Learning how to use social media for the business

The process of setting up the online business has been a challenging and rewarding learning experience. For someone who knew very little about social media and its different resources, I can definitely say that’s now changed. I had no idea how useful it can be for a company, not to mention vital.

Through research and help, we found our way, and now we want to share (in brief) the important steps we took in developing our social media plan:

1- Define your goals

What will you be using social media for? What are you aiming for? Be clear of your mission and use social media to foster engagement, interaction and recognition of our brand. It can be a way of reaching out to followers not only entertain them through carefully thought-out posts, but to also give back.

2 – Research, research, research!

I cannot stress how important this is, before doing anything else. Know what’s out there, what already exists and what companies already successful. Why not learn from the best and apply it to your own practices?

For example, Ikea has an excellent blog. Instead of posting products, they share helpful insight on what you can do with certain spaces, where they got the inspiration for some of their designs, and even some humorous comics. This is instantly appealing to their vast audience.

3 – Define your key audiences

Through your research you should discover who your target market is based on age, demographics and psychographics. This is an extremely important component, because everything you will be doing on social media should be tailored to your audiences.

4 – Find the right tactics for each platform

First you’ve got to know the different platforms that exist, and what each of them has to offer; look into the ones most commonly used by businesses, as a start. Next, through further research you should determine which age groups use which platforms most, and create your posts while keeping this in mind. Pew Research came out with results showing that Facebook is the most-used social-networking platform for adults Internet users. Conversations on this platform should be tailored to suit such users and engage them.

Twitter is also a useful platform for businesses to build relationships with their customers, and the best way to engage followers is to inspire them through creative and captivating tweets. On Pinterest, posts should be visually appealing since users are on it for this feature.

5 – Create a content calendar

This is a simple calendar that keeps you organized and keeps track of when you will post what onto what platform. It’s simply a schedule. The reason why it’s so important is that you can look ahead and know when it’s best to make certain posts of engagement and start conversations.

6 – Start evaluating

Once you start posting, tweeting, sharing etc., you should start evaluating your influence to know what is working and what isn’t. Measure your conversation influence using useful analytics sites like Topsy and twittonomy. On Twitter you can also check the amount of tweets and retweets. It’s important to keep track of this in determining your reach and interaction.

With social media, it’s best to experiment and try new things, especially once you’ve already established your online presence. The most successful tactics have been ones where companies took risks aimed in a positive direction, and in turn sparked lots of engagement.

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