Getting Started with Social Media

Want to get started with social media but don’t know where to begin?  You have probably heard of some of these channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and others.  It can be overwhelming!   Don’t be afraid to jump right in.

Know this.  You can begin one at a time.  And you don’t have to participate in all of them.  You can choose one or two channels to have a presence in and maybe you will only stay in those one or two channels.  That’s okay.  Whatever fits your brand.

Begin by knowing which channel is right for you.  If you run an automotive repair shop, Pinterest might not be the best social media outlet for your business.  But Facebook is a great place to post promotions and updates.  And if you have a LinkedIn and Instagram account, you are probably not going to want to post the same content in both channels.  But Instagram and Facebook are channels where the content can probably be shared.  In fact, these two have linking functions.  If you aren’t familiar with which channel is right for you, you can begin by creating personal accounts and following some other individuals and businesses.  This is a great way to get a feel for the type of content that is posted.  Look at posting frequency.  Look at style (serious or fun).  Look at media types (video/images/text).

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Website Analytics

You’ve got your website, now it’s time to start tracking and analyzing the data. The first thing you will want to do is to make sure you have an analytics tool in place from the beginning. Many content management systems will offer some very broad overviews but as the manager of your business you will want specifics including a history detail so that you can view patterns and campaign performance. Google analytics is the industry standard.

To best analyze the data for your website, it is important to view a good sample size. You will want to start tracking the data from the moment your site goes live so that you will be able to identify a growth in traffic compared to a prior month or the same month one year ago.  I am an Excel nerd and I love to consider the variables that can swing data.  Any number of factors can influence the data such as a product promotion, marketing campaign, industry trend, or incremental customer set. Looking at a proper sample size is going to teach you what is working or what is not working for your business. The key is to start tracking as soon as possible so that you have benchmarks for comparison.

The next consideration is the metrics you are using.  Make sure you are looking at page views, visits, search terms and sources to get a full analysis of your website performance. Compare your metrics with industry standards to find out if people are spending more time on your website than the average. Find out which page of your website that viewers are clicking on the most.  Are visitors just hitting the home page for two seconds and leaving?  Find out what search terms visitors are using and match the demand with your offerings and communications. No matter what type of industry you are in, you will want to provide clear content on your website that is easy to access and to engage with your visitor base.  Your metrics will tell you how well you are doing that.