The two key questions for your business’ social networks

Are you about to start a business but suffer from a lack of social media savvy? People keep telling you it’s a must in today’s society.

You know they’re probably right, but so many questions still linger: how many, which ones, how, when…? There is so much information out there it can be hard to know which way’s up.

For lack of a better strategy, I have seen many entrepreneurs sign up for all the main social networks just to be present, so people can see their name and logo. They post when they find the time and when they think of it. The problem with that is that their otherwise promising pages quickly become unproductive ghosts that tarnish their young business’ image.

Let’s take the time to go back to the basics and build a solid foundation for your social media!

So without further ado, here are the two key points to consider for your social network presence:

1. Networks used by your target clientele

It seems obvious enough, but you would be wasting your time on Instagram if your target is retirees. Think about your target clientele and look into the network(s) they use most. Prospective clients aren’t going to search every network for a new product or service that could be of use to them, so it’s up to you to find them wherever they are. This is the first step and the most important.

How to go about it? If you have already precisely identified your target clientele, using personas for example, it will be a lot easier. Perhaps you already know where to look! If not, ask your prospects which networks they use for the sphere you are targeting (for instance, even if your focus is on educated young workers, LinkedIn will not be your priority if your product is family-oriented). You can find loads of articles about who uses which social networks. Be sure to check the geographical area and date of the articles if you choose to use them, as numbers can change quickly and differ significantly in different parts of the world.

I also highly recommend combining two methods to gather your information. It would be a shame, after six months of intensive efforts, to realize you breezed through this step a bit too quickly…

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2. How much time you can devote to it

Let’s be clear: you can have great online presence without investing money in it. However, it will take a certain amount of your time… and quite a bit more than you may expect! Be realistic about your time schedule. It is better to be on one network and do it right, than to have pages on four different networks and post something every now and again. You need to keep in mind that users perceive pages that aren’t updated on a regular basis as “dead,” which can also extend to the business that owns them. I’m sure that is something you would prefer to avoid…

Look beyond the first few weeks of enthusiasm and remember that things always take longer than you expect. For one social media post, you will have to think about the type of content to share, how to make it appealing in a few short sentences, the illustration, but also managing comments, the post being shared onto other groups on the same network, etc. If you build your own content and are a perfectionist in any way, it can become a part-time job – or more!

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If, like many entrepreneurs, you only have a few hours per week to devote to social media, streamline your approach: check the sources of content (make sure they’re reliable) you could re-share, find sites with royalty-free images you could use (I very highly recommend the excellent Unsplash for this), maybe collaborations or external contributors who could write for you.

Although it can be tempting when budget allows, at this stage of your adventure I advise against hiring an outside person to manage your social media presence. Your “first steps” on the networks will define your voice and tone online. Alongside your logo and visual identity, your posts will be the first impression many prospects will have of your business. Would you really be comfortable letting someone else (who will never be as invested as you) be your project’s first ambassador?

Once you have answered these two questions, you can move on to thinking up a social media communication strategy! We will cover that in an upcoming article.

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