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A 3-Step Beginner's Guide to Social-Media Marketing So you can create a Facebook post -- congratulations! However, that isn't social-media marketing.

By Matthew Toren

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Social media has become as much a daily part of our personal lives as it has our business lives. What once was cutting edge just a few short years ago is now just the norm. So how do you know which aspect of social-media marketing you need to have and which aspects are simply passing fads?

For entrepreneurs who are just starting their businesses, wrapping your arms around your social-media marketing plan can feel like a stretch. Do you need to be on all outlets? Which are best? How will you manage all those conversations? There's a lot to think about when you're getting started and some important questions you need to ask yourself.

Related: 17 Quick Wins to Boost Your Social-Media Marketing Right Away

Before you get your business up and running, here is your three-step definitive guide to social-media marketing.

1. Determine your MVPs.

When you first begin to formulate your social-media plan, you may be thinking about what outlets to get started on. However, sometimes a more important conversation to have when you're starting out is which outlets to avoid.

There can be a general feeling that you should get your business on any and every outlet available to you. However, that can be a mistake. Not all outlets are relevant for every business and trying to force your business onto a platform that isn't right can feel awkward and inauthentic.

Start with your social-media marketing MVP plan. The MVPs of social-media marketing means two things: your most valuable platforms and your minimum viable platforms. When it comes to social media, less can be a lot more. Why?

You are going to need to be active across every platform you're on for the duration of your business. This means not just great conversations but valuable content and hawkeyed monitoring. Would you rather have sparse contact with tons of people across lots of platforms, or would you rather have valuable, intensely personal and relevant conversations with the right handful of people? Which do you think has the most value to your business in the long run?

Related: 13 Value-Packed Marketing Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

2. Consistency isn't key, it's critical.

Once you determine your MVPs you need to come up with a reliable posting schedule that can't be broken. If you aren't going to be able or willing to post on a specific social-media outlet religiously, you shouldn't be playing on that platform at all. It's that important.

Who are you going to assign the challenging and time-consuming task of vigilantly attending to your social-media outlets? Get clear about who will take ownership of this space and come up with a plan for how and what will be said to stay consistent not just with posting but with your brand voice.

Understanding this step can put into perspective the importance once again of your MVP outlets because if you can't post to an outlet, you shouldn't be on it.

3. Take risks.

The risks you take will be commensurate with the type of industry your startup is in -- but don't be afraid to mix up the conversation and start taking risks in your social-media postings. These can be anything as simple as showing some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of your day-to-day business or sharing your personal struggles as an entrepreneur.

Make sure it's honest and relevant, but sometimes taking risk and exposing more of yourself and your business can really help with making a splash. People like authenticity and transparency so let your audiences see what's behind the curtain.

Related: 4 Free Must-Use Analytics Tools for Social-Media Marketers

Matthew Toren

Serial Entrepreneur, Mentor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.

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