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Guide to setting up your social media accounts

11 April 2012

For part two in this social media series we’ll look at how to set up your accounts, choosing names and images and working out your time commitment. (Click here to read the first article in this series: ‘How to choose which social media application is right for your business’)

As a small business owner, you’ve no doubt already spent time on your business branding and naming. Assuming that those elements are already in place it’s now time to look at applying them to your social media profiles. 

Once you’ve decided which social media applications are the most applicable to your type of business the next step is to set up your accounts. It’s worth spending some time thinking about your choices and making sure that your online accounts represent you and your business in the best possible way. 

In the table below we’ve outlined the basics for:

•Creating an account

•Choosing a name

•Using images

•Time required to maintain and update your account(s)

 

Application

How to create an account

Tips for choosing a name

Tips for using images

Recommended time commitment


Facebook
www.facebook.com

 


If you don’t already have one, the first step is to create a personal Facebook account; business accounts must be linked to a personal account (
Click here for a tutorial on setting up a personal account). Next, from the Facebook homepage, click on the on text that says “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business.” When setting up your business page you’ll be asked what type of entity you are representing; for small businesses the most suitable options are Local Business or Place, or Company, Organisation or Institution. Step through the questions and enter your business details. (For a full tutorial, click here.)

 


Choose your Facebook name carefully – once it’s done, it cannot be changed. Ever. This is the link that you promote on- and off-line. If you don’t specify a page name, Facebook will generate an ugly, long link name for you. To change this to a simpler, name-based link, do the following:

1.     Open your Page's Admin Panel

2.     Click Manage 

3.     Select Edit Page

4.       Select Basic Information from the left sidebar

5.       Change the text in the Name field and save your edits.


With Facebook’s change to the Timeline format for all business pages on 30 March 2012, your page now includes a large cover photo (851 pixels wide x 315 pixels high) as well as a profile photo (180 x 180 pixels).  Your profile picture is the image that most people will see in their News Feed, so best to make this your business name or logo.  For your cover photo, choose an image that shows off your business, while keeping in mind that you can’t include contact details, a call to action or encouragement to buy.


Once your page is set up, it’s recommended that you post an update three to five times each week. That said, the normal rule applies: Quality over Quantity.  To stay abreast of what your page Likers, and other businesses you like, are saying, plus share posts you think your audience would appreciate, you’ll need to allocate around 30 minutes per day for managing your Facebook business page.
 

TIP: The new Timeline format makes it VERY obvious how often (or not) you’re posting updates. Be sure to maintain your commitment.

Application

How to create an account

Tips for choosing a name

Tips for using images

Recommended time commitment


LinkedIn
www.linkedin.com

 


Similar to Facebook you can create both a personal and a business profile on LinkedIn. Consider your objectives for being on LinkedIn to decide if you need a profile for your business as well; you may decide a personal profile is sufficient.  To create an account, go to the homepage and choose “Join now”. Work through the steps and complete your details. It’s really important that your profile is 100% complete; LinkedIn will tell you what elements are still to be completed. You may even consider not making your profile public until its 100% complete.

(Example: My completed LinkedIn profile)


Of all the social media platforms reviewed here, choosing your LinkedIn name is probably the simplest. LinkedIn will assume that the name to be displayed on your profile is the first name and surname that you entered when you signed up. One thing you can do is specify a custom URL which looks much neater in promotions. To do this, go to:

·         Settings (located under your name in top right corner)

·         Edit Public Profile

·         Customise Public Profile URL

·         Enter the name you’d like in your URL

Custom URL example: http://www.linkedin.com/in/alisonclinch


Given LinkedIn is a business medium, its best to use a professional photo as your profile picture. For consistency and recognition, aim to use this same photo on all of your social media profiles.

 


Similar to Facebook, you should be posting some type of status update several times per week. This could be about an article you’ve read, a new connection you’ve made, or an event you’re planning to attend. Again, look to commit 30 minutes per day to maintain your profile and stay abreast of your connections.

 

Application

How to create an account

Tips for choosing a name

Tips for using images

Recommended time commitment


Twitter
www.twitter.com

 


Creating a Twitter account is super simple. Go to the homepage and complete your details in the ‘Sign up to Twitter’ box. Twitter will then guide you through sending your first Tweet and finding others to follow.

 


First thing to get familiar with is that your Twitter name is referred to as your ‘handle’. Twitter will suggest a username/handle for you; however you can change it to something else, provided the handle isn’t already in use. For business use it’s best to choose a logical, transparent handle; e.g. your name, initials, company name, or the name of one of your flagship products.




Your profile image will appear quite small, so choose a picture
(either a professional photo of yourself or your company logo) that is easily recognisable, even at a small size (700k limit). You can also upload a background image which will span the entire screen of your profile. Follow these steps:

·          Choose Settings from the top navigation bar

·          Click the tab labelled Design

·          Scroll to Customise your own

·          Upload the image you want to use as your background image (800k limit)

 


Twitter is the most time intensive of all the social media applications. With the massive number of tweets that are posted every day, you need to post three to five times per day to ensure that you appear in your Followers news stream. On top of your own Tweets, you should also Retweet posts made by others, and send direct messages. You’ll need to allocate a total of 30 minutes to one hour every day – spaced out across the day.

Application

How to create an account

Tips for choosing a name

Tips for using images

Recommended time commitment


YouTube
www.youtube.com


To create your account, head to the homepage and choose ‘Create an account’ from the top of the screen. Once you’ve entered all the necessary information you’ll be asked to sign in with a Gmail account (FYI: Google owns YouTube). If you don’t already have a Gmail account, you’ll need to create one. If you’re using YouTube for business, it’s best to create a separate Gmail account that’s just for business use.
 

 

 


You’ll be asked to specify your username when you’re creating your account. It’s important to think about this name carefully as it will be the name of your YouTube channel (and viewable by everyone). We recommend choosing a name that reflects you or your brand; don’t choose a name thinking that it will help with search engine results. Format wise, your YouTube username must be one word with no spaces or special characters, however you can use upper and lower case, e.g. AlisonClinch or EquanimityServices.


When people visit your channel, they’ll see a small profile picture in the top left corner. As always choose an image that’s professional and instantly recognisable. This image will also appear as a small icon in the video feed of people who have subscribed to your channel. To change your profile picture go to:

·         Settings(under your name drop down in top right corner)

·         Click Profile Setup

·         Choose Change picture and upload your new image


To demonstrate that you’re an active content provider, you’ll need to upload a new video once a week. Depending on your video creation skills, you’ll need to commit 1 – 2 hours each week for making and uploading videos.

Application

How to create an account

Tips for choosing a name

Tips for using images

Recommended time commitment


Pinterest
www.pinterest.com

 


As has been common with ‘new’ social media applications, Pinterest is operating on an ‘invitation-only’ basis. You can ask a friend with a Pinterest account to invite you, or simply go to the homepage and click ‘Request an invite’. Most requests are granted within 24 – 48 hours.  If you’re also using Twitter, it’s best to use the same email address that you use for Twitter and sign up via the Twitter option (don’t choose the Facebook option; at this stage it only offers linking to personal pages, not business pages).


By default Pinterest will use your first and last name as your account name. To change your username to something different, do the following:

·         Go to Settings (under your name drop down in top right corner)

·         Scroll down to the Username section

·         Enter your new username and click Save.

You can now promote your account as: http://pinterest.com/username

TIP: If you’re setting up an account for a company or brand that is just one word, it’s recommended that you use “(Official)” as the last name.


Pinterest is all about images! Your profile picture is still important, but most important is the images you pin to your boards. If you’ve logged in via Twitter or Facebook, your profile image will default to the image you use on that account. To change your profile image, go to:

·         Settings (under your username drop down in top right corner)

·         Scroll down to the Image section

·         Choose Upload an image or Refresh


As per their code of ethics, Pinterest discourages self promotion. Look to pin a mixture of images about you and your brand or company, as well as images which are more broadly related to your industry. Frequency wise, plan to pin images anywhere between several times per day, to a minimum of 2 – 3 times per week.

 

In the third and final article in this series on social media we’ll look at how to ease the burden of coming up with regular content, creating a calendar template for social media updates so you can schedule your posts in advance, and aligning your posts with topical news and events.

Alison Clinch is the Director and Owner of Equanimity Services, a boutique Marketing Communications consultancy. With more than 20 years’ experience in Marketing Communications, it’s fair to say that she’s found her niche and loves that what she does is described as ‘work’. 

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