Social media is a big deal. There’s no denying it. If your small business hasn’t jumped on the SM bandwagon, it may be time to tickle the waters!

So what’s the first thing you need to think about before starting a social media campaign? For me, it’s my audience! Who do I want to reach with my SM messages? Are they on Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Instagram? It can seem overwhelming until you break it down, but here are five (reasonably) simple steps to get your SM off the ground:

  1. Start with Facebook. FB’s fastest growing audience is women over 60 and in many situations, your buying decision maker.  Who do you want to reach with your messages and what do you want to say? Instead of trying to spread yourself thin using multiple sites, test your skills with one.
  2. Complete the profile or page information fully. Hint: you HAVE to have a personal Facebook page with a legit email before you can start a business page.
  3. Develop a plan for your posts. A good rule of thumb is to mix sales pitches in with feel-good memes, holiday greetings, and customer recognitions (among other things). And videos, followed by photos, attract the most attention. Develop an editorial calendar of what messages you want to post when. You can find a template online.
  4. Post regularly whether it’s twice a day or twice a week. The frequency depends on a) how much you have to say; and b) who is listening. After a few weeks, check your FB Insights to see when people are viewing your posts and follow their lead. You don’t have to post every day or multiple times a day for your campaigns to be effective.
  5. Finally, look at boosting your popular posts with some inexpensive FB ads. As little as $10 for seven days will expose your message to anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000.

In swimming, there are waders (tiptoe into the water) or divers (cannonball!). In social media, you can’t be a wader. Once you start, you’re in. While it may seem overwhelming when you start, pretty much everyone agrees small businesses really do need to have a SM presence.