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90% of marketers say they’ve increased their brand exposure through social media alone. Many small business owners tell us that they “know they need social media,” but aren’t sure what that means, much less where to begin. If all of this sounds time-consuming, well, that’s because it is. The right tools can certainly help cut down on the time you’ll need to spend listening and searching and posting. Maybe you don’t have the time (or inclination) to handle it yourself. Any of these scenarios sound familiar?

You have a Facebook Company page but you rarely post, and when you do, it’s to share of a photo of your dog hanging out on the office couch. You don’t see much engagement from fans, either (other than your mom, God love her).

You have a website but don’t see much traffic (how do you get to the Google stats again?).

You joined LinkedIn but haven’t posted since your “Happy New Year” message on January 3rd (2016) and aren’t really sure what to write about.

You know your customers are using social media but aren’t sure which platforms they’re on and how to get started.

Your sales are down – or flat – and you’ve got to start reaching a wider audience and building relationships but are so busy keeping up with the business, you have no time for sales or marketing.

We feel you; social media marketing can be overwhelming. But it’s also a highly effective marketing channel, ideal for starting conversations with your audience, sharing relevant information, getting feedback and taking the overall pulse of your brand. That’s why nearly 80% of businesses have dedicated social media teams. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be painful or expensive. The first step is understanding your goals and deciding how you’ll measure your success.

Here are our five tips for getting up to speed:

Tip #1  Determine your objective. What is it that you hope to accomplish with your FB company page? (hint: “revenue” isn’t an objective, it’s a result.). Here’s an example: Let’s say you have 120 followers on Facebook. You post randomly, either about new products, special offers or humorous anecdotes. Your objective might be to get to 500 followers by the end of the year. Great! Now, you can begin to determine how you’ll get there. That might be by posting with a regular cadence, sharing more useful information with your audience and putting a small budget toward Boosted Posts or Facebook ads to start reaching people on FB who don’t already follow your company page.

Tip #2  Take it easy. Choose one platform where the majority of your target audience exists. Focus on getting that one platform right, creating a consistent posting schedule and testing different visuals, messaging and calls to action (CTAs) to see what your audience responds to most. Pick up additional social platforms only when you have the first one under control. (Pro tip: Publishing the exact same posts on multiple platforms is not a strategy, and could do more harm than good.)

Tip #3  Don’t sell. This is critical. Social media channels are meant for building relationships. They are meant for building trust among your customers and turning your customers into loyal fans and brand advocates. You can not do that by hawking your products and services. You can do that by sharing helpful content that your audience is looking for and needs.

Tip #4  Be human. You are one, yeah? Don’t be afraid to let your audience know that there’s an actual human being behind your profile handle. That’s part of the authenticity consumers are looking for in brands. It’s okay to stand for something; it’s even okay to take a side, if you can be diplomatic and kind about it.

Tip #5  Take advantage of tech. Posting consistently on social media can eat into your day and take away from other tasks at hand. Fortunately, there are a lot of tools that can make the process faster and easier for you. Our favorite is Sprout Social (full disclosure: we’re a Sprout partner agency). We use the platform to power our Social Command Studio. This way, we can offer whatever level of engagement works best, whether that’s managing every aspect of your social presence or simply providing strategic support and/or social media training for your in-house team.

Need more insight or ideas? We love to talk social media and content strategy!  Click here to give us a shout.

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