Almost 15 years have passed since Facebook was launched to the public, and now the groundbreaking social media platform has over 1 billion users. With the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube cemented as an important part of everyday life, there are a huge number of opportunities for marketing products and services on social media.  

There are many ways to utilise social media, at all different levels of investment, so no matter the size of your businesswe guarantee there are opportunities for yours to grow online. Customers in all sectors are online, so it's an excellent space for interacting with your community. At its most powerful, social media marketing can facilitate brand advocacy; making use of word of mouth to positively impact awareness and sales.  

If you're new to marketingsocial media management can be a minefield, so we’ve listed five questions to ask yourself when you're just getting started.  

Where are your customers? 

Different groups of consumers have their favourite social media channels, so choose the ones where your key personas are. For example, fashion brands will share huge amounts of content to Instagram, whereas recruitment agencies will share heavily on LinkedIn. Think about what is popular within your core market and focus your energy here, rather than spreading content too thinly. If you’re not sure where your customers are online, try a tool like GlobalWebIndex. 

Are you recognisable?

Your brand voice, values and identity should be consistent across all social media platforms. As a starting point, when you set up social accounts, each profile should visually reflect your brand. When you are writing contentyour brand’s tone of voice should shine through so that your customers get a consistent sense of your brand at every touchpoint – authenticity is key! 

How can you engage with people? 

Social media offers a unique opportunity to interact with customers on a one to one basis. Be sure to engage with your audience at every opportunity; reply to comments and messages, share some love on other brand’s posts and ask questions of your audience to better understand them and their values. Over time, you’ll develop a clearer image of your audience and be in a better position to tailor your content to suit them. Customer service also plays a huge role in social media platforms, so keep an eye on comments and messages to pick up on any issues. 

What do you have to offer? 

With so much content online now, it’s important to make sure that yours adds value to peoples' lives, or at least their feeds. If all of your content is product or service focused, your brand will appear too salesy. Consider the wider context of your industry and how you can add to discussions, answer questions or solve problems for your audience.  

How much resource will you invest? 

In order to be effective, you will need to invest some resources into your social media marketing activity. There are options for paid or free content sharing; if you do want to put some money behind promoting your content, consider where your budget will be most impactful. If you opt to share all content organically, there is still the investment of time. First, think about how much content you want to share; you should have a regular stream of content to suit your business. Then based on your content schedule, ask yourself if you need a dedicated social media manager, or if your business is a one-man band, how much of your time are you prepared to dedicate? 

Keep these actions in mind as you begin to build your social media strategy, but also throughout its development, to make sure you stay on message and connect with the right audiences. If you’re just getting started in marketing, we have loads of insightful resources to help you build the foundations of your career. Head over to our insights hub to read more. 

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