Social Media. It’s out there. It’s looming. For some, it’s a big, black hole of unknown. For business owners, it’s a must. Yes, it can be scary and intimidating, but it’s also necessary and important for most everyone doing business- both off and online.

Stay connected to your people!

Why is Social Media important? As business owners, it must be a part of the plan of action- communicating with those who love you and finding new people to fall in love you are critical to the success of your business. With Social Media dominating the majority of our time online, you have to find ways to use it wisely to stay connected.

Tune into the best channels for you and your business

How do channels get determined? In my work as a branding strategist, I work closely with clients to find the best channels to use to stay connected online. First things first, you need to know who your target audiences are. Who are they and where are they “hanging out” online? If you’re not where they are, you’re not in the right place to communicate with them.

Quick case study: A client of mine, who is a business coach, wants to work with more female entrepreneurs looking to incorporate purpose into their work and are in their mid-late 30’s and up. Together, we determined the channel her target audience was using most was Facebook. So, we created a robust and complete Facebook for Business page, complete with an awesome profile of her business*** and began asking her current clientele to like the page and share it with others, to help boost likes and shares all around. It helped that my client is perfectly comfortable communicating using Facebook, so she looked at it as a great opportunity and not a dreaded task to check off her list.

***If the idea of using Facebook makes you feel vulnerable personally, remember, the page you need to make is for your business. Yes, you’ll be posting, but you’ll be posting about your business — not about what you ate for dinner last night!

How do I know what to say or post?

I asked a colleague of mine, Wendy Sloneker, of West Seattle Content Desk and Content Planning 101 for some ideas on creating content for your Social Media channels.

Work with a pro if you can

“If an owner is already working with a marketing professional, so much the better,” Wendy says. “Content creation and implementation are actually faster and easier with higher-level marketing work completed. No work is wasted. All marketing efforts can be sourced into easing content creation.”

Make a plan to save time

Content Planning 101, a program for owners, was developed based on the work I do as a freelance writer. It’s based on a process I created for my own business and have modified to support owners looking to take their marketing to the next level,” Wendy adds.”In my experience as a professional writer for the last 5 years, and an off & on freelancer for 20, the efficiency really comes from the planning.”

As a planner myself, I was happy to hear that planning is the key. And as a user of her Strategic Content Planner, I get excited at looking at the big picture not only for the month, but for the next few. I think it’s important to plan out as far as you can so that you’re not stuck when it comes to publishing day and you’re out of ideas. The planner is more than just an offline planner to get you online effectively and efficiently, but it is also a system that works.

Make sure someone is “home”

My best advice when it comes to social is this: Be consistent with your efforts. If you do a bunch of posting and then drop off the map for a year, it gives your audience the impression that no one is “home”. If they think you’re not interested in posting, they will wonder why they should visit.

Special thanks to Wendy Sloneker for her thoughts on Social Media for this post!