Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, Foursquare and more for business?

Social media can play a part in your entrepreneurial business success.

Have you ever heard of social media? OMG, it's tough to figure out, let alone to understand how it all works. However, today’s consumers carry with them a small, portable computer that keeps them in touch via various media. It's called a smartphone, yet they don’t hold it to their ear, they hold it in front of their face. This is where you want your marketing messages to be.

There are plethora of social media outlets available, and if you’re not using it for your business, you are probable wondering which one to use—or should you use all of them? Entrepreneurs who come to Michigan State University Extension for advice face this issue each and every day. It seems that every day a new social platform come out, and you want to engage your customers with this new medium. B4 you begin on a social marketing campaign, learn some background to have FAB success so you don’t have your followers ROFL or LMAO with your campaign. Take your time in implementing a new program.

The hardest part is to get started. Therefore, you should begin by registering with social media sites that your customers use. How do you know which ones? Ask your customers which outlets they use when they are in your store. Register for as many social media sites you discover. Next, you should start following your competition, and review the content that your competition publishes. If your local competition does not publish on social media, then follow a business in your field in another market. Somebody does it—you should follow them to learn what they are doing.

When you are comfortable with what others are doing on their social media sites, you can start by emulating what others are doing. This is a good starting point for your efforts. However, it is easy to get too involved with these social platforms, and then you’re not paying attention to your own business. Since you have registered for many social platforms, and you have been following your competition, you should have a good feel for which media platforms you prefer.

Now you have to decide which platform you want to use for your business. Just remember, in real life, you cannot be everything to everybody. So, you will have to select one or two social platforms to engage with your target customer. If you attempt too many social platforms, your efforts will become overwhelming, and you will lose focus. My suggestion is to do what you enjoy doing. For me, it’s photography, so I engage by using Pinterest and Instagram. You should be able to find something you enjoy doing.

You can have much success in using social media to reach and engage with your target customer. Be selective on what platforms to engage with your customer. You will have success if you are consistent and when your messages engage with your audience and not simply to promote a specific offer. Now get out there and start a conversation using a social media platform.

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