Congratulations! You’ve started your own business. You have invested your time and money while sacrificing some sanity to make your dream a reality. Now what?
Kudos to you for getting your business up and running; now make sure it stays that way by creating some quick revenue to pay the bills. It’s time to fire up your computer and create some social media accounts.

What is social media? By definition, social media are websites or online applications that businesses and individuals use to communicate and distribute information. If you were unaware of social media up until this point, that’s OK; it’s only in the last ten years or so that it has exploded onto the scene. What’s not OK is ignoring it today as a new business owner.

There are hundreds of social media accounts for your consideration. I suggest you start with the top three: FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Obviously, you want to connect with your target audience. As of February 2016, there are 1.1 billion Facebook users, 310 million users for Twitter and 255 million for LinkedIn. Chances are, your target audience is there and since all three are free to join, what a great way to market! Now, what do you want to say to them?

Marketing your business is complex, and if you don’t think it is, you are probably doing it wrong. Careful thought and consideration must be given to every last detail from the color of your logo to your promises to the public. This may seem daunting and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three questions to ask yourself before you start investing in social media:

1) Who are you?
More importantly, who do you want your customer to think you are? A good old fashion SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis will determine how you should position yourself against your competition. Be confident in who you are (aka your brand) before you try to explain it to your customer, or else you’ll both end up confused.

2) What’s your style?
Every social media account needs to present a unified look. What is yours? You need a logo, a slogan, a tagline, advertising copy, perhaps a spokesperson…whatever. However you want to present your business must be reflected the same in all your advertising. If not, you will look like a rookie and lose credibility; not to mention dollars. If you don’t have a talented graphic designer or marketing guru in your family, hire someone who knows how to create your vision. It’s that important.

3) Who’s in charge?
Every social media account must be synced. This means when you post an update about an upcoming sale on FaceBook that same post must also appear on Twitter and LinkedIn. You want to present to the public a well-oiled marketing machine that is always delivering timely, interesting, and useful information. This machine cannot have many operators. The more people that are managing accounts, the greater the possibility of error. Do yourself a favor and hire an expert to handle all your marketing. Your business is that important, and I’m pretty sure you like money. Make sure you earn a lot of it by taking care of your brand.

Businesses no longer have the luxury of deciding whether or not to engage in social media. If you want to succeed, you have to be online and actively reach out to your customers because most likely they are online searching for you. Now ask yourself those questions to figure out what to say to them and how to say it.