Math was never my strong suit in school, but there are times when I wish I was a mathematician so my work would involve clear right and wrong answers. Most of the time, though, I love the gray areas of content and community, or writing and social media. I answer a lot of questions with, “It depends.”

All this to say that while I wish there was an easy formula for how to use social media that applies to every business, there just isn’t. There is so much about engaging potential customers on social media that’s unique to your industry, location, and target audience – it’s almost impossible to issue blanket statements that will apply to everyone.


While there’s plenty to customize when you’re forming your social media strategy, there are two things every single business should do on social media, no matter what you do or what platforms you use.

Lock Down Your Brand Name Everywhere…

Regardless of whether that shiny, new social media platform that everyone’s talking about is a place where your target audience gathers or you plan to spend any time, you need to register for an account as soon as possible with your brand name. Sure, it sounds like common sense, but we’ve all heard stories of companies that had to buy their brand’s Twitter name from someone who scooped it up before they got around to it. Don’t be that guy.

A subsection of this is to use the exact same social name for your brand whenever possible. Again, sounds like a “duh” statement, right? Well, Ian and I both have experience with businesses using slightly different profile names on different platforms – a period between words here, an underscore there. Those little differences are confusing to would-be customers. Make it easy on them (and yourself). Pick one social moniker for your brand and use it everywhere.

You won’t know immediately whether that new social platform will be the new Instagram or the next Ello. You may end up using it extensively, or you may register and never visit the site again. Either way, having your brand profile names locked down on every platform means you’re ready for whatever engagement opportunities arise.

…But Don’t Try to Be Everywhere.

When you’re doing outreach to potential customers, it’s easy to get carried away by every social platform out there, thinking you’ve got to be posting on all of them all the time so people see you and know about your business. The trouble is that you can’t be everywhere – at least not effectively – and people can tell when you’re just posting and not engaging.

Instead of trying (and failing) to spin a dozen plates, pick a few that make sense for your business. There are several factors to consider when choosing which platforms are right for you – including knowing where your target audience is and which platforms make the most sense for your industry. I love this article on the Sprout Social blog, “How to Find the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business.” You may still need to experiment based on the information in that article, but it’ll definitely give you a push in the right direction.

After that, your task is simple – be present on the social networks you plan to use actively.

Word to the Wise: Link only to the social networks you monitor regularly on your website. Don’t lead people on and then not deliver.

Next Article: