. Please consider sharing with your friends if you got something useful out of this. Also don’t forget, the easiest way to manage your social media is with our tool Simple Social. Click here to start your trial today!