November 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Social Media Getting Started Guide

"Don’t think you have to spend many hours a week on this, but you do need to keep a steady presence"

By Polly White

Santa Fe Business Musings

Polly White is a local business owner, active community member and astronomy geek.

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Many small business owners are saying to me that they want to have social media in place, but they think it’s too much time or too complicated. I manage social media for many small businesses in Santa Fe, and this is my advice for those who are looking to get started on their own:

1) Decide which one you want to start with. Don’t overwhelm yourself with starting with too many at once. Pick one.

  • If you have videos already made, definitely go with YouTube. YouTube is the second most-used search engine in the world, after Google. If you don’t have videos now, don’t worry, go back to that later.
  • If you have friends and connections on Facebook already, create a facebook business page. Your friends and connections that are already on Facebook can give you a good start in getting “Likes” for your page. I suggest going on Facebook to see which of your competitors are already there.

  • If you are a professional, an independent entrepreneur or other administrator, manager, or executive, you definitely need to have a profile up on LinkedIn. Building a professional network here for referrals is very valuable. There will also be lots of groups both locally and professionally that you may want to join. I recommend LinkedIn for everyone, and say that it is a necessity for the folks listed above.
  • If your area of business or potential market is on Twitter, start there. You can go onTtwitter and search for #yourbusiness, #yourproducts, to see what’s already going on there.

  • And of course, blogging is great. I use WordPress because the interface is so simple and straightforward. It’s a great writing exercise and it does wonders for your search engine rankings if it is tied to your website and other social media. Generating content that can actually help people, and that people want to readm will get people engaged and talking about what you do.

  • If you sell interesting, photogenic products, real estate, etc., take a serious look at Pinterest.com.
  • Google+ is there, it’s worth looking at, but I wouldn’t recommend starting starting with that. Add that later if you like it and have connections there.

  • There are other social media platforms out there, and you may find some that are specific to your industry.

2) Keep it in perspective.

Remember that social media marketing is just one piece in this matrix of the marketing world. Your website is key, and the rankings of where you come up in search engines are also important. I suggest using the Google adwords keyword tool to find out what exact phrases people are typing in when they are searching for what you do.

Social media plays a great role here in driving traffic to your website, your blog and any other sources. All of these links and connections will help drive traffic to increase your visibility and  your sales. And it doesn’t happen overnight. You need to keep at it, at whatever pace you like, and know that it will grow, and the growth will help you.

3) Highlights.

For most of the above social media platforms, my advice is: Keep it short, interesting, and pretty. Just the highlights, a nice photo and a link for more info. Blogs can be longer of course, but keep them under 1000 words.

4) Do it in this order: 

For your first social media venue, get it set up and be as thorough as you can with your profile, etc.

Build your friends/connections.: You want to grow these numbers and with people who are or could be legitimate friends and business connections.

Post relevant content. Post comments, links, articles that are connected to what you do.

Drive traffic: llink any social media or blogs to each other and to your website.

Keep going: Don’t think you have to spend many hours a week on this, but you do need to keep a steady presence.

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