A pile of thumbs-up characters represent the "likes" that can be attained on social media platforms by a small business that masters those channels

Social Media 101: Getting Started

Whether you’re a local shop or an e-commerce store, establishing your business’s social media presence is vital. Now, it’s more important than ever before to establish your presence in the channels your customers, prospects, and future employees use most. Why? Because social media can help your small business build brand recognition, familiarity, and trust with your audience.

In this article, we start with the fundamentals. Read on to learn how to get your business started on some of the most popular social media platforms.

 


Facebook

Facebook is the most widely used social network in the world, so it’s vital your business has a presence there. Before attempting to set up a Facebook Page for your business, ensure you have a personal account and are logged in. Then, follow these steps:

 

Step 1: Create Your Page

Go to facebook.com/pages/create and enter your business information. Your page name is the business name Facebook users will see.

Under Category, start typing a word that describes your business (such as “jewelry” or “restaurant”) and choose one of the options that Facebook suggests. You can add up to 3 categories.

Under Description, type a brief summary explaining what your business does, such as, “Trendy online store selling women’s apparel, clothing and accessories.” This will appear in your page’s “About” section. When you’re done, click the “Create Page” button.

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A screenshot of a social media page for a small business

 

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Step 2: Add Images

Now it’s time to upload profile and cover images. Choose images that are high-quality and represent your brand.

Your profile image appears on the top left of your Facebook page and shows up in searches. Consider using your logo or an image of your company’s main offering, such as a slice of cake for a bakery. Note that your Facebook profile picture is 170×170 pixels on desktop and 128×128 on mobile and will be cropped to a circle. When you’re ready to add your photo, click “Add Profile Photo” and select your image.

Your cover image will be the most prominent photo on your Facebook Business page. Make sure it’s high-quality so the image is clear; the recommended size to upload is 720 x 315 pixels. Consider using a photo of the inside of your business or a wide shot of an array of your products. Once you’ve decided which photo to use, click Upload a Cover Photo and select it.

Finally, click “Save” to save your changes. Now you can begin posting on your Facebook Business page!

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A screenshot of a social media page for a small business

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Instagram

Whether you’re a restaurant, a dog-walking service, or a clothing company, Instagram is vital for reaching your customers with appealing imagery. Here’s how to sign up for an Instagram business account.

 

Step 1: Create an Account

If you have an existing Instagram account you’d like to use for your business, skip to Step 2. Otherwise, download the Instagram app to your mobile device and sign up for a new account, choosing a username that’s suited to your business. (You can also do this on a desktop by going to instagram.com/emailsignup)

If your desired username is taken, get creative. Consider adding “shop” to the beginning or end of the name and/or using the . or _ characters. Example usernames: shop_goldiestore, daves_store, shop.vintage.duds.

Avoid using random strings of numbers, which may make your business look less professional.

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A screenshot of the Instagram log-in page

 

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Step 2: Convert Your Account to Business

Using the mobile app, log into your existing Instagram account. Tap the profile icon in the lower right corner. Tap the three lines icon in the top right corner, then tap Settings. Tap Switch to Professional Account and select a category for your business (such as Shopping & Retail or Clothing Brand). Then add your business’s contact information (note that adding your address means it will be displayed publicly on your profile) and tap Done.

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A screenshot of setting up a social media page for a small business

 

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Step 3: Add a Profile Pic & Bio

From the profile tab in the app, tap Edit Profile. Choose a profile photo that represents your business, such as your logo or a high-quality product shot. Fill in your business’s name and website URL. Add a bio to explain what your business does and convey helpful information. This is limited to 150 characters, so get creative here and use emojis if desired. (Example: “Los Angeles boutique for cool moms & kiddos ☀️ Open M-F 9-7, Sat 11-4)

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A screenshot of the settings on Instagram a small business can explore

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Now you’re ready to begin posting to your Instagram Business account.

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LinkedIn

Whether you’re a law firm or a small marketing company, having a LinkedIn presence is a great way to find potential customers and potential employees. Here’s how to get your business set up on LinkedIn.

 

Step 1: Set Up Your Company Page

Log in to your personal LinkedIn page. Then go to business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/linkedin-pages and click Create Page. On the next screen, select the page type that makes sense for your business.

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A screenshot of how to create a LinkedIn page for a small business

 

Step 2: Fill in Your Business Details

On the next screen, fill in your business’s name and choose a corresponding URL for your LinkedIn page. From the dropdown menus, select your company’s industry, number of employees, and type.

Then choose a profile photo for your LinkedIn page. Note that LinkedIn profile pictures are 300×300 pixels square. Under Tagline, explain what your business does in one sentence (example: Your one-stop shop for exotic reptile supplies.)

Click Create Page, and now you’re ready to begin posting.

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Twitter

Twitter is where you’ll reach your audience with tweets of 140 characters or less; brevity is key on this platform! Here’s how to get your business onto Twitter.

 

Step 1: Sign Up for an Account

Download the Twitter app or go to twitter.com and click Sign Up. Fill in your business name and your phone number or email address, then your date of birth. Follow Twitter’s instructions to verify your phone number or email address.

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A screenshot of how to set up a Twitter account for a small business

 

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Step 2: Complete Your Profile

Once you’re logged into your Twitter account, add a profile picture (400×400 pixels round), such as your logo or a product photo. Then, add a cover photo (1500×500 pixels), similar to the cover image on your Facebook Business page. For the description, include your company’s mission or purpose.

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Now
you’re ready to begin tweeting for your business.

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YouTube

As the internet’s most widely visited video platform, YouTube is the perfect place to attract new fans and customers with video content. Read on to find out how to create a YouTube account for your business.

 

Step 1: Create Your YouTube Channel

While logged in to the Google account for your business (if you need one, go sign up at gmail.com), go to youtube.com. Click on your profile in the upper right corner, then select “My Channel” from the dropdown menu.

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A screenshot of how to set up a YouTube page for a small business

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On the next screen, choose a name for your channel, which will likely be your business’s name.

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A screenshot of how to create a YouTube channel for a small business

On the next screen, choose a profile picture (for best results, use an image that’s 800×800 pixels and note that it will be cropped into a circle), then add a brief channel description to let viewers know what to expect. (Example: “Sharing behind the scenes fun at Mo’s Online Store, an exotic reptile shop in the Twin Cities area.”) Then provide links to your business’s other social channels and click Continue.

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A screenshot of a prompt to add a profile picture to a YouTube account

 

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Step 2: Customize Your Channel

Click on the blue Customize Channel button in the upper right corner. Here you can customize the look and functionality of your YouTube channel, adding assets such as a trailer video and a banner image (2048 x 1152 pixels) that will appear across all pages on your channel.

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A screenshot of the channel customization options that are available for a small business

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Now your business YouTube channel is up and running!

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Snapchat

Snapchat lets users exchange pictures and videos (or “snaps”) that are intended to disappear after theyre viewed—so your business’s content here will be ephemeral. Here’s how to get your business started with Snapchat.

 

Step 1: Sign Up

Download the Snapchat mobile app and open it. Tap Sign Up. Enter your first name and last name (or use your business name here) and then tap Sign Up & Accept.

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A screenshot of how to set up a Snapchat account for a small business

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Enter your birthday to verify you’re old enough to use Snapchat. Choose a username that represents your business. Enter a password and tap Continue. Enter your email address and your mobile number and follow Snapchat’s instructions to verify your account.

 

Step 2: Create Your Avatar

Instead of uploading a logo or photo, Snapchat users are represented by Bitmoji avatars. To create your Bitmoji, tap your profile in the upper left corner and tap Edit your Bitmoji. Beginning with skin tone and hair, customize a Bitmoji to suit your business’s personality. When you finish dressing your avatar, tap Save Avatar.

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A screenshot of a Snapchat for small businesses

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Now you’re ready to begin snapping. If you want to pay to advertise your business on Snapchat, go to https://ads.snapchat.com/instant-setup and login with your username and password, then follow the instructions.

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Pinterest

Think of Pinterest as a visual search engine—and one that’s particularly popular with women, who make up two-thirds of its user base. Here’s how to get your business on Pinterest and start spreading Pinspiration.

 

Step 1: Sign Up

Go to pinterest.com/business/create. Enter your business email and a password, then click Create Account. Select your language and type in your location and the name of your business. Then choose the option that best fits your business (such as Local Retail Store or Local Service).

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A screenshot of how to create a Pinterest page for a small business

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Follow the prompts to connect your other social accounts, if applicable.

 

Step 2: Set Up Your Profile

Once logged in to your account, tap the letter icon in the upper right corner. Add a cover photo here that represents your business. Then tap on the pencil icon in the lowerleft corner and complete your profile by adding a profile photo (165×165 pixels round), a display name (your business name as you want it to appear on Pinterest), and a brief description of your business.

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A screenshot of the profile page a small business may see on Pinterest

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Step 3: Claim Your Content

In the left-hand menu, click on Claim.” This will allow you to claim credit for any Pinterest content that originates from your business website. When you claim your content, your business name and profile picture will show up next to any content from your website (such as products) that users have Pinned on Pinterest. This means better visibility and more brand awareness for your business!

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TikTok

The latest social media craze, TikTok isn’t just for dancing—or just for Gen Z. Here’s how to get your business up and running on TikTok.

 

Step 1: Sign Up

Download the TikTok mobile app. Open it, tap “Me” in the bottom menu bar, and click “Sign Up” to register with your phone number, email address, or an existing social media account.

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A screenshot of how to set up a TikTok account for a small business

 

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Step 2: Make a Business Account

In the app, go to the “Me” tab. Tap “Manage account” and select “Switch to Pro Account.” Choose the “Business” option and choose the category that best fits your business.

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A screenshot of describing how to choose your account type on TikTok

 

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Step 3: Edit Your Profile

Tap “Edit Profile” and select a photo or video (up to six seconds in length) to represent your business. Then, add a short bio (up to 80 characters) that tells users who you are and why they should view your content (example: “Twin Cities exotic reptile supply store posting the funniest lizard videos”).

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A screenshot of the Edit Profile screen on TikTok

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Now you’re ready to start posting TikToks!

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Nextdoor

Nextdoor connects neighbors to one another—and to local businesses. Here’s how to create a Nextdoor account for your business.

 

Step 1: Find or Create Your Business

Go to business.nextdoor.com and click “Claim Your Free Business Page.” Choose Professional Business and then click “Sign Up,” or use your business Google account to sign up.

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A screenshot of how to create a Nextdoor account for a small business

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Fill in your name and email address and create a password.

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A screenshot of Nextdoor that describes what you must complete to register an account

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Then enter the name and address of your business and see if you’re already listed on Nextdoor. If you see your business listed, click on your business name and follow the prompts to confirm your business claim.

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A screenshot that shows how you might claim a business that's already listed on Nextdoor

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If you don’t see your business listed, click “Create a new business page with this name.” Follow the prompts to add the address and phone number of your business and choose the category that best fits your business, such as “Burger restaurant” or “Hair salon.” Click “Create a new page” to finish up.

 

Step 2: Customize Your Profile

Once you’re logged into your page, tap Your Page on the lefthand side. Here you can upload your logo or another image to serve as your profile picture. Then, choose a cover photo that will appear at the top of your page. You might choose a photo of the exterior or interior of your business. 

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A screenshot of a profile page on Nextdoor

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Now you’re ready to start engaging with your local community on Nextdoor!

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What’s next?

Starting your social media pages is the first step in building your online presence. To build a following, you’ll need to post thoughtful, interesting, engaging content that will resonate with your audience. In our social media series, we provide strategies for each of these platforms you can put to use right away. You can find those articles here.

It can be complicated to start and grow a business, but we have articles and advice that can help you with every action you need to take. Log into your owner’s portal for free, personalized guidance that will help you make your venture a success.

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