Social Media Basics For Entrepreneurs

Social media is the most important marketing tool for your business. (Yes, as the co-founder of Oak Street Social, I am biased but, it’s still true.) So, as an entrepreneur, it’s essential that you have at least an understanding of social media basics. After all, as I often say, social media is the best global story telling tool we’ve ever had access to as entrepreneurs. Use it, or lose in the marketing game. Here’s how to win…

Tip #1: There’s more than one social media network

Instagram is not the only social media network. Instagram can be useful in growing your business, but to really master social media you need to think outside of the Instagram square.

An effective social media marketing strategy for entrepreneurs should typically include, at a minimum, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In many cases, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube are important, as well. You can skip SnapChat and Google Plus is set to shut down in April 2019 so you can cross that off your to do list as well.

Action step: Develop a social media strategy for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tip #2: Social Media Takes Planning and Work

Whether you do it yourself or outsource it, don't underestimate the effort that it requires to truly maintain an effective social media presence. However, if you're at the stage in your business that your social media marketing needs to be done by you, with a little planning and organization you can manage it.

Here’s how to get a started…

  1. Develop a strategy: What will you use your social media channels to accomplish? Don't say “drive revenue!” Yes, driving revenue is important to your business but you need to think deeper when it comes to social media. Driving revenue is one goal of social media marketing, of course, but it's not the only goal.

  2. Consistency and cadence: Decide how often you will post (that’s your cadence) & post according to a schedule weekly (that’s consistency). Cadence is essential to social media. Also, the consistency of your posting sends a message to potential clients.

  3. Plan social media like you plan any of your marketing activities. Don’t allow the instant gratification of social media to trick you into thinking it doesn’t take foresight; it does, and lots of it!

Action step: Start by outlining a basic strategy for each network, i.e. what do you hope to gain from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Then, pick your cadence, i.e. you’ll post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, for example. Lastly, map out one full month of content to include copy and images.

Tip #3: A complete, attractive, well-written profile is as important as a website

Don’t be surprised if it turns out that your social media profiles are as essential to driving your business as your website is. Are they well written, well-branded and complete? Do you share the best and most up to date way that customers can contact you?

Action step: Check off the basics!

  • Use a professional profile photo and cover image.

  • Make sure that all of your contact information is up to date, think website address, contact information, and the like. Each network allows for a different amount of characters -- use them all!

  • Use a tracking link on each network so that whatever your desired result is, be it website traffic, growing your email subscribers, getting YouTube views, etc, you can track it!

Tip #4: A call to action (CTA) is essential!

Every social media post should be designed with a purpose, the desired action. And how do we get people to take the action we want them to? We ask! A Call To Action is a must for every post.

Action step: Ask yourself what the point of your social media posts are and the clearly include a call to action with every post.

Tip #5: Put all of your content to work for you

If you create content in any way, such as on a blog, put it to work for you. It’s never one and done. Repost content in new ways. Creating content takes a lot of work, so make sure you maximize its use.

But what if you don’t have a blog? If you post to social media regularly, you are creating content. Can you reuse that? Can you turn several social posts into a blog post or a page on your site? Can you post that content to a site such as Medium and then reuse it there?

Can you string content from social posts together to create a short but effective article that can be shared on LinkedIn? Then, you can reshare that article on Twitter, for example.

There is more than one way to use things...get creative and maximize reach and exposure for every little bit of content you create in any way!

Action step: As soon as you publish new content, schedule posts re-sharing that content every 60 days in some new and interesting way.

Tip #6  Social media tools are lifesavers

Want to make creating social media content easier? There’s an app for that!

Here are a few apps that I use DAILY as part of my social media arsenal. I am sharing a link to the app and a quick line about how I use them.

  1. Boomerang: Mini videos that loop back and forth;  I recommend getting the free-standing app rather than just using the feature in the Instagram app.

  2. ImgPlay: GIF maker; quick and super easy image animations.

  3. Planoly: Schedule Instagram posts but one of my favorite features is the ability to create and store hashtags banks and add them to your posts with one tap.

  4. Hootsuite: I like Hootsuite specifically for scheduling on Twitter. (Do not use it for scheduling to LinkedIn.)

  5. Snapseed: Easy, breezy image editing.

  6. Sprout Social: You can use Sprout for a host of functions but I find it most valuable for centralizing your community management needs from all networks.  The reporting functionality is also solid.

Action step: Have your own favorite social media apps in your toolkit? Do tell! I am always looking for new ways to improve my social media game and I’d love to hear about the apps you use! Comment below.