April 1, 2019
By: Jennifer Amundson, director of social media and communications at Deluxe
We talk to hundreds of businesses during each season of Small Business Revolution—Main Street, and we regularly hear confusion when they talk about social media. They know it can be powerful, but they are challenged to keep track of the various platforms and rules. It eats the precious resources of time and brainpower. Social media is especially overwhelming to start using professionally for people who don’t use it personally.
So, what is the best way to get started on social media? Here’s are my suggestions for first steps:
1. Start and don’t stop
For starters, choose the major platform that makes the most sense to you personally, be it Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter. Commit to posting once a day for a while and you should start to feel more comfortable. Remember, it takes time to build an audience and viral content that produces a big splash is rare. Set a time on your calendar at least once a day to reply to your followers and add new content. Make sure you post interesting photos and keep your writing brief. Encourage your customers to follow or like your page. Check which posts get the most response and figure out why. Then keep trying. The nice thing about social media is, most of the time, you can try again. It doesn’t take long when you make it a habit. After you’ve gotten comfortable with one platform, start looking at others to see if they make sense for your business.
2. Get the (inexpensive) tools needed to create photos and video
A smart phone, a $35 holder and a $20 tripod will go a long way to improve your images. Those three things will free up your hands to move around the items in your photo and improve your composition. If you are feeling brave, you can set up your tripod selfie-style for a video of yourself using your products or doing something active.
Two more easy (and free!) tips to improve your images:
- Get your camera to the level of your subjects, even if you have to lay on the floor or climb a ladder to do it.
- Put the windows behind the photographer to shine the best light on your indoor subjects.
Check out this article in Deluxe’s Small Business Resource Center for more ideas.
3. Answer your critics and your reviewers
Everyone loves to talk to their fans, but answering complaints is harder. Most of the time, you want to take your complainers off your public-facing social media site and talk to them one-to-one through private message or email. You can do that with a simple comment under their complaint: “Thank you for letting us know. Will you send us a private message with your email address or phone number? We want to find out more and try to resolve the situation.” That lets your other followers know you are engaged and takes the conflict/resolution discussion into a less visible space.
While you’re at it, check to see if people are leaving reviews of your business. You can thank them for their nice words. Interaction will encourage them, and your other followers, to become loyal customers.
Interested in this topic? You can find more resources for getting started in Deluxe’s Small Business Resource Center.