Whether you’re starting from scratch or breathing new life into your old accounts, here are five things that will get you on the right track for social media according to our social media specialist.

  1. Research your audience. If you’ve chosen to use Pinterest to target men, which, according to Pew Research Center, captured 13% of online men compared to 42% of online women in 2014, you’ve got an uphill battle on your hands. While this gender imbalance is no surprise and serves as a broad example of picking the right social media platforms, Pinterest can be a strong channel for your business to reach a subset or niche audience of men. For example, a high-end men’s clothing brand would likely perform better, since men use Pinterest as a visual bookmarking system with an intent to buy. It’s important to understand your business and audience in your selection process. Your audience will change over time, and realignment may be necessary.

  1. Keep your brand consistent. Let’s say you’ve decided to go with Facebook and Instagram, currently ranked first and eighth respectively for social media platforms according to market share. Make sure your usernames, profile pictures and bios are the same or similar. After you’ve built a relationship with a follower on Facebook, make it as easy as possible for them to recognize you on Instagram. Consider it this way: You visit a new grocery store and look for your favorite cereal. When you find it, your cereal has a new logo, the box color has changed and its description isn’t in familiar language. It’s not bad, just different. Do you still buy the cereal?

  1. Be tactical in your messaging. It’s a hard balance—the right amount of the right content at the right time. To add to the complexity, the solution is different for each social media platform. Consider the focus of content, the frequency of posting and the dead zone for each social platform. These numbers may vary across industries and organizations but should serve as benchmarks for successful posting.

  1. Organize your content. The value of killer content is greatly reduced when it goes out a week late, and worthless if it never goes out at all. We recommend a content calendar to ensure you’re hitting your important dates, giving all of your accounts attention and aren’t repeatedly posting content that performs poorly. This is typically a simple spreadsheet that details what you will post, on what day and time, and to what platform each month, but can certainly be more in-depth.

  1. Manage it all. After you’ve populated your content calendar, you’ve got to get it online. Take time to research a social media manager that will adequately meet all of your needs and is easy to use. Three primary functions you’ll want in any software are scheduling, monitoring and reporting. Respectively, these functions allow you to draft and schedule a post for later, keep track of multiple accounts simultaneously and access in-depth analytics.