Social Media 101
Social media can be a valuable marketing tool, if your business is suited for it, and it’s part of the holistic marketing strategy we recommend to all our clients. But where do you start when you’re using social media for your business? And if you’ve already started, are you using it correctly? Here are some social media basics that apply to everyone and answer the big questions.
Which social media platforms should I use?
Every business should have a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, even if that’s not your primary emphasis. Beyond that, it really does depend on your business, and it’s hard for me to make recommendations across the board. I’ve recommended Twitter to some clients and had others delete their profiles. If your products are visual, Instagram and Pinterest may be the perfect niches for you. Think about where your customers are and where your products fit into their lives.
What should I be posting?
A lot of helpful content mixed with a little self promotion. I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule: Talk about others 80% of the time and yourself only 20%. Really think about those numbers. If you post 10 times a week, that means you should only post something self-serving twice. Beyond that, make sure you’re posting things people are interested in. Here are some ideas for posts.
- Ask for advice
- Blog links (others)
- Case studies
- Comics or memes
- Favorite books or tools
- Industry news
- Product recommendations
- Quality images
- Questions or polls
- Behind-the-scenes photos
- Blog links (own)
- Company news
When is the best time to post?
Probably weekday afternoons/evenings. Again, this will depend on your audience, but studies have found that people are most often on social media when they get off work (probably stuck in Tampa rush-hour traffic at 275 and Dale Mabry), making weekends bad posting times. You can find out when your audience is online by looking at your page insights/analytics. I recommend running some tests for 2-3 months to see when people are most likely to interact with your content and then making your own schedules.
How often should I post?
Frequency isn’t as important as regularity. If you’re posting once a day, three times a week, or twice a day, make sure you stick to a regular schedule. Use a free scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to frontload posts and space them out mindfully. Start out slowly and only increase posting frequency if you find your efforts worthwhile.
Should I spend money on paid ads?
Rarely. Paid ads may earn more followers for you, but having more followers doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make more money, and you may be better off investing that money in something else. If you do use a paid ad, remember two things.
- First, always set the demographics for your target audience as narrow as possible so the people who see your ads are more likely to be interested in your product.
- Second, have one clear purpose for the ad. Whether it’s liking your page, clicking a link, or sharing with friends, make sure what’s next is clear.
Should I follow other pages?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. One of the biggest mistakes companies make when using social media is forgetting the “social” aspect of it. Like, share, and comment on others’ posts and pages regularly and frequently. There are plenty of correlating industries you can like and interact with that aren’t competitors.
If you have any other questions about getting your company started on social media—or for my advice on how to improve your current social media profiles—feel free to reach out to me.
About the author
I'm Autumn Nicholson, Director of Internet Marketing. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina. I joined Farmore Marketing in 2014 to put my internet marketing experience to good use—and to spend more time on the beach. I invest much of my time volunteering for nonprofits, reading, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. You can connect with me here: