Many small businesses and bloggers don’t have any idea where to start when it comes to social media. Few realize there are hundreds of social networks, but only a small number of those will be important to you.
1) IMPORTANT: Choose Your Username Wisely!
It is essential that you use the SAME user name on every platform. Ideally you want to use the same username everywhere you participate online.
Because I use GrowMap everywhere, I make it easy for anyone who mentions me to include the most relevant username. If I had even one that was different, they would have to look it up – greatly reducing the likelihood they would include @GrowMap in a tweet or on Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest or anywhere else.
Your username should be:
- As short as possible and no longer than 15 characters maximum. (This is the limit on Twitter.)
- Easy to spell
- Memorable for easy recall
There is an easy way to make sure the user name you have in mind is available on all the major social networks:
Check username availability by going
to Knowem and doing a FREE search.
For a business, use your business name if it is short enough. For example, A Tasteful Gift is fortunate because their name is only 13 characters long (without the spaces), so they can use @ATastefulGift on Twitter and ATastefulGift on all other social networks.
In contrast, Executive Gift Shoppe can not use their name on their social networks, so they used @ExecGifts and @giftshoppe. If you must shorten your name, choose a name that is similar so that your customers can remember it.
Most Important Social Networks
Ensure that you can get your desired username on at least these important social networks:
- Google Plus
These are the minimum. To determine which other social networks you should use and why, read How to Decide Which Social Networks are Most Important to YOU.
2) Create accounts on at least the primary social networks
Go to each of the most important social networks, sign up, and create your bio. Be sure to include:
- Your username that you use consistently everywhere
- An Avatar
- Your business name, your name, or your pseudonym (pen name)
- A link to the most important site where others can get more details about you. For a business, this might be your about page or your home page.
If you don’t plan to be active on that social network yet, create your account and mention in your bio where you can best be found. I highly recommend Twitter; however, some prefer Google + or you could send them to your site.
Have more money than time? The premium Knowem service allows you to register your username and bio on what they consider the most important 25 networks for $69.95. (Do manually add Google Plus to what they cover.)
Which social networks matter most?
Twitter is the most important account for getting mentioned regularly because a Twitter username is easy to remember and links to your site. Instead of having to remember how you spelled your URL, if it contains dashes, or whether you used .com or .somethingelse (always use .com), we only have to remember one short nickname. There is no special form for creating a business account. See Twitter Best Practices for getting started tips and strategies.
Pinterest is essential if you sell anything that can be easily seen in photographs. For example, A Tasteful Gift is an ecommerce gift basket store so all their products have colorful photographs that are easily pinned and repinned. After Twitter, pinterest.com/atastefulgift will be their most important social network. Businesses should use Pinterest Business Accounts. For tips on using Pinterest see the GrowMap Pinterest How-to board.
Google Plus can be beneficial for SEO. See these posts for details:
- 10 Ways Google+ Will Improve Your SEO
- SEO for Google+ Profiles, Pages, Local, Communities & Updates
- Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings
- Google Plus Strategies, Benefits, Drawbacks, How-to Tips and Videos
- Best G+ Communities Make Using Google Plus Productive
LinkedIn is best for getting recommended and to participate in groups to expand your audience. Use LinkedIn groups the way you use G+ communities. Use them to reach your target audience and exhibit knowledge of your niche. Be sure to use every section of LinkedIn as the one place to highlight your accomplishments and skills. Create both a personal LinkedIn account and a separate account for your business. For tips and strategies see LinkedIn: How to Maximize Results.
What other social networks are important?
There are many more social networks. Which ones are a priority for your business depends on the type of business and your goals. Answering questions on Quora is a good place to show your expertise. Clarity.fm is useful if you want to find or provide consulting services. Search for GrowMap if you want to see an example of how I use it.
Research where your audience is active.
Look for social networks specific to your niche or audience.
Being an active big fish in a small network where your buyers
hang out is more important than being a tiny fish in a huge network.
When you are first getting started, seek out a mentor or hire an experienced social savvy advisor. They can quickly get you up and running and teach you the basics painlessly. Figuring it all out on your own can be frustrating or lead to mistakes you will regret.
IMPORTANT TIP: If someone claims to be an “expert” look at their results. If they have no followers, how can they get followers for you? If they do not share quality content, what will they share for you? Be especially wary of young people who may not realize what is inappropriate behavior, language, or humor for business.
Have questions or need help? Leave a comment or contact me for assistance.