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The Basics: Social media must-haves for the business owner

by Monica Sandler, Marketing Research and Data Manager, NJ Advance Media

In the time it takes to brew a cup of coffee, a business can set up its own Facebook page. In a recent conversation with Joel Espinoza, NJ Advance Media's Director of Social Media, he walks me through the steps a business must take to get set-up in what is becoming a social-first era. What I mean by that is how social and primarily Facebook is becoming a consumers' home base for searching for a particular product and service – and at times replacing Search. While using search engines to find information is still the most common behavior, there are many users who are skipping the search engine and performing their searches directly on social media.

For a business to be prepared, they should produce decent content. Typically, there is no need to hire a full time employee or even a freelancer to create content. In most cases it already exists somewhere- be it on the web site itself, or in internal newsletters. Posting a weekly tip about your business is no skin off your back. It doesn't have to be long; a paragraph or two with a photo will do just fine. You can even start with some frequently asked questions that come in from your customers. Interestingly, in many cases a local business Facebook page will get more traffic that a well-optimized website, says Mr. Espinoza. So why not engage an already interested audience?

Consumers know that they are more likely to find visual content if they search on social media, and to them, this content is far more trustworthy than text heavy content. Be sure to post a weekly news bite with a photo about what is happening in your business. This works especially well for businesses that have events.

Moreover, as our lives become more and more integrated with social media – and this is clearly seen by the number of sites incorporating Facebook login into their site as well – we are slowly connecting all our digital consumption back to our social page. As phone technology continues to improve and social sharing continues to emerge, location monitoring will enhance how we engage with social more and more.

Lastly, it is always good to remember, says Joel, everyone starts at zero likes – there is only one way to go. A business should be sure to have clear social goals and goals sometimes require a budget.

Sources:, Interview with Joel Espinoza 12/21/15

- Submitted by Monica Sandler, Marketing Research and Data Manager, NJ Advance Media,

About NJ Advance Media: NJ Advance Media provides content, advertising and marketing services to and New Jersey's leading newspaper, The Star-Ledger, and additional daily and weekly newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. NJ Advance Media is a part of Advance Local, one of the largest media groups in the U.S. reaching more than 40 million consumers through its 12 affiliated local news and information websites and more than 30 newspapers. Advance Local is part of Advance Publications, along with Condé Nast and American City Business Journals.