This blog post was written by guest contributor Courtney Brennan.

If there was ever a time that proved the power, necessity and connectability of social media, that time is now! I’m writing this as we’re in the middle of a very scary and unsettling pandemic. The whole world has been turned upside down, and the only constant is that everyone is at home looking at their phones. The amount of content being consumed every day is insane. This is not the time to slow down or stop posting on social media. Now is the time to ramp up!

There are a few rules to having a great social media presence. You must think about your brand’s tone and messaging. Right now, everyone is worried about the health of their families and friends and their financial futures. Your posts, photos and videos must reflect that, and your captions and tone should show your humanity. The great thing about that is the more human you can be on social media, the bigger and more dedicated your following!

Now that I’ve addressed the current crisis, let’s talk about how your social media presence is your new business/calling card. Here’s the truth: As soon as I meet someone — whether it’s in person or over email — I immediately look to see if they’re on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. My first opinion of them, especially if they are a business owner or entrepreneur, is based off their social media presence. I’m not saying they have to have a million followers, but I look to see if they have a steady stream of content being posted and the quality of that content.

What a person’s social presence signals to me is that they understand how digital first our world is. Potential clients, repeat customers, new employees and investors will likely see your digital footprint before they ever meet you in person or set foot into your business. You want to look big, relevant and hip — and part of looking relevant is taking the time to curate a presence on social media platforms.

Your brand doesn’t have to be on every social media platform. You must be on the ones that make sense for you, your business and the audience you’re trying to reach. Some businesses and entrepreneurs should focus on Instagram and Facebook, some on LinkedIn and others on TikTok.

3 Tips to Help You Start Your Business’ Social Media Presence

1. Figure out what platforms you should be on.

Is your audience and client base mostly older professionals? Then get on LinkedIn! Are you trying to reach millennial moms? You’ll find them on Instagram! What about high school kids who might love your product? Gotta get on TikTok!

2. Identify 5-8 themes that you’ll always post about.

I think a mix of professional and personal themes is best. For example, you’ll obviously be posting business updates, but also include how you got started, where you find inspiration and any challenges you overcame. The more comfortable you are showing your face, the better! Users want to see the human behind the business or brand they’re following. The more you can share how you work and what you love, the more engagement you’ll get!

3. Don’t forget to engage!

You must spend at least an hour a day responding to your audience and engaging with other users online. Answer all the questions and comments, like other people’s photos and posts and try to enjoy the platform!

This new #socialdistancing time we’re in has made one thing clear: Staying connected through social media platforms is imperative to our well-being and safety. It’s helped us check in on friends and family, and at times, it’s given a much-needed boost to our mental health.

I hope those of you who are reading this are healthy and safe. Would love to hear from you if you have any comments or questions. You can also just reach out to say hello!

Refine Your Expertise

If creating social media strategies for companies sounds like something you would like to do for a living, you should strongly consider learning the nuances and best practices of social media marketing in the classroom. One of the best ways to gain an advantage in the job market is through an online M.A. in communication technology from Point Park University. The program offers a social media concentration that focuses on understanding and applying effective social media frameworks across an array of industries. With a core curriculum designed by professionals for professionals, you’ll get prepared to push your career to the next level.

Courtney is a social media consultant and digital content creator in Pittsburgh. You can follow her on her website or Facebook and Instagram.