How To Use Social Media for Business – Or Social Media 101


Many of my readers might not realize that long before Spit That Out, I started my own eco-conscious public relations firm focused on sustainable brands. Back in 2002, Paige Wolf Media & Public Relations did not begin with a grain of eco-consciousness, but over the years it progressed into a PR firm that only works with sustainable and/or mission-driven businesses.

I also sometimes handle social media for my clients. In most cases, though, I advise my clients, hoping they can pick up the skills to manage their own social media.

So here is a Social Media 101 FAQ, free to use and share! And if you would like more hands-on help with building your brand through media relations, social media, and additional communications tools, please reach out to me for a Coffee Consultation!

1) I have a Facebook account where I wish people “Happy Birthday” and share pictures of my cats. So I’m all set, right?

No. If you have any kind of business, whether it’s selling homemade cat treats or financial advising, you need a Facebook Business Page. A “page” is not the same as a “group” or a “personal page,” and it can be set up in about two minutes.

2) But I heard that people don’t even see Facebook posts anymore so it’s pointless.

Yes, it’s true that Facebook has made it so that unless something you post is so engaging that it goes viral in its own right, you’ll be lucky if 10% of your fans see your post. You still need to post. You can also pay a few bucks to boost posts to specific audiences, which is sometimes useful. And Facebook can be automatically linked to Twitter to create minimal effort on this platform. Here is a helpful post on increasing your Facebook Engagement

3) What’s the point of Twitter?

I have found Twitter to be one of the best ways to engage my business. Those 140 characters can go a long way, especially with so many journalists and business leaders using Twitter as their preferred platform. More on using Twitter for business.

4) How do I get people to follow me on Twitter?

Start by following the people you want to know – journalists, industry insiders and networks, even your competitors. Also follow your ideal consumers, searching around for relevant hashtags (more on that to come). The laziest way to use Twitter is to sync your Facebook and Instagram updates. But DO check in to Twitter directly at least once per day to respond to anyone who messages you or replies to you with an “@.” And make a point of “retweeting” interesting posts. Best of all, send actual replies to the posts that interest you! For example, “@JournalistQ What a great story about apples! Our company is also working to make apples the #1 fruit! Would love to connect”

5) What is a hashtag?

A hashtag, which looks like #, turns any phrase that follows it into a searchable link. Hashtags instantly link your social media post to a group of others with the same topic. As a small business owner, using appropriate hashtags can help drive your brand recognition and boost the reach of your advertising campaigns. You can also create your own hashtag for marketing campaigns, Twitter chats, and more! Learn more about hashtags here.

6) Do I really need to use Instagram?

Yes – especially if you want to reach an audience of teens and 20-somethings, who have all deleted their Facebook accounts because they don’t want their grandmothers to see what they are posting. They are all on Instagram posting selfies. So get ready to start posting and hashtagging some visually engaging content – but know that no matter how hard you try, you will never have more followers than your 14-year-old niece. You can also make your life easier by linking your Instagram posts directly to your Facebook and Twitter. More on using Instagram for business.

5) What about Pinterest?

You may think your product isn’t visual enough for Pinterest. But just about anything can be turned into a visually engaging pin, even if it’s just illustrating the title of a blog post (see mine above made in three minutes with a free app called PicCollage). And Pinterest is surprisingly important and effective – almost 80% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest! Here is a great post on using Pinterest to grow your business.

6) People I’ve never met keep trying to connect with me on Linked In. What’s up with that?

Well, it could be potentially useful contacts. It could also be realtors and financial advisors sending out blanket new client pitches to everyone in their zip code. Use a bit of discrimination when accepting people so you won’t be flooded with pitches. LinkedIn is a great place to host your “virtual resume” and keep up with your contacts as they change jobs and companies. I am admittedly not as active on this platform as I could be. But I’ve read a lot about its usefulness and creative ways to engage. At the very least, keep your profile current.

7) Seriously, Google+ too?

Eh. Maybe. A few months ago I would have insisted on it because of search engine optimization through Google. But now I hear that Google may be scrapping the platform altogether. If I were you. I’d just claim my business name, update some basic info, and then spend my time elsewhere.

8) Where does a good e-mail newsletter fit into all this?

Here are some tips for a great e-mail newsletter. The easiest way for your subscribers to share your email is by adding a “Tweet” or “Like” button to your campaign. Then with a couple of clicks, any subscriber can share your email with their friends or followers.

10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts - Infographic by Campaign Monitor
Source: 10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts by Campaign Monitor

Now that you are all set up, please follow and engage with me!

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