5 Step Plan for Launching Your Business on Social Media

Whether it’s well-established or a startup, every business needs to be on at least one social media platform.

Not only do business owners need to use social media, but they also need to know how to utilize the platforms the right way.

“Nearly three-quarters of American adults use social media — making it a critical part of any business strategy,” according to Hootsuite, a content management system, and Pew Research Center.

Woman scrolling through her social media feed.

Social media provides an outlet to express your brand, mission, products, and employees. By establishing a presence on social media, you can build a community of existing customers and introduce new customers to your business.

Social media is the place where customers in your niche, or a specific industry, will browse for educational information rather than over-the-top promotional content.

This process isn’t as intimidating as it may appear. Once you get your feet wet and learn about the platforms you want to use, your business will see growth and a sense of community.

By following these five steps, your business will be ready to launch on social media.

  1. Create a Plan

To achieve a set of goals, there has to be a clear, measurable, and attainable plan in place that is accessible to all involved. This plan can begin with establishing what message you want to get across.

Startup business meeting where the people are taking notes.

While it may be hard to know where to start, it is imperative to start anyway. You have to start somewhere.

2. Know Your Audience

Once a plan is established, you can start narrowing down who your audience is — or the people who buy your products or use your services the most.

“By understanding who these people are, you can tailor content to their needs, provide specific types of service and support they’re seeking, and ensure your product or service will resolve any challenges they’re experiencing,” according to HubSpot, a content management system.

Your audience can be categorized by age, gender, ethnicity, location, or hobbies, to name a few. Your audience can be determined by analyzing customer data or by taking note of who walks through your doors.

3. Research the Platforms

Since there are so many social media platforms to choose from, it is certainly worth your time to learn a bit about each one. Any business could successfully use the majority of these platforms. Here are the summaries of some popular sites and a few industry types that should use them, according to Hootsuite.

Social Media platforms that are available.

Facebook: social networking site based on sharing posts, stories, and pictures with friends. Facebook can be utilized by businesses that have established customers or want to create a common place for their customers to learn more about each other, the products, and member-only type of information.

Instagram / Pinterest: photo-sharing sites. Instagram can be for businesses that sell visually-appealing products (makeup; clothing; food; sporting goods). The image or video representation of your product or service can help build a loyal community. Pinterest is more for content curation where users can save, share, and discuss upcoming trends. This can be helpful if your business is looking to bring awareness to emerging trends and if you want to bring traffic to your website.

Twitter: micro-blogging site. Twitter is for rapid formal or informal information sharing. Twitter can best be used by businesses that want to establish a following dedicated to news updates, information, or a fun type of brand (marketing companies; political organizations; sport-related).

Social Media apps including Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook.

LinkedIn: business networking site for making connections to people or businesses in your industry or location. LinkedIn can be used by service-driven businesses (legal firms; tax firms; media companies). LinkedIn is ideal for building connections to other companies or individuals in your industry rather than potential customers or clients.

Snapchat / TikTok: video and picture sharing sites. Snapchat and TikTok can be used by businesses that want to sell visually-appealing products or show behind-the-scenes into their operations or about their employees (nail salon; clothing). Hootsuite recommends using these sites only if you have a clear and specific plan for your posts and have the available resources that you need to run a successful campaign.

4. Assign Someone the Task of Maintaining Your Pages

One common mistake made early on when developing a social media presence is to have multiple employees run one platform and not have one person dedicated to running the pages, according to Buffer, a social media management and assisting company.

Sprout Social, a social media optimization and management company, found that people’s top choice for customer service is to check social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter, before checking the website, emailing, calling, or going to the store. Since customer comments, replies, and private messages are more likely and more frequent than ever puts more emphasis on social media attentiveness.

5. Commit to the Process

It can be tempting to put social media on the back burner, but it needs to be given the same priority as any other major or on-going project is. It can be daunting to begin for businesses that have no experience, but the process has to start somewhere.

“Above all, be sure that your social posts offer value,” Hootsuite said. “If all you do is pitch and sell, there’s very little motivation for people to follow you. Remember, social marketing is all about building relationships. Be human. Be honest. Post great content.”

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Samantha Hart

Content creator, writer, and marketer. Editor at GrowthFest.