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Do you recognize all of these social media sites?

Social media has quickly become ubiquitous and completely integrated into most people’s lives. With the advent of smartphones and apps, everyone can update their status, post a tweet or share images and videos of whatever they happening to be doing right this moment. This has given rise to social media etiquette, do’s and don’ts, and unflattering tags, such as the humblebrag, sub-tweet and so on. With all of this, is it essential for your business to be involved in the complex network of social media? According to Forbes, social media is now a necessity, not just a luxury. Still, many business owners don’t have the time, don’t see the purpose, or are just not comfortable putting their business out there. If, in your business or personal life, you have embraced social media, then you must see some benefit to doing so other than, ‘everybody else is doing it.’ We wanted to tackle the first three issues: no time, no point and no experience.

“I don’t have the time for social media”

This is totally understandable. It takes a lot of time just running a business, so finding the time to update social media accounts is often one more thing that gets pushed to the side. The easiest way to combat this is to assemble a social media calendar, including what you want to post and when, and schedule it out for the month just like you would plan inventory or hours. Social media posts don’t need to be long. Keep it short, keep it relevant, and keep it fun. If you have photos of customers enjoying your business or products, post them. Find your customers and friends online and ask them to follow you. Respond to any posts as quickly as you can. Download apps to your smartphone to help manage your accounts, so you can keep things updated wherever you are. Stick to the major social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Engagement is key – don’t just post and never respond. Try to reach out to people and they will do the same to you.

“I don’t know how to use social media”

This is the easiest one. Most social media accounts make it very easy to get started. If you have an existing Facebook or Google+ account you can simply add pages for your business. The same goes for LinkedIn. Twitter just requires a name, email and password and you’re up-and-running. For more detailed guides, check out SocialMedia Examiner’s Social Media Guide for in-depth directions on how to setup a variety of social media accounts.

“I don’t see the point of social media”

Social media is not about direct selling. It is a relationship-building tool, which allows you to engage with existing and potential customers outside of your store/business/website. And it is a free (minus your time) way of doing so. Links from likes, shares, retweets, pins, favorites and so on all help your overall business exposure and can improve your SEO efforts as well. In addition, for social media to be most successful it should be part of your comprehensive marketing strategy. Just being active on social media is a good start. But for it to be truly successful, you need to include it in your marketing planning and determine what your goals are, when you want to achieve them and through what means you will do so.

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