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Social media for business: How to get started
Do you have a love/hate relationship with Twitter and Facebook?
If you’re a business owner, then at some point you have undoubtedly been told that you need to be on Twitter and Facebook and probably LinkedIn too. You may well be heartily sick of being told it and be stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that there is any such thing as social media.
The only problem with that policy is that while you DON’T have to be on social media to run a successful business, you are almost undoubtedly losing business to another similar business which is. If you’re happy with that. that’s fine. Stop reading now.
If, however, you’re not, then I’m hoping that these five realistic tips – from setting up a Facebook page to how to schedule tweets – will help you be on social media without wanting to tear your hair out.
1. Start with either Facebook or Twitter.
Social media experts up and down the land will tell you that you need to be on both.
Fact is, you don’t need to do anything.
The more social media you are on the better but being on any is a positive step in the right direction. Which one? That depends on your business and your customers. If the idea of posting more than one update a day fills you with dread then set up a Facebook page. If you’re a shop of any kind, I’d also go for Facebook. If what you do is targeted at other business owners, then Twitter may be a better place to start.
2. Don’t panic. It’s not complicated to create a page or an account.
Facebook and Twitter and every other social media want you to be on their sites, so it is very straightforward to create a Twitter account or add a business page.
On Facebook, see that downward arrow on the blue banner at the top of your personal account? Click on it, and very near the top will be the option to “create a page”. Alternatively, follow this link.
There will be questions to answer, but they are all geared towards helping you and there are lots of choices for each one. Both Facebook and Twitter have business help centres which are enormously helpful, and never underestimate the power of Google. Whatever question you have, somebody else has almost certainly asked it before.
3. Invite your friends to like your page
Just for Facebook this one: Once you’ve set up a business page, invite your friends to like it. You can invite as many at once as you like. You do this by clicking on the three dots below your page’s cover page. One of the options is “Invite Friends”. Once they have liked your page, they should receive all the updates you post. If they’re especially good friends you could consider asking them to invite their friends to like the page too.
4. Use some form of scheduling tool.
Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to write a whole load of updates at once and schedule when you want them to be published. That means you only have to think about your social media as often as you want. I write a whole load of tweets twice a week – one lot on Monday morning covering Tuesday-Friday and another lot on Friday covering Saturday-Monday. That means I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the week if I don’t feel like it or I’m busy.
5. Try to have fun and don’t overthink it.
When it comes to business, Facebook, Twitter and every other social media are all about getting your business where people will see it. So just like with blogs, your status updates don’t have to be about your business. If people will want to read them, comment on them and share them with friends, then they have done their job and your business has received some publicity which it wouldn’t have otherwise.
Claire House is a Wirral-based children’s hospice which helps seriously and terminally ill children live life to the full by creating wonderful experiences and bringing back a sense of normality to family life, offering specialist nursing care and emotional support to families in the toughest of circumstances.
Are you running your own business? If so, why?
It’s a serious question, especially if you’re just getting started or just about to.
Whoever you are and whatever you do, chances are there is an organisation you know which would benefit from some extra publicity.
That could be a business you run, a group you are a part of – from the local Brownies troupe to the pub darts team – or a cafe or shop you like to frequent.
I am a professional writer and blogger.
I web design too but much of what business advisers call my “offer” or my “USP” (ie what I can do for you and your business) revolves around the fact that I have lots of experience as a writer.
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That was where I ended up recently when I was asked to do some freelance travel writing for Trinity Mirror.
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