Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Flipboard 0 Discover the secrets on how your small business can use social media successfully. Most of today’s population has at least one social media account where they connect with friends and family as well as their favorite brands. In order to reach your audience in a direct and engaging manner, it is vital that your small business is on social media as well. If you’re unsure on how to create a social media strategy that connects meaningfully with your customers, keep reading for the steps to success, pitfalls to avoid and several ways to add a little personality into your account. 5 Steps to Get Started on Social Media The world of social media can be daunting, stressful and chaotic, but extremely rewarding in the end. For many small business owners, social media marketing is a new and scary thing, but these simple steps should get you on a track to success. Research –Before you take the plunge and jump into social media marketing for your small business, take the time to research your brand’s audience. Are they more likely to be on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest? What times of day are they the most active online? What kind of information are they interested in from social media? These are all crucial questions you need to find the answers to in order to make the most out of your social media attempts and connect with your audience. Plan – After you have done your research, it is time to come up with a game plan. Diving head first into social media marketing without any sort of plan is like moving without boxes! This step is when you need think about the frequency you post, the time of your posts and your goals for social media. After you have a clear vision for your social media, set aside time every week so you can plan and draft your next set of social media. Doing this will ensure that you have fresh content ready for your audience to enjoy. Organize – Now that you have a plan, sort out your priorities. What tools can you utilize to make your life easier? For social networking, schedule your posts ahead of time. Websites like HootSuite and SproutSocial allow you to organize your social media days or even weeks in advance. Organization is key to keeping stress levels at a minimum. Execute – You are now ready to post your first round of social media. It’s really not that scary to tweet, post and/or pin. One thing to remember during this step is do not get discouraged if you aren’t seeing immediate responses. It takes time and consistency to build your audience; keep pushing forward and your patience will be rewarded! Reflect – How did it go? What could you do next time to make it less stressful? Social media marketing is always changing, so take time to reflect on how your campaign is going. What worked last week may not be working this week. New trends are always on the rise and old ones fade into background noise. One thing is for sure: when it comes to social media there’s always room for improvement. These steps are a great starting point to help steer you in the right direction for your business’ social networking strategy. Keep these steps handy if you ever find yourself struggling or need to refresh your social media marketing strategy with some new life. 4 Social Media Pitfalls Don’t let these common social media dangers derail your strategy’s success. While the world of social media is extremely rewarding, navigating it can be incredibly difficult and full of pitfalls, much like the 1980’s Atari game, “Pitfall.” In the game, there are many hazards, including pits, quicksand, fire and crocodiles. In the world of social media for your small business, there are also a number of potential hazards. Many businesses fall into one of these four danger zones: Social Media Marketing Pitfall #1 – Lack of Time and Budget for Social Networking Activities Using social networking platforms for your small business does not have to be expensive or time consuming. Many small business owners spread themselves too thin by trying to use every platform. Instead, research and target one or two social networking sites that will create the best connections to your customers. Don’t be afraid to outsource the work to professionals so you can stay focused on what it is you do best – running your business. In fact, Three Girls Media offers cost-effective social media management for small businesses. Social Media Marketing Pitfall #2 – No Customer Engagement Think about the term, “Social networking.” ‘Social’ is in the name. These platforms are a great tool to build relationships with customers. Strike up a conversation to engage with your audience, don’t broadcast information only about yourself and your business. At Three Girls, we recommend our clients follow the 80/20 rule – 20% of the content you share is self-promotional, while the remaining 80% is fun, interesting, educational content related to your industry. This allows for much more customer engagement, and a far more interesting page. Social Media Marketing Pitfall #3 – Over-Sharing Over-sharing poses a huge risk for potential security issues. Many hackers are targeting employees on social media who post information about themselves and their jobs online, according to The Wall Street Journal. Protect yourself from this by reminding employees of some social media best practices and set up clear policies for what kind of information they can share about your company. Social Media Marketing Pitfall #4 – No Social Networking Plan Small business owners need to be strategic about how they use social media. Don’t jump into it without clear goals of what you hope to accomplish. Goals should include everything from the type of content you’ll post to how frequently updates will go out. Write down your desired results and clearly fill in the complete profile on each platform to reinforce your brand. Remember, while social networking can be a great tool, it’s easy to fall into these danger zones and end up wasting valuable time. Adding Personality into your Social Media with Memes While you want to avoid the mistakes that can lead to unsuccessful social networking, don’t forget to have fun with your small business’ accounts. One way you can engage and have fun with your audience is through the use of memes. Memes are undoubtedly becoming the norm within the world social media. These funny visual images are constantly shared amongst social media users of all interests. Memes are a great way to add a bit of personality and humor into your social networking. Although memes are typically surrounded by a bit of snark, there is great potential to create a meme that caters to your targeted audience. Some terrific memes for business highlight a product, or make an industry related joke that interests your audience while relating to your company; just make sure you keep it tasteful and professional. Check out these 4 ways to create a meme for your small business. 1. Use a Generator: Not sure where to start? Meme generators are a quick and easy way to create a meme without much thought into what image you should use. Sites such as MakeAMeme.org offer users famously used images such as Sweet Brown’s “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That” to create a meme of their choice. Just add a tag line and voila! There’s your meme! Please note, that if you do use this method, ensure that you only post images you have the rights to in order to avoid any legal issues in the future. 2. Use Your Own Image: Funny photos from your office can be a great backdrop to a potential meme. From silly moments at the company picnic to the most tiresome task of the day, pictures that relate to others in your industry are a great starting point for engagement. The simplest way to create a meme using this method is to upload the image to a site like Canva and add text to your pic. Add a company logo on a corner of the meme and you are set to share! 3. Tailor Your Words: Memes tend to be filled with sarcasm that relates to a certain audience. That specific snark-loving audience tends to be between the ages of 18-27. If that’s your target, great! Otherwise, try tailoring your meme’s content to something that relates to your small business or industry. Since sarcasm isn’t translated easily over the internet, you don’t need to create a meme full of it to be humorous; it just has to be funny to your followers. No matter the route you decide to go to create your meme, remember the content should always be short and to the point. Readers should be able to read your meme in a matter of seconds. Now that we have shed light on how to get started, the dangers you need to avoid and adding personality you are set to begin your social media journey for your small business. Twitter Tweet Facebook Share Email This article originally appeared on Three Girls Media and has been republished with permission.Find out how to syndicate your content with B2C Author: Kane Pepi Kane Pepi is an experienced financial and cryptocurrency writer with over 2,000+ published articles, guides, and market insights in the public domain. Expert niche subjects include asset valuation and analysis, portfolio management, and the prevention of financial crime. Kane is particularly skilled in explaining complex financial topics in a user-friendlyView full profile ›More by this author:VoIP Basics: Everything Beginners Should Know!Bitcoin Investment, Trading & Mining: The Ultimate Guide for BeginnersIs This a Better Way to Set Your 2020 Goals and Resolutions?