How to get started with social media

We've all be there, in the beginning, you make your first Facebook Business page or Twitter account, you fill out your profile, and then upload your company logo (calling it branding), then... you become lost.

You aren't sure what to do, or how to make it work for your small business. So you schedule some posts about some killer advantages your company has and... nothing.

Then you try to be more "personable", so you share pictures of your cat fluffy.

The internet likes cats right? So that should work.

Silence.

What could you be doing wrong?

Starting in the social media space can be daunting when you don't know what you are doing, but you can easily tackle it when keeping a few key things in mind.

Your customers aren't thinking about you or your business.
Social media is a quick moving space, and users are typically on there to kill time or connect with friends or family.

This means that the last thing they want is to be sold too or hear a pitch about how awesome you or your business is.

On the flip side, how do you use social to grow your business if you aren't supposed to sell to them?

What's the middle ground?

Go where you are wanted, and make it about your customers instead of you.

Don't force yourself into conversations on Twitter simply because there is a hashtag used that's related to your business. Instead, join a conversation that's already active talking about your industry. You can also answer someone's question that they put out there, without the alterer motive of driving them to your website, or getting them on the phone to have them become a client.

Social media is all about building relationships over time, and you can't build a relationship with someone if all you are doing is thinking of yourself and your bottom line.

Have fun with it, but keep it relevant.
Part of the value of social media is to be entertaining.

This might sound like the exact opposite of what you want as a company, but it's a perfect opportunity to build true customer loyalty.

Social media gives you the opportunity to get in front of your clients without them being defensive about you selling to them. Which means you have to give them something more than a way to join your newsletter or how to use one of your products.

Making your posts fun, inspiring, or entertaining is how you can do that.

If you're a realtor that brings their dog everywhere, incorporate that, share pictures of your puppy being your "assistant" to your business. But if your adorable pet has nothing whatsoever to do with your company, then it doesn't belong on social.

Even if Fluffy gets more shares and likes than anything else you are posting, it's not relevant, and you will only gain a follow of people interested in animal posts instead your business, which doesn't help you grow as a company.

Don't have an adorable pet-related to your business, or have a business about a topic most people aren't too crazy about? Twitter user @going_concern is a great example of how you can make light of an otherwise boring subject matter while still keeping it relevant to what you do.

On the flip side, you can also be a resource of information or inspiration. It doesn't have to be all fun and games, but it should add to their day.

At the end of the day, social media is about building connections and fostering relationships. It's like any good friendship; it takes time.

But if you take that time you will build a following of lifetime customers, which really should be the end goal.

It takes a while to gain that traction, you almost have to prove yourself against all the noise of everyone else.

But if you keep the focus on others, and have fun with it at the same time, they will come.