• Oliver Scott

Social Media for Business Beginners

Social media can be downright confusing sometimes. It doesn't help that the moment you get used to one, they change everything around again (Instagram, we're looking at you). We figured you might have some questions on starting your business out on social media and where to begin. We're going to break it down to you as if we are explaining it to someone who just emerged from an underground time capsule.

Let's start by breaking down the most popular platforms and what they do.

Instagram- A photo and video sharing app. Great for finding new connections in your industry, building a community of support, sharing information, and making announcements. You want to follow as many people/businesses with similar interests as you can. The more visibility you get the better and these are potential customers.

-Reels: Shorter format videos. This seems to be IG's response to the popularity of Tik-Tok. Plus, videos on your main page can only be a minute long, Reels are a way to post longer vids.

-Stories: Your personal place to post daily updates, they show up at the top of everyone's home page and disappear after 24 hrs. They can be photos or videos. You can highlight a story you like on your main page if you'd like it to stay longer. Instagram still does not allow linking to websites outside of their app in your story unless you are an approved media outlet or Insta-famous.

-Profile Posts are for your curated main page and ideally, represent your aesthetic.

Facebook- A social platform available both online and through an app, which generally pulls from your email and friendship circles to find people you know or are within your direct network. Great for connecting your friends and family to your business, join groups of others in your industry, and for event invitations and announcements.

Twitter- An online platform (also app-friendly) used for posting short sentences or photos. Unlike Instagram, linking to outside sites are allowed. Perfect for making announcements and call-to-actions.

Nextdoor- This is a hidden gem for networking, especially for small businesses. Nextdoor is a community app that's focused solely on your neighborhood. That puts all of your neighbors and customers in one easily accessible area. You don't want to spam it with advertisements regarding your biz, but you can start a "Small Business Owner" group (if it doesn't already exist) that can connect you to other business owners in your area.

Blogging- When you have more to say, perhaps consider a blog where you can share the post on other social media accounts. You can link to examples, other websites, and even connect an online shop for easy linkable access. We recommend using free blog writing sites such as Blogger, Wix, Wordpress, or Tumblr.

Etsy- An online store for creatives and micro-businesses

Tik Tok- A place for short format videos and viral trends

Snapchat- An app fizzing out since Tic-Toc came along however, Snapchat is famous for its face-changing filters. It's used to make short videos.

Youtube- Many joke and say they went to the College of Youtube. You can learn nearly anything you need to know from this video platform available online (and through an app with limited usability). Want to learn how to remodel your bathroom? Youtube. How to replace a headlight in an old VW? Youtube. Make homemade mozzarella from start to finish? Youtube. Some people literally just peel paint on Youtube and have over a million views. Businesses can use Youtube to post instructional videos for their staff, video tours of your store, tutorials on how to make something you offer, or an introduction of a service you provide to explain what it is you do...the options are endless.

Pinterest- An online platform that works as an inspiration board or collage. You can create vision boards if you have a specific project you need to save images in one place for reference. It's also a place you can post your own content and can sometimes surprise you at how engaging an audience can be if you have quality useful photos to grab the attention of main page passers-by. If you have an online store, this is not one you want to skip using.

Choose a couple you really love and put your energy into that. It can get overwhelming focusing on all of them every day and realistically most business owners don't have that kind of time.

If you are looking to build a website that's easy to use and free or nearly free you can try Wix, Squarespace, or Snappages. All have customizable options to perfect your business site and give it a professional touch. A lot of them will give you direction on how to connect your own domain (the name of your business.com).

It's recommended to post often with your business at least 3-4 times a week on your chosen platforms, being sure to support others and take note of those who promote you back. These are your cohorts.

Also, here's a list of some free sites that give you helpful tools to use on your platforms.

Canva- A place to create Youtube thumbnails/banners, Instagram posts, business cards, logos, etc.

Survey Monkey- Helps you build surveys for customer feedback

Videezy- Free downloadable stock video clips

Youtube Audio Library- Free music to use in your videos

Epidemic Sound- An endless supply of royalty-free music at your disposal ($15/mo)

Drive- A place to store all of your files and keep them organized so they don't take up space on your computer (and for easy sharing)

Linktree- A landing website that consolidates all of your sites such as website, your blog, social media, etc in one clickable place. So they can be seen under one umbrella essentially.

Bitly- A weblink creator that shortens website URLs to a short simple clickable icon

Patreon- A web platform where one can offer a service at a monthly subscription charge, usually starting at $3 a month and upwards. They walk you through how to use it when signing up, it's just your job to find the supporters.

We hope you found this useful and broke it down a bit for you. Happy networking!

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