Getting Started: Social Media 101

Posted on July 15th 2013

Getting Started: Social Media 101
Businesses, large and small, are learning that social media marketing and promotion is crucial in today's market, especially with the younger demographic.  But, maybe your business hasn't jumped on the bandwagon yet.  Maybe it relies solely on "tried and true" marketing methods such as print media, business cards, newsletters, and the like.  If your company's reluctance to dip its toes in the social media marketing pool is because it doesn't know where to start, here are a few tips:
1.  Pick the Right Social Media Platform
Just because "all" companies are on Facebook doesn't mean that's the right platform for your business.  There is no one-size-fits all approach to selecting the appropriate social media platform or platforms.  If you are just starting out, set aside an hour or so on your calendar to visit three social media sites to see what they offer.  Check out what your competitors are doing, especially those who have been successfully using social media for at least a year or more.  Talk to your peers about their experience on a variety of sites - what works and what doesn't.  Then, sign up for one site, and stick with it for a few months before choosing additional platforms. 
2.  Adopt a Social Media Policy
Every business should have a social media policy in place that addresses two issues:  (1) employee usage of social media and (2) the company's social media activities.  You can read more about what should go into a social media policy by revisiting this blog post titled "9 Tips for Drafting an Employee Social Media Policy." 
3.  Start with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great starting point for professionals and companies to start.  It's a great place for businesses and professionals to network and "connect" with others without a lot of the more personal content encountered on Facebook and Twitter.  It's also easy to set up a LinkedIn profile and start "connecting."  Businesses and professionals can immediately find users to connect with through their email contact lists, and join groups and organizations that broaden their networks. 
Julie Tappendorf

Julie Tappendorf

Partner, Ancel Glink

Julie Tappendorf is a partner in the Chicago law firm, Ancel Glink.  Julie has published on a variety of government issues, including the book  Local Governments and Social Media: Navigating the New Public Square, published by the ABA in 2013. She is a frequent speaker at conferences on the legal and ethical issues with social media use.  She has drafted numerous social media policies for companies and governmental entities, conducts employee trainings on the use of social media, and counsels employers on employee disciplinary matters.

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