How long does it take to set up a new social media channel? Hit ‘set up new account’, choose a username and password and you’re done right? Not really.

Sure, you could do it that way – but it’s not the best way to bring a beautiful new social channel into the world. Give your social channel the best chance at becoming the place your audience wants to be, by giving it a little more love.

There is quite a bit of ‘hidden work’ which is easy to overlook at first glance. This work can turn setting up a new social media channel from a five-minute job, into a five-hour job. It’s useful to be aware of the sneaky extra tasks so when you’re next setting up a social media account, you’ve allocated enough time for the job.

What do you need to do to set up a new channel and get it ready to rock and roll? Here we go!

Username research

One of the first tasks which should be done is research on your potential username. It’s important to make your usernames as consistent as possible across your social media channels so that your customers can find you from one channel to another.

It sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many people set up accounts in a hurry and don’t maintain consistent usernames. Do some research on what usernames are available on your platform to select one which best fits.

PRO TIP: If your original name isn’t available is to consider adding your city or country abbreviation to the end of your name, or adding an underscore. Don’t be one of those people who add a number ‘1’ or ‘2’ on the end!

Logging in

Are you sharing the login and password with anyone else? Or is it just you? You can set up an account with your work email address, but it’s important to consider how that account will be accessed by those in your role in the future, or if others will be logging in too.

All too often are business pages set up with someone’s work email address and a few years later that person leaves the company – and their email address is disabled. Suddenly no staff member in the company can access the account or reset the password. In some circumstances, it’s better to set up a dummy email account (i.e., with a password that anyone on your social team has access to. Using a password manager will also help keep this secure.

Alternatively, if you are setting it up for a client and are using a client’s email address to set up an account, they are likely to need to click on a verification link, so be prepared for some potentially slow-moving back and forth to verify the login details. In this case, I recommend for this is asking the client to set a rule in their inbox to auto-forward emails from that social network or scheduling tool so you can act on it immediately without them having to manually forward notification emails.

The About Section

Your bio or About Page for a social channel is a small, but important piece of copywriting. Your description is key to help people who are discovering you for the first time to know who you are, but can also assist with SEO.

Ensure you’ve got key info like your essential business info, like your website or your operating hours.

Channels like Instagram also have additional looks like ‘Link My Photo’ which mean the hyperlink in the About Us section links to a tool which replicates your Instagram feed and allows you to hyperlink each individual photo to a specific URL. It’s worth additionally setting up a tool like this if you would like to use Instagram as a traffic source.

Consider if this information requires anyone internally to review this content if you’ve got a corporate comms team you’re working with.

The profile picture

One of the essential things to keep in mind with your profile picture is that you need to be thinking about mobile-first: how does this look on a mobile device? The majority of social media use (especially in Australia) is on mobiles rather than computers.

Making sure your logo or your profile picture is a clear representation of your business and seen on a mobile screen is key.

It’s also best practice to make sure your profile pictures are the same across all your social media platforms so your customers can recognise you more easily as the official channel when they’re looking for you between channels.

The cover image

For the social platforms that have a background image, this is an opportunity to show off your business. You’re not just sharing the culture of your business, but there’s also the opportunity to convey information there, too, such as marketing. Make sure you cover image is cropped to size and clearly represents your business. Some social platforms even let you use a cover video, rather than just an image.

Related: How To Create A Facebook Video Cover For Free In Ten Minutes

Don’t launch without content

You wouldn’t launch a website without any content, or send out a flyer without any text. Don’t launch a social channel without some posts. When new people find your channel, they will subscribe if they can see the kinds of content you create – so put some content up there so they can get to know you first!

It’s best practice to create at least 3-5 pieces of content before going live and if you have the luxury of time, spread this out over a series of days so it doesn’t look like you’ve thrown it all up on one day. Then, over the first week especially post a little more content then you usually would to help fill up the channel to make it feel vibrant.

It can take hours to create the right copy for a handful of posts including researching the best hashtags for your industry. Spend time creating beautiful content so people see why they would engage with your business.

Keep in mind if this content will be designed from scratch (like a photo shoot), whether it needs to be researched, and whether anyone needs to approve the content. This will add another few days to the content creation process.

Scheduling Tools

While you have the basic design set up, you may also want to set up a social scheduling tool so the page can be managed faster and more effectively. Hootsuite, Recurpost, Buffer, Planable and MeetEdgar are all popular social media scheduling tools.

I’d suggest also scheduling in your first week of posts if you have the time. I’d bet that if you’re launching a new social media channel you’re also in the middle of launching something else, whether it’s a tv show, new product, or new business. Prescheduling this content gives you breathing space to focus on the other things you’ve got going on!

All quiet on the social channel front

Additionally, when setting up social channels, often the unspoken criteria is, of course, fans and followers.

While you can invite all your friends, family, clients or colleagues, ultimately, you will want your actual target market to Follow your account.

You can promote the new accounts with ad buys to specific audiences so they have a bit of a following. Ensure you are targeting the right audience, to run some ads to test and optimise. This is where that content you designed earlier can come in handy, because it could be the basis some some of the ads you use to attract your new audience.

Related: [CHECKLIST] What to Think About Before Launching Facebook Ads

Apps and extensions

You might want to consider apps and extensions that you want to add. For example, on Facebook, you may want to set up an autoresponder or Messenger Bot to answer common queries. Consider if there are extensions you want to keep in mind and start designing what you need for them.

If you’re setting up a channel like Instagram, you may also want to switch it over to a business account so that you can access insights and analytics.

Promote and Embed

Once your account is live, you will want to also ensure that you’ve done some basic promotion on your owned channels.

Consider embedding a Like Button or Follow button on your website, add it to your email signature, throw it on your menu. Make sure you spread the word about your channels and make it easy to find. Now that people are confident with QR codes, these could be a way you push people to your social channels quickly and easily.

Let’s recap

As you can see, there can be a lot more to setting up a social media account than simply setting up a blank page!

It’s important to fill it with content about your business, have rich and engaging posts ready for people to engage with, and, of course, spread the word!

Setting up a new social media channel and need a hand? Please get in touch – I’d love to help!

Want to work with Rachel?

Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.

She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.

She is based in Sydney, Australia.

Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.