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5 Tips for the Social Media Beginner

chessStarting out in social media can feel a little like being lost in a maze. But don’t panic!

Once you get hold of a map and learn how to navigate social media, it can be a valuable resource for your business.

Where else can you:

* Advertise your products and services

* Connect with your customers

* Resolve customer issues

* Generate new leads

* Network with other businesses

* Drive traffic to your site

All from the comfort of your computer?

Social media is well worth an investment of your time and money.

To get started on social media, follow these top 5 tips.

1. Have a plan

It’s tempting to jump in feet first and see where you end up. But social media is a part of your marketing strategy, so do your business a favour and take some time to plan your social media campaign.

Ask yourself some questions:

1. What do I want to achieve? A buzz? Better traffic? Customer relations? You now have your social media goals.

2. What is the best way to achieve this? Contests? Networking? Creating shareable content? Build a plan that will best meet your aims.

3. Which resources am I going to dedicate to this? Treat your social media like any other task and allocate resources to it.

2. Have a way of measuring your goals

OK, you’ve got your plan.

But when an ice dancer nails a complicated turn, the judges don’t simply say “that was pretty” – they give scores. Think about how you are going to measure whether your social media plan gets ten out of 10 or a big thumbs down.

You could:

1. Track how many likes / mentions / adds you get so you can chart your progress.

2. Make use of your website stats to see where your traffic is coming from and which social media is most effective.

3. Evaluate the returns you get versus the time you invested. What works and what doesn’t?

3. Have a presence

It’s tempting to throw yourself at all the social media at once, but hold on just a second. It’s better to get each of your profiles looking polished and professional – and most importantly active – one at a time.

Here’s how:

1. Fill them out fully. Include your company’s logo and tagline wherever you can. Each profile should clearly display your brand and message.

2. Take time to learn how each site works and how to connect with the best people for your business. Then do that.

3. Keep active – get a feel for how often each type of social media gets updated by its users, and work towards matching that.

4. Have something to say

When you first get started on social media, you want people to look at what you do and think “that’s great, I must tell my friends / talk to this person / spend money with this company.”

The best way to get people’s attention is to have something interesting to say:

1. Create content your users will want to share and link back to.

2. Connect with your customers and start a conversation with them.

3. Network with others in your field and learn from each other.

5. Have a blast

Enthusiasm is infectious! If you enjoy your social media and make the most of your presence there, you’re far more likely to generate a buzz:

1. Show visitors how much you value them with courteous, swift replies to queries or complaints.

2. Take time to say thanks for attention and likes you receive – even a quick update saying “thanks for all the likes” lets users know you appreciate them.

3. Be yourself – let customers connect with the real you by being genuine and authentic – this is a great way to build loyalty.

With a bit of planning and a spirit of adventure, your foray into social media can be a rewarding and profitable experience.

You’ve got the map – time to go and get the treasure.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, social media, financial software, and business.

Image Credit: begin.

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