Guest Blog: Some Practical Advice to Getting Started with Social Media

Guest Blog: Some Practical Advice to Getting Started with Social Media

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Some Practical Advice to Getting Started with Social Media

Richard Israel, Senior Director of Local Success, Constant Contact

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you think about how social media is going to be part of your marketing strategy. After all, the conversation has expanded from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to include the likes of Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. And you can bet that the years ahead will be filled with continual changes to these existing networks along with the introduction of new ones.

In the end, you may suffer from a fear of falling behind if you’re not on all of these networks, but the reality is you do not need to be on each and every social media network to be successful with social media marketing. Social media works, but only when you have the resources and the time to invest in it. And when you don’t have a marketing team to help you, managing multiple social media channels can feel impossible.

It’s not only okay to start small, it is strongly encouraged. Focus on ramping one channel at a time, and spend the majority of your time with this channel to evaluate if it works for your business. Then, use the remaining time to investigate another channel that may complement your overall strategy. Post a couple of times a week and start interacting with your customers.

How do you decide where you should focus your time and energy? Think about your goals and who you’re trying to reach:

  • Are you looking to reach new and potential customers?
  • Are you trying to connect with existing customers to increase loyalty?
  • Do you want to build an audience beyond your typical demographic?
  • Who uses each social network and what do they use it for?
  • How are similar organizations using each social network?

Once you've determined your goals, and which social channel you want to get started with, it’s time to build your community. Remember that establishing your presence on social media is a commitment. Don’t get caught building up pages and profiles if you don’t have time for the “social” part. If you’re sacrificing customer relationships just to be in more places, that could run counter to your business goals. To build an engaged community, you need to post great, compelling content on a regular basis. You also have to be willing and able to respond to inquiries and complaints from followers and fans.

Take time to build without spreading yourself thin. Don’t rush to what everyone says is the next big thing when you haven’t gained any ground on your existing social networks.  Instead, work hard to establish yourself among the social media audiences you already have. Make your existing social media networks work before moving onto another one. Over time – based on how engaged your followers are – you’ll learn what works, and you can take what you know succeeds for your organization and apply it again and again to more social networks over time, as you are ready.

To more learn more about social media best practices, and how you can use online tools to grow your business, attend one of the upcoming seminars Constant Contact and Microsoft are hosting in Microsoft Retail Stores across North America.  For more information or to register for a local event, visit: http://www.constantcontact.com/microsoft-seminars.

Comments
  • Excellant advice.

  • Thanks Greg! Are you by chance in the fastener business?

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