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Starting Out

What steps to take if you are just starting your business journey 

Starting Out

How to start building your online presence with
Facebook and Instagram 

If you were just starting out when Covid-19 hit, your customer base may have been growing through word of mouth, foot traffic, and putting yourself out there day-to-day. This has become harder and harder, and in some cases impossible, due to safe distancing restrictions. But, by taking the right steps to adapt your business to communicate online, you can stay connected to your community and find ways to keep things going, and hopefully, growing. 

 

With that in mind, here is some advice for getting your business on to social media and a guide for how to manage your online presence. 

 

How to set up Facebook Pages/Instagram Business

Facebook and Instagram are where most businesses will begin to create their social media presence. They are easy to use, have a large userbase, and provide simple ways for people to interact with you and your business online.  

 

You may already be familiar with using Facebook and Instagram in your personal life, and perhaps use them to keep in contact with friends and family. Using these platforms for business uses a similar user interface design, but with a lot more tools at your disposal. 

 

Either way, you will need an account. The best way to get on to both sites would be using a Facebook account, as you can log in to Instagram with that account, saving the need to remember two unique logins. To get started, head over to Facebook and Instagram and follow the instructions provided. 

 

You will be asked to provide details about your business, such as name, location, phone number, and operating hours. This information is very important, as you do not want to miss out on connecting with customers because they struggled to find or contact you.  

 

This is also an opportunity for you to upload photos of your business. If you have an existing logo or branding, try it out and see if it looks good to someone landing on your page. Another option, which is a great way to draw people in visually, is to use photos of your business operations or products. If your images are clear and high quality, people will immediately understand what product or services you provide and may be enticed to investigate further and find out more about your business. 

Setting up your social media accounts is easy. Photo: Unsplash

 

Growing your online audience

The first thing to do once you are all set up with a business social profile is to invite people to like or follow your page. This can be intimidating when you first launch, but if you have friends or customers on the platform already, you can use your personal account to reach out and invite them to connect with your business page. This can get you over the hurdle of being a blank page, which will have a tough time being discovered by new customers. 

 

You can also launch your page by creating a paid advertisement to promote your business. You could let people know that you are still open and able to be contacted, tell them you are operating online in a new way, or promote a product or service that you think people would be interested in. This can be done by creating a text post, image, or video, and using the options to boost the post. There are options for targeting demographics and regions, so consider your target audience and location before making your final decision. 

 

You also want to encourage people seeing the advertisement to take action, either by visiting your page, checking out your product, or redeeming a special offer or discount. Keep it appropriate for your business, but try and hype your business up so that people are eager to see what you have going on. 

Actively engage with your online viewers regularly. Photo: Unsplash

 

Keep them coming back

Once you have launched your page, you have completed the hardest part of the process. From here on out, if you maintain your page and direct people to it, you should be seeing growth over time. On the analytics page, you can see from week to week and month to month how many people are joining your page, and how they interact with it. 

 

For this growth to occur, you must keep putting yourself out there to be discovered. However, do not feel like you must post content every minute of every day. When you are first starting out, it can be exciting seeing people respond positively and feel like you should be putting up posts constantly to keep people engaged. While posting regularly is good, posting too much can become tiring for both you and the people who follow your page. 

 

Try to post no more than twice a day if you have a lot going on, preferably in the morning or around midday, and in the evening around dinner time. This is when most people are likely to be checking their social media feeds and will come across your post. Once you are in a more established position online, consider posting once a day, or maybe once every few days, with a focus on putting things up on Friday nights and weekends, when people will be checking out their social feeds. 

 

You can also create posts in advance, and schedule them to be posted at a certain time. This is good, as it means you do not need to be constantly in a creative mindset, and can work out a plan, implement it, and move on to the next task. 

By planning ahead you can take some pressure off your business management. Photo: Unsplash

 

Managing your communications

Even further down the line, once you have launched, grown, and gotten into a rhythm of posting social content, you will notice people reaching out to you via comments and messages. Again, it can feel exciting to get messages, but be careful to consider when you are checking them. Not everything that comes through will be urgent – you can set your store as closed for certain times and respond to messages when you get back to work. 

 

However, if it’s within your business hours, it is important to be reading and replying to these messages in a timely manner. If people have a good experience and are engaging with you and your business, they are much more likely to recommend you to their friends. By responding to these messages in a timely manner you can also get more business by being the first one to a job, or by explaining what sets you apart to a customer directly rather than them trying to understand your business from a written description alone. 

Keep an eye on comments and messages on social media. Photo: Unsplash

 

Using correctly sized images

As you begin to become more comfortable with posting and managing content on your business account, you will want to take some time to understand the various styles of posts and content that you can utilize, and figure out quick ways to create content that looks good on the platform.

 

Facebook and Instagram have various layouts in which users will be seeing your updates. Once you understand how your content is being displayed, it would be beneficial to check out image size cheat sheets for Facebook and Instagram, so that you can have digital assets made or adjusted to the correct size necessary to fit in seamlessly on everyone’s feed, making your business look professional and appealing. 

Using the right photo can make a huge difference. Photo: Unsplash

 

Other platforms

Depending on the product or service you provide, and your target audience, there are other social media platforms that may benefit your business. If you are looking for other businesses to work with, Twitter is an effective way to make these connections. LinkedIn delivers insight into business marketing trends and has a great network of professional contacts that are easy to discover. By getting yourself involved on these platforms, you can make connections that will support your business in its professional space. 

 

For a business that wants to promote itself to an audience that is younger, Snapchat and TikTok are the place to be, as young people are moving towards using these social media platforms over Facebook and Instagram. The style of content is fast paced and fun and is a great way to share creative and engaging media about the benefits of your business. 

 

Before diving into these platforms, make sure you understand the ideas discussed about Facebook and Instagram. While the content itself can be very different, the same ideas of clarity, discoverability, and professional identity are still important to stick to. 

If your target audience is younger you may want to get involved in Snapchat or TikTok. Photo: Unsplash

 
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