For small businesses just starting out, creating a presence on social media can seem overwhelming. You know you need to do it. You know it’s important. But where do you begin? Simply creating an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+ isn’t enough. Social media is about sharing, interacting and building a following.

The first step in joining the social media world is to figure out the objective of your social media presence. It doesn’t matter if you update your Facebook status every 10 minutes if no one is reading it or the information you’re posting serves no purpose.

Create your social media plan of attack by asking yourself who, what, where, when and why.

Who is your target audience?

By determining your audience, you’ll also be able to establish your voice. When you’re using social media, figure out who you’re talking to. You may have multiple target audiences and these audiences can change depending on the social media platform you’re using, but you should always have your audience in mind when posting content.

What do you want to say?

Decide what you want to tell your audience. Although individual posts will vary, it’s important to create brand harmony. You’ll want to identify the overall message you’d like to convey to your audience and create posts that reinforce this message. When determining what information you’d like to share, it’s critical to remember your overall objective and the audience you’re sharing the information with. It’s also important to think about how you are going to reply to followers. Because social media promotes two-way conversations, replying to customers is key. Although you won’t know ahead of time what customers are going to say or ask you, you should still consider the voice you want to have in your replies.

Where to share?

As you’re creating your social media objective, think about where and how you’re going to share the information. For example, when sharing information on Twitter, you’re only allowed 140 characters, whereas Facebook posts can be much longer.

When to post?

It’s important to post frequently and consistently. Plan ahead – make a list of the topics or information you’d like to share and then put the topics on a calendar. By organizing your posts in a calendar format, you will be able to keep your content fresh and relevant.

Why you are using social media?

Perhaps the most important step in creating your social media objective is identifying why you’re using social media. Do you wish to increase sales? Are you seeking to become an authority in your industry? Having a clear objective from the very beginning helps ensure that you’re always posting with a purpose.

Once you’ve created an objective for your social media campaign, it’s time to start posting and interacting with followers. When you’re first starting out, your social media accounts can feel more intimate and you’ll have the opportunity to communicate and connect with followers on a more personal level. This is a great opportunity to learn about your audience and establish a sense of brand loyalty amongst them.



  • Steven Spencer, July 15, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

    Very simple and easy to follow tips here Hannah. How do you think that Pinterest fits into the mix? I know that as far as growth goes, they are outpacing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram both in growth of numbers and active users. I also read that Pinterest users are the most likely social media consumers to go out and spend money based on what they see/do on Pinterest.

  • Boostability, July 17, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

    I think Facebook is still dominating the market in terms of overall sales, and also has the highest ecommerce conversion rate. Pinterest has a slightly better avg. order value than Facebook, but not by much. Both are higher than Instagram and Twitter though.

  • Jamison Michael Furr, July 17, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

    I think Facebook is still dominating the market in terms of overall sales, and also has the highest ecommerce conversion rate. Pinterest has a slightly better avg. order value than Facebook, but not by much. Both are higher than Instagram and Twitter though.

    This is a bit outdated, but I really like the breakdown here:

  • Steven Spencer, July 17, 2015 @ 1:42 pm

    Thanks for the answer, that is good info!

  • Jeremy Lindstrom, July 17, 2015 @ 5:05 pm

    Hannah, I would shout the “why” from rooftops if that weren’t really weird and an ineffective way to communicate. I see so many companies who just have FB pages or Twitter accounts because they “should.” Being on social media just because you think you should is worse than not being on social media at all. A company needs a reason and a plan or social media hurts them.

  • Jamison Michael Furr, July 20, 2015 @ 4:06 pm

    There’s a key point right there – bad social media that gives a potential customer a poor first impression is in fact worse than no social media at all.

  • Maria Williams, July 21, 2015 @ 10:27 am

    Great blog Hannah ! it’s important for business to be involve in social media. I like to follow my favorite restaurants, stores, and food trucks. I like when food trucks tweet where are they going to be and also when they reply to their customer !

  • Caz*, July 28, 2015 @ 9:32 pm

    I completely agree, but where do you draw the line? Any time a post appears out of the norm or as a mistake, I tend to get rid of it right away, but sometimes that leaves nothing to show on less active pages.

  • Caz*, July 28, 2015 @ 9:45 pm

    The opposite is also true. In my years with Sony Music, soooooo many new bands ONLY had Facebook pages and didn’t even have a website. They thought this was all they needed because that is where their fans are. In truth, it automatically built up their failure in making it big. Any Internet user that has been around since BG (before Google) understands very personally how these online ideas are temporary and ever-changing. As they change, people drop off, communication gets caught off, your followers are gone. While Facebook hasn’t dropped off, MySpace sure did which hurt a lot of these bands, and no social media network will ever replace the fact that no matter what your demographic, you’re going to be searched on Google first with the expectation of a website. We want to go straight to Tour information, photos, videos, without having to scroll through a million Facebook posts.

  • Jamison Michael Furr, July 30, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

    I think ultimately you just have to ask yourself the question, “Do the cons that come from this low quality post/content/etc outweigh the cons that would come from just not having anything there?” Sometimes that will be a fine line, but a lot of the time I think the answer will be obvious when asked that way. If your posts are really lame and you’re supposed to be a hip company, yeah I think you’re better off just not doing those posts.

  • Caz*, August 20, 2015 @ 1:00 am

    That’s the perfect way of putting it. Having a flood of bad, overlooked, unsearchable content isn’t going to help anyone. It will either get entirely ignored or you’ll start building enemies online.

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