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5 Steps to Starting a Social Media channel properly_blog

5 Steps to Starting a Social Media channel properly

Whether it be a brand new or just expanding on your current channels, starting a new social media platform is a critical decision.

But how do you make sure you’re planned, prepped and ready when you hit publish? Make sure you follow our step by step method to starting a new social media channel.

1. Defining your audience

Above all else, this will determine what channel/s you will choose to promote your business on. Aside from Facebook, each channel’s key demographic and purpose can differ greatly.

Only you will know your business best and what your ideal customer is. If you have any insights on your audience from other research, then it’s worth combining it with some other research on Social Media.

You can do this in a few different ways.

Twitter Search

twitter-advanced-search

Go to Twitter and use their advanced search fields. Use common phrases for your industry or search for similar terms your customers would use when talking about your industry. You can customise them to your location so you can see the amount of Tweets being posted in your area about that topic.

When searching results, look for links to other sites that continue the conversation about your industry. They may lead to even more resources you can use to find where your customers are.

Head to Twitter’s advanced search here: https://twitter.com/search-advanced

Instagram Search

instagram-search

Using the Instagram mobile app and desktop sites, you can start to see the key topics being discussed in your industry. Search results will also show your keyword used in any hashtags. Check the hashtag results to see the amount of photos being published using it.

Browse the photos being posted and check the profiles of people posting them. You can find other information about them such as their location and follower account to determine how popular that topic is. Check the other hashtags used in their posts to continue the process on other keywords.

Start searching Instagram here: instagram.com

Facebook Search

facebook-search

No other platform has more information on its user base or a better barometer on what the general public is talking about, than Facebook.

You can use their search field in a couple of different ways. By entering a search term into the search field and browsing the results, or entering a URL into the search field to see the posts linking through to it.

When using the keyword search, check the ‘Pages’, ‘Places’ and ‘Groups’ results. These results will give you the greatest insight into the popularity and type of people that are discussing your industry.

When you find articles talking about your industry, paste the URL into the search field to see who is talking about it. These results will show any public posts by individuals as well as any posts by Pages.

Search Facebook here: search.fb.com

2. Defining your purpose

Before you make any decision, you need to ‘start with the why’. It sounds pretty simple but you would be surprised how many people go head on to things without thinking about them first.

It might be pretty simple, particularly if you are in the initial stages of your business, but it’s worth writing down and keeping it nearby.

Each platform can deliver different types of results so doing this properly can affect what channel/s you end up choosing.

Whether it be exposure, leads, conversions or any other type of goal make sure you write it down. You can download the worksheet with this process at the end of this blog post. In the meantime, I’ve outlined the main social media channels and their MAIN outcomes in the table below. Note that these are without any advertising spend put behind the marketing.

social-media-channels

The main benefits of each Social Media channel

3. Choosing the right channel

There was once a belief that a ‘be everywhere’ approach was the best method of increasing your Social Media results. The truth is that now each channel’s purpose and audience base have come accustomed to seeing the best type of content that fits that channel and use it for that reason.

So while it might seem intuitive to reach as many people as possible, for most of us that simply isn’t possible or a viable option.

It’s important to choose the channel that is right for your fans, not just for you and what is easiest.

Using the information you collated in Step 1 ‘Defining Your Audience’ you can now use this to match it with the type of audiences that use each channel.

Note that there are always exceptions to the rule and that audiences can shift and change, but making an educated decision is the best option for you right now.

So what are the main demographics for each channel? The folks at Sprout Social have compiled a handy guide below:

Social Media Demographics for Marketers

We also recommend the following resources and further reading to gain a better insight into who uses which channel:

We’ll add more here as they change so be sure to check back.

4. Preparing for launch

You’ve followed the steps, you know which channel to choose and now it’s time to secure your profile or page and start promoting.

But what should you do before signing up?

  1. Check that your preferred business name is available by doing a simple search
  2. Find what other businesses use a similar name to yours
  3. Have your business information readily available so you can fill out your details on your profile. This could include:
    1. Business name
    2. Address
    3. Phone Number
    4. Opening Hours
    5. Description of services
  4. Make sure your password is VERY strong to keep your account secure. Consider using a password management service and we recommend Facebook Business Manager to help manage roles and user permissions for your page.
  5. Have a profile and cover image ready. Not all platforms will require this but you can get the full measurements for each by expanding the image below.
  6. Have your first post ready to publish. Even if it is a ‘Welcome to our account’ post, when you direct people there you want to have something they can engage with when they arrive.

Ok, so you’re now live, congratulations!

Taking the plunge and expanding your marketing efforts is a big step and you should be really proud.

Now it’s time to spread the word. Initially, cross promotion will be your best method. Whether it’s directing users from one platform to another, mentioning it in a blog post or an email to your subscriber base – word of mouth will be your best bet for initially creating some buzz.

5. Maintaining and managing your presence

The excitement of branching out on Social Media can sometimes be short lived. Particularly if you haven’t planned and prepared for the work that lay ahead.

Here are some tips to help keep you on track.

Consistency is key

Particularly in the early stages, setting the expectations for your new followers is a valuable tactic to keep them engaged. But you only get one chance, so staying on a regular schedule is critical.

Plan and Prepare

Having a well thought out plan on when and how you will stay consistent will help you do just that. It also helps you allocate and measure what resources you will need to help with the promotion.

You’re in this for the long run, so be realistic with what is possible when it comes to posting, engaging and creating content.

Be Personable

When you initially build your following you have a fantastic opportunity to create a unique connection with your new fans.

Make them feel welcome and surprise them by personally thanking them for following or engaging with you. Even better, if you can call them out directly it really hits home. It helps them feel part of something bigger and part of a community which works wonders when your following grows and they engage with other followers.

Play It Smart

You need to do the work, that’s pretty simple but there are ways to do it smarter so you can save time (and money) while focusing on the things that matter.

Using the right tools is key to helping you achieve this:

Co-Schedule

We use Co Schedule to get a clearer picture of our content marketing and social media marketing efforts. We haven’t found a similar tool like it that does as good a job as Co-Schedule does.

You can automate promotions, schedule well ahead of time and their templates make things much easier to apply to all existing content.

Sign up for a free trial here: coschedule.com

Building a community is two-way street, so what do we use to engage back?

Actually, we keep it pretty simple. We find that each social media channel has got their apps/websites to a point that it’s pretty easy to manage directly from them.

You might like to search for more content on Twitter though, so we recommend using Tweetdeck. It’s owned by Twitter so it’s a glorified Twitter feed that gives you everything you need + much more!

It’s free and you can sign up here: tweetdeck.twitter.com

So, your turn! What Social Media channel will you take the plunge on next? Has this helped guide your decision?

Maybe you have more questions, feel free to ask us in the comments, we’re happy to help!