Social Media 101

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Whether your business sells formal wear or repairs appliances, growing your customer base and getting repeat business is all about building relationships. Unfortunately, you can only have one-on-one conversations with a handful of people. Social media has opened up a new avenue for interacting with customers, strengthening relationships and establishing connections, all while distributing your message.

There are literally dozens on social sites out there and it seems like a new one pops up each week. For small business that are just dipping their toes into social media and have limited amounts of time and resources to dedicate to the effort, knowing where to start can be confusing.

One of the best small business marketing tips is to start small and scale up after you see success. Rather than joining every social media site, start with one or two of the most popular sites and build a strong following. After establishing a consistent posting routine and mastering the art of interacting, consider adding another site to your content marketing plan.

Facebook

This social media giant has dominated the field for years and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In January 2015, Facebook broke new records with 1.39 billion active users. Each day, an average of 890 million people look at their Facebook feeds and 745 million people do it on their mobile devices.

If your business is just stepping into the social media arena, make Facebook your first account. Once you set up a business page, post daily with a combination of written content, links and photos. Though all social media sites are geared toward interacting with your followers, Facebook is where you will receive the most messages and responses. Be sure to have a plan in place for replying and engaging with your followers.

Twitter

Another heavy-hitter in the social media game, Twitter has 302 million active users, 80% of which access the service on mobile devices. Each day, an average of 500 million tweets are sent.

Twitter is all about bite-sized bursts of information. Each tweet is limited to just 140 characters. Before you start typing, plan how to get the most value for the limited space. To form relationships and connections through Twitter, your business will need to retweet, favorite and reply to the tweets of your followers. Try to follow the 80 / 20 rule by making 80% of your Twitter activity interactions with other users and 20% new content. Be sure to place a hashtag before each keyword of your message. Hashtags are not only important to the Twitter search feature, they are a content marketing phenomena that will showcase your social savvy.

Instagram

Since 2010, Instagram has been the go-to spot for sharing images. Currently, 300 million active users post 70 million photos each day.

Though you can create your businesses Instagram account from your PC, the platform is geared toward mobile usage. In fact, you will need to post images from a mobile phone or tablet. To grab attention on the fast-moving social site, you will need to post high-quality images frequently. Over 70% of Instagram users are women between the ages of 18 and 25, making the service a must-have for any business targeting the female market.

Writer Bio: Michelle S is a fulltime freelance writer with a serious Instagram addiction. She also enjoys cute animal videos on YouTube and finding new fashion inspiration on Pinterest. 


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