There are 3.2 billion social media users in the world. That’s an incredibly large audience that presents amazing opportunities to connect. But when you’re launching a new social media presence for your brand, it can feel overwhelming. Get started with a few simple steps:
Choose the best platform(s) for your brand
Social media can be incredibly time consuming. There are a ton of different platforms and each one requires specific pieces of content — formatted in a certain way — in order to build a profile. Launching new social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, SnapChat, and LinkedIn may not all be necessary to get your brand off the ground. Instead, consider what your brand needs from social, and which platforms are home to the audience you want to reach, and then choose one or two platforms to start.
For example, if you are selling beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, you may want to start with Instagram. Instagram allows its users to share highly visual content to their followers. But if you’re opening a new accounting firm and won’t have a ton of imagery, you may want to start out on LinkedIn instead. LinkedIn is a professional networking social media site that allows individuals and businesses to create profile pages that share job openings, business updates, contact information, and press mentions.
Plan your posting cadence
Once you’ve decided which platform or platforms to start with, it’s time to start planning out your content. In addition to creating a profile which will likely require a few photos, a bio, and a link to your Squarespace website, it’s smart to start thinking about how often you’d like to post new items on your account. Do you want to start with something new every other day? Or would you prefer a weekly posting cadence? Take a calendar and start writing out different ideas for the next 4–6 weeks. That way you can see how many ideas you have and how often you’d like to share with your audience.
Keep in mind that you may not have too many followers at the beginning, so the first posts can be introductory in nature. For example, you may just want to post a few things about your business, new products you’re offering, or simply show off your latest press mention. Start to tell your story.
Distinguish yourself from competitors
When creating your brand’s social media presence, it’s important to create posts that are authentic to who you are and what you want to present to the world. Use tools like Unfold, which offers customizable, visually compelling story and post templates for platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, to launch a consistent visual identity across your social media channels. With Bio Sites from Unfold, you can also create consistency in your social media bios and deepen engagement across platforms.
Make sure your style and tone match up with your professional persona. For example, if your brand doesn’t typically have a sense of humor, it does not have to be funny online. Take a peek at some of your competitors’ social media pages. Explore the different things they are sharing and the ways people are engaging with them. This can be helpful in figuring out what conversations are already happening in your space and how you can participate in them effectively.
Draft and post your content
Once you’ve established the platforms you’d like to be on and your social style, it’s time to start drafting and sharing social media posts. Build out a calendar and post according to your own timeline. Apps like Unfold make planning your posts even easier. With sophisticated post scheduling tools, Unfold users can draft and schedule Instagram posts in advance—and even cross-post to other social media platforms with the click of a button.
Unfold’s post scheduling empowers you to set aside time weeks in advance to schedule all your content for the week or month. Instead of disrupting your workflow throughout the week with posting, you can keep your posting cadence consistent in advance, and use your time throughout the week to engage with your followers and focus on other priorities. Posting consistently helps set expectations for your followers, fostering trust as your audience grows.
When you schedule your posts, double check all of your copy for typos and remember to test out any links that you’re sharing with your followers. If you’re tagging someone in a post, it’s crucial that their name or handle is spelled correctly—otherwise the post will not actually tag them. Some brands use a custom link shortener like bit.ly or Google to keep track of how many people are clicking on the links that they share in posts. This will come in handy when analyzing the effects your social media presence has on your business.
Engage your followers
After your posts go live, people may begin to follow your account and engage with the content. It’ll help build relationships with your audience if you reply to the people who are responding to your account. Responding to your followers helps build brand loyalty, adds an additional sense of authenticity to the account, and helps you build a community around your brand.
If you receive negative comments, you can choose not to respond, or you can ask them to send you a private message so you can help them in a less public forum. It’s always a good idea to moderate your comment sections. As you build a community, your followers will have an easier and more enjoyable experience engaging with you and your brand when your comment section is free from any forms of harassment or spam. Checking your comments regularly for negative examples like those—and deleting them where necessary—will help you cultivate relationships with your audience that stay positive and on topic.
Analyze performance and innovate
Like any online brand building exercise, social media takes time to master. Reflect on the posts you’ve shared and see how they have performed. For example, if you use Instagram, you could compare which posts received a lot of comments and saves, compared to posts that only received likes. The differences between those posts could help you understand what types of content people are spending more time engaging with, and which content types aren’t making as deep of an impact on your audience.
You can also look for patterns in content performance based on the days and times you’ve posted. For example, maybe your audience engaged more actively with your Sunday evening post because they were distracting themselves from the “Sunday Scaries”—but your Tuesday afternoon post with similar content received much lower engagement because your audience was busy with their workdays. Once you get a sense for the best days/times to reach your audience with fresh content, you can adjust your publishing cadence as you schedule posts ahead of time in the Unfold app.
As you learn more about what your audience is interested in seeing from you on social media, set goals for your accounts and see how you can change up your content to reach those milestones. There’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ social media presence, so take measured risks and see how they perform for you. As you continue to build your social media accounts, you’ll be able to share your brand with an even broader audience which will ultimately help you grow your business.
This post was updated on January 26, 2022.