Social media for your small business is a must. Every business should be on social media. In 2019, that’s just a fact. Many sometimes believe they don’t need to engage their customers online, but in order to grow, you have to find current (and new) customers where they live, and remind them about your brand.

But don’t just jump online without a plan. Before you start running social media for your small business, here are five things you absolutely need to do first.

Do Your Research

Before you start social media for your small business, you have to do some research. What are your competitors doing online? And more importantly, what are they doing right? We’re not asking you to copy them exactly, but knowing the methods that are working for businesses like yours is an excellent place to start. Which channels have the largest following and the most engagement? What kinds of posts work best for them? Make note and decide which elements you can learn from for your own efforts.

Choose Your Channels

Not every social media channel is right for every industry or business. Many businesses get on Facebook and call it a day, but depending on your audience, you may need to focus on a different platform. If your demographic is millennials, Instagram is a clear choice. Younger customers are favoring Snapchat. And nearly any business can benefit from being on LinkedIn. You will definitely need to be on more than one platform. Be smart and figure out which channels are right for your business.

Get The Right Tools

Before any posting happens, you should get the right set of tools to help you schedule and track your social media efforts. Popular scheduling apps include Hootsuite, Zoho, Hubspot, and SproutSocial. Look into several and find the one that suits your needs. Since your business is small, and more than likely so is your budget, a paid app may not be the right choice yet. Also, make sure you have a way to track your progress and engagement.

Make A Plan

Nobody should start randomly posting topical memes, photos of their products, and links to industry blog posts without giving their strategy a little (a lot of) thought. You’ve got the management and analytics tools to start running social media for your small business (see #3), so now you need to make a plan:

  1. Create a content “bucket” of types of posts: blogs, product photos, client reviews, company culture highlights, informational graphics or videos, etc. This will help when you're stuck on what to post.
  2. Make sure your content is high quality and BRANDED.
  3. Decide how many times a week to post to which channels based on your research, post types, and available time.
  4. Decide what content goes on which channel, because no, not everything goes on every channel.
  5. You can even create a few weeks’ worth of posts before you start, just to make things easier for you.

Have Something Good To Link To

Your social media should link back to a beautiful and functional website that finishes the job and turns visitors into customers. If your social media is amazing, but your website is outdated and difficult to navigate, all your efforts may have been for nothing. If your site doesn’t fit that description, optimize or redesign your site before you start social media for your small business.

Conclusion

One of the best ways to succeed online as a business is to create a plan and stick to it. Follow these five steps and you’ll be well on your way to bringing more customers to you.Once you’ve started on social media, you aren’t done, so remember to constantly look for ways to improve your social media presence and engagement methods.