When it comes to starting a business, there are a lot of considerations to keep in mind. You need to develop your niche, create a website, and determine how you’re going to reach prospective customers or clients. But during the fray of setting up your business, it’s likely that you’ll end up overlooking one very important aspect: social media. 

Why do you need social media, you ask?

Only because most people are on there these days. Think about it, when you browse through the sites, scrolling past your friends and family’s posts, you often see ads, right? Perhaps you’ve even thought about buying or have purchased something as a result of the ads. They are what you need to set up and put into action. Your reach will expand as a result of your defined parameters — the criteria you set to distinguish your target audience. Once you unleash the power of social media advertising, you’ll be surprised at how much your business grows. 

Create company pages

While you might be tempted to use your personal account to promote your business, it’s not a good idea — for many reasons. Instead, create a business page. It’s easy and you can connect it to your private account so you don’t have to use multiple logins to post. Facebook is the most popular, with its ever-growing numbers of mergers and acquisitions you’re bound to expand your reach far wider than you imagined. 

With your company page, make sure you fill out all the pertinent information such as your website and your hours of operation if you run a retail location. Also, be sure to respond to messages that prospective customers are sure to send. If you don’t have the time or energy to do it, hire someone — you’ll be glad you did. Staying in touch with your customers — prospective or existing — is extremely important. 

Use your page to advertise new products, sales, upgrades, or services that you offer. Aim to post several times a week to keep your company relevant. You’ll also want to outsource social-media creative services to create your advertisements if you don’t have any design experience. These services can create a dynamic element designed to drive revenue. 

Interact with customers and viewers

If someone takes the time to visit your company page and leave a message or ask a question, it’s always a good idea to respond. Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, acknowledging the customer and doing your best to thank them or offer a solution will show you care and that you’re not just another machine. 

The more you interact, the more people come to regard the person behind the business instead of just the products or services you offer. It’s more personal, which many people look for when they’re doing business. They want to know they’re supporting someone who’s using the revenue to support a family, for example, instead of continuing to fund large faceless corporations. 

Refrain from political posts

In today’s society, political posts are everywhere. Post them on your personal page all you want, but when it comes to business dealings — and especially on social media where thousands of people have the potential to see them — don’t. You run the risk of driving away buyers if they don’t agree with your views. Your personal view should remain private. Viewers may feel as though you’re trying to push your agenda on them and they’ll do one of two things: unfollow you or report you. Keep it professional. 

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Connect with your audience

One way to connect with your audience is to post uplifting, positive messages. This is particularly helpful on Instagram. If you find that you’re pushing products too often, adding a weekly inspirational post can help break up the monotony. 

Use social media influencers

What’s a social media influencer? It’s a person who has a large following and is willing to showcase your products for a fee. Do your research and find one who can relate to your product and show it off in the manner it’s intended. Just be aware that the larger the following, the more you’ll end up paying. Those with smaller followings — known as nano influencers — can be just as effective, especially if they reach your target audience. 

Social media can be a very powerful business tool, but it also has the power to damage your reputation, too. Do your research and be diligent about what you post. If you need to, hire a social media manager, someone who’s skilled in building brands and promoting them appropriately. When used properly, the rewards are endless.

Steps for taking your business online

During these uncertain times, where many people are still on lockdown and businesses have seen significant drops in revenue, it’s more important than ever to take your company online. Regardless of whether you offer a product or service, online is where you need to be. Where do you start? It’s simple, let’s take a look at a few things you need to consider.

Brand yourself

Branding is very important, it tells the story of your company. It’s also something that customers or clients will recognize first when they see your logo or hear your catchphrase. Branding is more than just a logo or catchphrase, though. It can be a color scheme that sets you apart from others in the market; it can be the packaging. You decide what your branding is and make sure to tie all of your communication and marketing materials into it for a cohesive presentation.

Create that website

What’s that — you don’t know anything about designing websites? The good thing is you don’t need to have a fancy site. A basic one outlining your products or services will do, but steer clear of frames, flashing and scrolling text, and other 1990s formatting that’ll drive customers away instead of drawing them in — that went out with Y2K. Make sure you incorporate your branding as it will tie the entire package together. 

Wix, Weebly and WordPress are just a few platforms that can get you started. They’re easy to use, and they offer WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design tools. That means you can skip the code and see the layout, in real-time, as you’re creating it. Best of all, there are free templates and free sites you can use to help with the design, getting your site up and running without spending a dime out of pocket. 

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Of course, if you need more features, you’ll want to splurge on a more efficient website with tools — such as encryption — that help protect your visitor’s privacy if you offer sign-up or online sales.

Following eCommerce trends

If you’re opening an online shop, whether on Etsy — if you’re an artist — or on your standalone website, you’ll need to observe eCommerce trends. You already — presumably — know what you’re selling. Now, you have to know how to reach people who want to buy what you’re offering. 

First, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical. This means prepping your website with the appropriate terms in order to show up on searches. Additionally, you’ll want to learn how to use social media, if you don’t already know. 

Using social media to your advantage

Today’s eCommerce relies on social media to achieve higher levels of success. Advertising, for example, is prominent. Just think about any time you’ve been on Facebook or Instagram and noticed a promoted post. Those are specific ads created and sent out based on a demographic. Your demographic would be the parameters you assign your target audience. 

If you have a product that’s tailored to a specific audience, using a social media influencer is a good idea. Find one who fits your demographic, and has a decent following. Just keep in mind, the more followers one has, the higher their rates will be. On the other hand, you’ll get a good number of views and potential sales from the exposure.

It works for any industry

It’s not just eCommerce businesses taking to the web, either. The pandemic has made people in many industries creative. They now have to find new ways to reach their clients or patients. The health industry, for one, has taken to telehealth appointments for anything from diagnosing minor colds and ailments to providing therapy sessions. 

Even music lessons, for example, if you give piano or voice lessons, you can take this online. How? By using Zoom or Skype to give virtual instruction instead of in-person. Is it the same? No, but it has been a successful venture for many. Best of all, by taking it online, you now have an enormous reach. In-person lessons are restricted to those who can travel to your home or studio. Virtual lessons, on the other hand, can be given to anyone around the world. Talk about creating new revenue streams. 

Getting started is pretty simple, though there are basic steps you need to take to ensure success. Don’t jump in blindly, do your research beforehand, and take the time to craft your niche. With unemployment at a serious high, there’s never been a better time to take your business online — or even start one

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