Social media has revolutionized the way companies do business. From sharing content, promoting products and services, interacting with audiences, and everything to do with branding, social media can do it all. 

Social media is a relatively new phenomenon, and one modern-day businesses can’t live without. Let's face it social media is not only for millennials, but for everyone. If you haven’t already, start creating social media accounts for your business. Some of the more popular sites include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The best part of social media is it’s free! However, if you plan on doing social media advertising/campaigns it will cost you, but luckily it is still quite affordable (and usually effective).

Once you have created social media account(s) for your business you must cultivate a following and audience. Remember growth comes at different speeds for every business, patience is key. Read down below for beginner’s tips on growing your social media presence.

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1. Choose your platform wisely: Different social media platforms attract different demographics and behaviors. You’ll need to research here (there’s a ton of data online about who favors what). So dependent on your product, service etc this should dictate what accounts are worth investing your time in for maximum ROI. Here’s a link to a website thats already done a ton of research for you - nice! Social Media Fact Sheet.

2. Be consistent: This may be difficult for smaller businesses, but at the same time it can separate you from your competition. Try to consistently publish content on your accounts. People love, and look forward to seeing content daily, especially from a brand they love, or learning to love.

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3. Use quality images: Social media often includes photography, and the better the photography is often the quicker you can build a following. Try taking high resolution photos, and avoid free image sites (these saturate social media), hire a photographer or try using stock photography websites like Adobe's Stock image site, (reasonable rates too) . Your images should be clear, relate back to your brand, and match up with your captions. We have another post with some great tips re images here.

4. Interact and engage: The beauty of social media is you can reply to comments and interact with your audiences. Show that your brand has a heart and actually cares about its followers. Comment back and like people who comment on your work. This will help you build a positive image and reputation.

5. Edit and proofread: Nothing will make you look more unprofessional than a poorly written caption or post. Keep in mind everyone can see what you’re posting so it is important to edit and proofread before you publish anything. Look over your work once, twice (or more), try getting someone else to read it to make sure there are no errors. Power tip: I have worked with many proofreaders over the years - and picked up this great tip - read backwards - ie start at the end of the sentence and read to the beginning. This will force you to read every word, catching mistakes you would normally speed past.

6. Use links and call-to-actions: Some social media sites will allow you to directly insert a link into your posts, take advantage of this. If you’re posting about a product then make sure to provide the link to allow users to more easily visit your site and hopefully start your call to action. Running an e-store? Keep followers updated on deals and special promotions, and create a sense of urgency so they will feel more compelled to visit & buy!

7. Use popular hashtags: Hashtags are a way for people to more easily find content they’re looking for and content that is relevant. Use trending and relevant hashtags to allow others to find your company while browsing their feeds. Feel free to even start using a hashtag you made up for your brand! #easthalldesign or @easthalldesign

8. Advertising on social media is super easy to do - gone are the days of random ad placements - we know social media knows everything about everyone (creepy), it's a marketeers dream. So, for relatively small fees you can get very specific about who sees your ad, and in-turn get a much better click-through-rate, hopefully leading to more conversions. Here's a real world example: Working for a college in the UK - we wanted to advertise a new medical course for school leavers. Our social media account allowed us to specify:
- Show this ad to girls (at the time, most likely to be interested)
- Only show in the London area (where the college is based)
- Who were about to leave school
- and so on...

Advertising on social media, done well, can be a powerful tool.

So, that covers the main basic elements, I hope this helps newbies get a bit of a head start. Social media can really help businesses grow whilst gaining valuable exposure, and in more ways than just one too! We have recently written a post about what else social media can do for your business called Embrace Social Media - check it out!