We’ve adopted the internet into countless aspects of our lives. Social media has, in turn, become such a significant part of our lives – whether we like it or not. From keeping up with friends and family to following companies we love, reading news on Facebook and Twitter and discovering inspirational influencers on Instagram, social media has become a go-to source for a constant flow of information. As a result, it has become a place to see, to be seen, and to become connected – particularly for companies.

What’s the point?

A company’s social media presence can offer numerous benefits. It can:

  • Provide a glimpse into their culture and values.
  • Help build a larger-than-life presence and provide more value to the company’s name – particularly since people often question whether or not a company is real if they can’t be found on any social media platform.
  • Establish a unique personality tied to the brand, with flexible posting and personalization capabilities that open doors to the most creative of content.
  • Serve as another route for the brand to engage with the audience, as well as a point-of-contact for consumers to reach the company – quickly being able to tweet at a brand is much easier than trying to find a customer service contact and sending an email.

Let’s talk about timing.

Regardless of benefits, there’s one thing to keep in mind: timing is everything. If a company is just starting out, perhaps it’s not quite time to jump into the online world. Instead, the best time to kick off social media profiles is when a company is established, with solid brand messaging and something to tell their audience.

If you are at that time, there are two key things you should know before you make the leap:

  • What you want your social presence to drive. Are you looking to attract recruits? Are you trying to build a larger customer base? This will help you direct your efforts and your content.
  • Who your point person is. Who will manage your platforms and make any final calls? This person should be able to provide insight on initiatives and run with creative ideas.

Where should we start?

When your company is at a solid standing with its brand messaging and ready to dive into the social media world, it’s time to address the big question: which platforms do you start with?

There’s no single, correct answer here. This fully depends on your company’s goals with their online presence as mentioned above. With that, it’s difficult to pin-point any particular set of social channels all companies should start with.

So take the time to address what you want your presence to drive and consider how each platform can help. Twitter is great for sharing quick news and updates; LinkedIn can help with hiring efforts; Facebook is great for growing a dedicated community. When we work on social media for our clients here at Inner Circle Labs, we often find ourselves starting with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – but the choice is yours.

Moving forward…

As you begin to build your company’s social presence, make sure to remember these three simple, yet crucial things:

  • Don’t neglect the platforms. Stay consistent with your posting cadence and keep your content interesting. Engage with your followers and give each profile the attention it needs to grow. It won’t grow without your help!
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start small and grow your way up the stepladder. Stick with a few posts a week and don’t commit to posting four times a day unless you’re prepared to stick with it – know not to overwhelm yourself initially.
  • Pay attention to your posts and the comments that follow. This is a twofold concept – first, be aware of your posts and make sure that they are a) conveying the message you intended, b) don’t have any spelling or grammar errors and c) are interesting enough to draw an audience. Second, keep an eye on the comments and responses to your posts – and don’t be afraid to respond to them, either. Engagement is key, and knowing how your audience feels about your content can help you tweak or develop your content further in the future.

All in all, social media is a beautifully constructed way to reach an audience in the most personal form – as long as you know how and when to use it. It’s a must-have for companies looking to share big news, just like the traditional press release in the PR world. Social media will only continue to grow in years to come and will become an even more necessary platform to share company announcements and thought leadership. Consider this carefully, and use it wisely.

Other social media tips to share? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ICLabs/.