Social media can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out. It feels unfamiliar and uncomfortable, as if someone asked you to paint a picture without any reference. If you’re new to social media, or you’re not sure if you’re doing things right, you’ve come to the right place. These social media best practices for beginners will set your journey up for success.
Building a network that provides real value takes both horse sense and hard work. Beginners can make it harder on themselves by staring at a “blank canvas” and painting without any preparation.
In fact, many people/companies invest resources into the various social channels to get likes and followers without truly knowing what success looks like. Their profiles show that they’re not really being social at all. They’ve looked at other’s work and copied it, without realizing the magic lies in their uniqueness.
Social media has become part of our daily lives. It’s nearly impossible to go a day without hearing some mention of social media and its value. It’s no longer an optional afterthought but an integral part of any digital marketing plan.
An expert in anything was once a beginner.
As a beginner, or if you’re stuck without much results, it’s important to stay grounded and not get overwhelmed.
Remember: the great artists did not become great overnight. There’s a lot to be said for taking small methodical steps to create your masterpiece!
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10 social media best practices for beginners
These 10 Best Practices will help clear your mind, cut through the noise and help you begin making the magic on social media.
1. Set Up Goals
People with clear, written goals accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.
You need written goals in order to analyze results so you can map out best next steps.
If you haven’t determined your goals, it isn’t enough to say you “see” results because that’s not real data. You’ll never know your Return on Investment (ROI) without goal setting and social media strategy.
2. Clarify Your Message.
One of your most important goals will be to engage people. The best way to engage more people is to have a clear message.
When you connect what you’re selling to an ideal of how things should be, you create a greater value in your customers’ eyes. This could even apply to selling yourself!
Become a problem solver. Speak to the practical, external problems customers are facing, as well as the internal fears and motivations they may have.
The Ford Lightening does this beautifully:
- External problem: I need a truck.
- Internal problem: I feel cool when people see me driving the latest technology.
- Philosophical problem: I should to do my part to save the environment.
3. Learn Everything You Can About Your Audience
Recently, an organic skin care company was able to lure me away from their competitor. How? By understanding me at a deeper level than their competitor did.
Get out a piece of paper and describe your target customer. Who are they?
- Where do they live?
- What are their interests, concerns and issues?
- How can you help them come to a purchase decision with the content you publish (and the ads you serve them)?
- Don’t forget about those fans who are not in-market. What can you offer to keep them engaged?
4. Establish a Budget.
Social media is not free, it’s pay to play.
Facebook ads are an integral part of your marketing plan, but you need to know at the outset what you’ll be spending to get to your goals.
Determine the budget it will take to get your content seen and to generate leads. If you’re a beginner, have a budget set aside for learning Facebook ads. If you’re a start up or small business, $500-$1,000 per month get some good results.
Facebook ads are wonderful but very difficult to manage without the necessary skills and knowledge. You may end up paying someone to manage Facebook ads for you, and there will be an additional fee involved (usually about $1000+ per month).
5. Utilize a Content Calendar.
I know it sounds crazy but a content calendar will be your best friend.
The content creation process can be overwhelming, especially when you’re new. It can seem like everything is all over the place. A content calendar keeps everything in one place with an outline to publish your posts.
Even I once thought content calendars were merely a suggestion but now I’ve proven to myself (and my clients) that they are invaluable. The world is a crazy place and it’s nice to have a touchstone where all your ideas live.
6. Plan out Your Content Mix
Just as serious SEOs have had to become serious content marketers, so it goes for social media marketers. There’s been a shift from the mindset of getting as much as we can into the feed on a daily basis to investing more in high-quality, highly useful content that viewers actually want to see and engage with.
Different customers enjoy different types of content. It’s crucial to plan out the types of content you’re going to produce.
Here’s a good content mix if you’re new to social media (although it varies depending on your business):
- 50% Images
- 30% Video
- 10% Links
- 10% Text
Planning your content mix allows you to map out all the players needed to produce it and the tools and equipment you’ll need. As time goes on, you’ll discover what your audience is engaging with the most and adapt your mix to their liking.
Pro Tip: Show a side of your business that’s consistent with your “personality”:
- Content that unmasks a more intimate or fun-loving side of your business.
- Tell a story: the genesis of your business is a great place to start.
- It’s perfectly ok to showcase your products and services but do it in a way that doesn’t annoy.
7. Schedule Engagement Into Your Day
I was recently speaking with a great Facebook ads manager about the sometimes-ignored subject of engagement. Social media is social. People are connecting, and that means you need to engage too! Social ads are great but they are only part of your social media strategy.
Community Management is vital. Some customers prefer to communicate via social channels and it’s your job to be there with customer support. Take at least 15 minutes in the morning and evening to listen, respond and be their guide.
As your profiles grow, so will the comments. You’ll want to engage people as often as possible to build rapport. If you’re the boss, designate at least one person to listen, respond, ask questions, field leads and engage with your audience.
8. Plan How You’ll Promote Your Content
Once your fan base begins to grow and you’ve done a good job of engaging them, your next step is to plan how you’ll convert them into customers.
Due to the massive growth of Facebook ads, managing them correctly is becoming more difficult for beginners. Depending on your budget, please consider outsourcing Facebook ads management. *Please get in touch with me if you need recommendations!
But this doesn’t let you off the hook of planning your promotions. Recall the work you did so far, especially with respect to knowing your customers. Now, design a promotion that will attract their attention.
- What’s the offer?
- Why should the customer care?
- What do you want them to do?
- How long will it run?
- How much will your budget be?
- What would success look like?
9. Measure and Analyze.
You’ll need to determine the KPI’s (key performance indicators) that matter most to your social media success. Here are the top Facebook 8 KPI’s that we measure and analyze at Kruse Control:
- Audience growth
- Audience profile
- Audience engagement
- Content reach
- Engagement by content type
- Response rate and quality
- Negative feedback
10. Give Yourself a Break
I hear from a lot of overwhelmed people whose source of frustration is social media.
Frustration can come from being stuck in outdated, long-held beliefs. Take a look at what you’re holding onto and identify what you’re willing to let go. It only takes a small step to welcome a whole new world.
If you’re new to social media, or stuck because it’s not working…
Remember, everyone starts somewhere. No matter how far behind you think you are, there is a solution to help you capitalize on social media.
Don’t underestimate yourself. Social media is a valuable tool to engage customers. You’re only new once and from there, it’s a fantastic and fun journey.