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Do you have a social media presence? Maybe you’re one of those curmudgeons who refuses to use Facebook or Instagram, citing that you like to ‘live in the real world, not virtual reality.’

It’s okay not to have a personal social media account, but in today’s tech-driven world, not representing your small business online could hurt your startup.

How, you ask?

If no one knows your business exists, no one is going to come to you asking for help with theirs. If you’re a new voice and looking to make an impact in your industry, you have to be ready to represent. Here are three ways to get your voice and brand out there.

Build Your Platform

If you want to be taken seriously as a leader in your industry, you need to go public with your message. Before you do, you, your partners and staff need to understand what it is the company does, what you want it to do and how you want it to grow. If you don’t understand the mission of your company, know what you really want to do or have an idea of the type of person you want following and working with your company, social media users will recognize that straight away and will either unfollow you or choose not to follow you at all.

Alex Honeysett from the online career resource The Muse says that you’re going to want to “think about three things: where your audience is hanging out, which platforms you actually like using and which platforms support the kind of content you want to post.” Once you have your pitch, background and intentions set, it’s time to begin curating your content.

Learn How to Curate Content

Entrepreneur Magazine notes that while it’s great to have a lot of followers who “like” the content, it’s more important to get them to interact with it. “Everything needs to fit within your brand identity and promote what it is that you’re trying to say to the world.” You want your base to do more than “like” a post, you will want them to share it with their own followers and gain more traction.

The content should send a positive message about the work you do and should demonstrate your company’s skill set in its given industry. If it’s a puff clickbait piece, your business will become associated with churning out mundane and mediocre work. If the company blog isn’t any good, can you really depend on that same company’s products or services? This is what your potential clients will be thinking about.

It’s not only publishing pointless clickbait that you have to worry about, it’s also about publishing incorrect and false information about your products and services. If for example you promise that your product delivers fast weight loss and it doesn’t, but instead causes users to retain water, consumers can sue you for false advertising and for selling them a product that hurt rather than helped them. This is why it is imperative that you sell your product/services honestly and get a general liability insurance plan. General liability insurance will protect your business if it’s sued by a disgruntled customer. You can get free general liability insurance quotes from sites like CoverHound and get a small business insurance package that offers great protection for little cost. People want to partner with reputable businesses, if you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.

Be Consistent in Your Message

Getting likes, re-tweets and reposts dozens to hundreds of times on an article you have shared on your social platform feels good, but if it doesn’t find a balance between likeability and your business, it’s not going to help your business at all. Entrepreneur advises having a mixture of both: “[Your business need[s] to have a little of both and mix the more fun side that wants popularity with the serious and informative side that boosts the reputation of your business.”

Once you strike this balance, you’ll have a wide followership and customer base.

If you want to run a successful business, you have to put your face out there, branding is everything.

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