Part I of 3: How to Be Successful On Social Media

Guest blog: A three-part series from VR Footprints, a digital strategy team for small businesses.

Three steps small businesses can take to be successful on social media:

1. Identify your audience and the best way to reach them.

You’ve heard about online communities and social media networks. You’ve joined LinkedIn, setup a Facebook account and maybe even read a book about social media marketing … but you’re still wondering how it’s really supposed to help promote your business. If this sounds familiar, keep reading!

The breadth of social media platforms possesses an inherent promise that there’s a way in which you can make it work for you and you’ve been told it can. It’s free advertisements for what looks like minimal effort. Right?

The problem, however, is sifting through the platforms and choosing the ones in which you should invest your time and energy. For example, if your business is a bakery you would be wise to select a platform that harnesses a lot of visual content (aka pictures). So your choices may include: Instagram or Tumblr. That being said, if your main focus is on baking wedding cakes, you’d want to steer clear of the microblogging site as your marketing tool since Tumblr’s userbase is peeps 13-18 years old. But knowing that Instagram’s userbase skews more female and nearly half are ages 18-29, we’d strongly encourage you to start there!

By picking a platform that your audience already uses, it ensures your marketing will be efficient. Because Facebook is already so popular (almost to the point of being universal), it’s almost always the platform on which you’re advised to initiate marketing efforts. We can help you hone in more strategically with targeted posts as well!

Once you have your platforms, it’s time to start marketing. Be consistent with posting to your page, so that your business will be show up in user feeds and stay top-of-mind. A “best practice” is to directly interact with potential customers. A good platform for you to do that is Twitter – where anyone is free to reply to anyone else. If a user tweets about losing weight as a new year’s resolution and you’re a fitness trainer, tweet back about with a fitness tip! This gives you a remarkable chance to identify yourself as an authority and for your brand to gain influence. Remember: Consistency will create brand loyalty among your customers.