Social Media Readiness 1.0

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In recent years, social media marketing has gradually increased in importance. This is because more people (consumers) are spending their time on social media sites; half of all Internet users have social media accounts. That means by using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other sites, you’ll have access to millions of potential customers or clients.

For many, however, businesses are unsure they can use social media to promote their services or goods. They may not know how to set up a business profile on the different platforms of social media.  The opportunity for businesses to have multiple accounts on several social sites, but often don;t understand how building a social media presence will  contribute to their business. This could be due to  several factors, but sometimes, it’s because the account manager (SEO) has not set up the site efficiently.

While there are many different social media platforms out there, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are some of the most useful sites for businesses. Here is a road map and some useful tips on how to get started with 4 leading sites.

Facebook

If you already have a personal account on Facebook, you probably have a basic idea about how the site works. However, there are a few key differences between a personal account and a business page. First and foremost, a personal account is centered on a user and cannot be transferred to another person. A business page can be transferred; you just need to attach the account to a specific email address. A business page’s main function is account management and advertising.

Creating a Facebook page for your business is easy. You just need an email address and a little information about your business. Be sure to provide as much information as possible so that customers can find you and learn about your business. Don’t forget a cover photo and profile picture – an image really is worth a thousand words in the world of social media. Also, remember to adjust your privacy settings so users can easily access and like your page.

  1. Review the Facebook for Business overview and this Facebook business page how-to

  2. Create a universal email to connect all of your Facebook page accounts

  3. Fill out all necessary information about your business (contact info, business description)

  4. Upload a branded profile photo (usually your logo) and a branded cover photo

  5. Adjust your privacy settings so anyone can see, like, comment, and share your content

The great thing about Facebook’s business pages is that you can tailor them to meet your needs. If you’ll only be using Facebook for advertising, you’ll be directed to the advertising screen when you log in. Facebook also lets you link a credit card to your page so you can easily purchase ads. By the same token, you’ll be directed to a page management homepage if you don’t advertise on the site.

  1. Review the Facebook Advertising overview

  2. Set up a Facebook ads account for each of your pages

  3. Explore the options you have for creating ads (types of ads, ad placement, demographics)

Facebook gives you the opportunity to manage multiple account pages, which is useful if you have one person marketing for several branches of your business. You can also advertise and manage pages from the same account. In any case, you should consider using the Power Editor extension for Google Chrome – it will make the process a lot faster.

  1. Familiarize yourself with how to connect multiple Facebook ad accounts

  2. Explore Power Editor and what it offers

*See also: A Marketer’s Guide to Facebook Marketing for 2014

Twitter

Chances are, you’re also at least a little familiar with Twitter. The site has become incredibly pervasive in society – hash tags are even listed in movie trailers. Similar to Facebook, it’s not very hard to set up a Twitter account for your business. You just need some basic information and a photo to get started.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter business accounts and personal accounts are the same. However, you should have a clear idea of how you want to use Twitter for your business. This is because you’ll need to create a handle for your Twitter, while keeping your biography under 160 characters.

A handle is what others will use to find you and interact with your business on the site. For example, if your handle is “johndoe”, users would tweet to you by typing @johndoe. Handles are limited to 15 characters, but your handle counts as part of your tweet. For example, if someone tweets you and your handle is 10 characters, they only have 130 characters left to type what they want to tell you. That’s why it’s important to keep the handle short and sweet, but make sure it still clearly represents your business.

Twitter also lets you have a profile picture, a background and design headers. Your profile picture should be simple and professional, but the background and design header are great opportunities for branding. Experiment with different combinations and choose one that reflects your business, but doesn’t distract users from the text on the page.

  1. Create a Twitter account for your business like you’d set up a Twitter account for yourself

  2. Choose a branded handle name, ideally your business name

  3. Fill in your profile with a simple, to the point sentence about your business

  4. Add your website URL to your profile

  5. If you’re a local business, or have a physical place, add your location to your profile

  6. Upload a profile image (your logo), branded cover photo, and branded background design

  7. If you plan on focusing your social media campaign on Twitter, look into Twitter Advertising

*See also:7 Easy Steps To Turn Your Twitter Account Into A SEO Magnet

Google+

You may not be as familiar with Google+ as you are with the other two platforms, though it’s still easy to use. You just need some basic information and images to get started. Like Facebook, Google+ business accounts are different from personal accounts. Personal accounts and business accounts operate the same way they do on Facebook. What you post from your business account will be associated with the business and what you post from your personal account will be associated with you.

However, you’ll need to have an account on the site before you can create one for your business. It’s also important to remember that any articles you post from either account will show you as the author – not your business. This can be a good thing though, because it shows customers that a real person is behind the business. Just be careful about using your real name on your personal account. It’s important to realize that your activity on the site can impact your business.

One of the cool things about using Google+ is that you can customize your page through plugins. For example, Google+ lets you to link your WordPress account to the site. This allows you to easily share your blog with Google+ users. You can even link guest posts to your Google+, which makes sharing your articles easier than ever.

  1. Learn about what Google+ can do for your business

  2. Sign into your personal Google+ page OR Create a dummy personal Google+ page using the name of your business to use

  3. Fill out all appropriate information for your business (company description, contact info)

  4. Upload a branded profile photo and cover photo

*See also: The SEO Value of a Google+ Profile [INFOGRAPHIC]

Instagram

Just getting started on Instagram? Here are some steps you can take to make sure your brand takes full advantage of the platform right away. We’ve included Support links for each step in case you need any further explanation of how something works.

  1. Sign up for an Instagram account and choose a username that clearly represents your brand

  2. Add a profile photo, a biography and a link to your website

  3. Connect your account to Facebook and many other third-party sharing sites where you have an account (Profile > Edit sharing settings). This will allow you to: Share photos to those services, including your brand’s Facebook page if you are an Apple iOS user (we hope to make this feature available for Android in the future).Let your Facebook friends find you easily when using our Find Friends tool (Profile > Find Friends > Facebook Friends). It will also create a news story in Instagram for anyone who follows you on Facebook and has connected their Facebook account to Instagram.Announce to your Facebook followers that you’re on Instagram. Let them know your Instagram username and show non-iPhone/Android followers where they can see your Instagram photos.Use and search tags to connect with your audience:

Tips for using hashtags

Start sharing photos on Instagram and across your other social networks. Fast Company has a helpful article on how to give your fans a distinctive view on Instagram. Here are a few different types of photos that other folks are sharing:

Sneak peeks: @abcworldnews posts photos related to news stories that will air later in the day: http://instagr.am/p/EDdXE/

Behind-the-scenes: The rock band the Foo Fighters (@foofighters) gives their fans a glimpse into life on tour: http://instagr.am/p/GT3ks/

HQ photos: @threadless takes followers into their workspace: http://instagr.am/p/DjgO2/

Unique to brand: @katespadeny snaps photos related to lifestyle and fashion:http://instagr.am/p/EZswb/

Now that you have a road map I hope you can take a dip or a dive into the Social Media pool.  I am  always available for consulting engagements and training seminars.

Please do not hesitate to send me questions or inquires. I look forward to connecting and collaborating – Look@look-solutions.com

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