There are two questions that I am always asked when I begin a consultation with a client. Do I really need to be on social media? Which is then always followed up with – where do I begin? I get it, there are multiple social media platforms and every day it seems like a new one is popping up saying you have to be on THIS one! You don’t.

Social media is networking, yes, networking is what being on social media truly means for any business.  Infographic talkWhen you begin a social media presence for your company, you are reaching out to your current customers, consumers and your future customers. You are networking to build a relationship of trust and understanding, because your customer is no longer only listening to you. They have MILLIONS of friends out there that are telling them whether you are who you say you are. Intimidating isn’t it? It doesn’t have to be.

Here is the secret…don’t tell anyone I’m sharing…go where your customers are. That’s it. Determine YOUR demographic. Who are you truly trying to reach? What does your customer do for a living? Where do they live? Who is your core customer? Once you get it dialed in, then you need to match up where your customers are and what format best represents your company. Next step – pick two or three platforms and focus there. Do not try to get in on every platform in the beginning. If you are a small business, and you don’t have someone like me working on your social media presence, then you don’t have the time to truly dedicate to more than three and continue to drive your business – unless you don’t like sleep. Me? I like my rest.

A few tips on where to start. Facebook is a necessity. Over a BILLION people are now on Facebook.  It is a format where you can have pictures, videos andSocial Icons much more.  It allows you to share all kinds of information and interact with your customers. Other than that – its fair game. If you are a company where you are constantly having flash sales, or are looking for messages that are quick and have a short lifespan – go to Twitter. You can directly communicate with your customers and track your consumers through their comments. If pictures are your preference, Instagram and Pinterest are the way to go. If you are in the housing/building/home remodeling business, then you have to be on Houzz. Many other specialty businesses also have their own social platforms, so some research may be in order to see where is your best fit.

Each one of these platforms allows you to track your business and key words, while also providing analytics to show you what is working and what is not. It takes time to build up your credibility online and establish relationships with your customers. You will make mistakes, some posts will go viral, others will be dead on arrival. Remember this one thing…ensure you are representing your brand. Be informative, inspirational, educational and/or funny and you will be on the right track. Social media is where you are attempting to reach thousands of customers, all with unique tastes and personalities. It is infinitely more difficult than throwing up an ad in a magazine, yet it is much more rewarding. This is not a quick fix, but the first step of a very worthy investment.