Social Media: Where Do I Begin?

I’m interviewing Alizah Epstein from in Rockville, Maryland. Alizah and her team of marketers, graphic designers, and web developers work with their clients to communicate their messages, capabilities, and brands—online, on paper, or in person.

I asked Alizah about what someone needs to know when they are thinking about using social media to build their business.

Question: Where do I begin if I want to use social media to promote my business?

Answer: Before you jump in and select a social media platform to use (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.), identify your target audience and their needs (you’ve probably done this). The key question is, what problem can I solve. Based on understanding their needs, think about what message you want to send them. Once you are clear about who your audience is and what message you want to communicate, go online and look at social media tutorials. There are plenty of tutorials and resources written about how to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. For example, look at or find podcasts on how to use social media. There are LinkedIn groups that can help.

Select one social media platform that you think will be the best way to reach your target audience.

Question: How much time should I spend on social media?

Answer: Ask yourself:

  • Is this the best use of my time?
  • Do I want to spend time learning about, for example the details of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
  • Will spending time learning about social media time take me away from doing sales?

However, if you really like delving into the mechanics of social media, then by all means do it. The bottom-line question is how am I going maximize my time on social media. If you’re limited for time:

  • Focus only on one social media platform
  • After you are comfortable using one, then add another one.
  • Don’t diluted your message, if you’re short on time

Question: What about using a freelancer to help me?

Answer: There are freelancers who specialize in creating and maintaining social media campaigns. They don’t need to get up to speed on the latest ways to use social media. You’ll not only be paying for their expertise, but you’ll be freed up to use your time in other ways.

There are virtual assistants; people you can to hire who have expertise and can provide professional, administrative, technical, or creative (social media) assistance remotely from their home office. They charge by the hour or by project. You can find more information about virtual assistances online and at Craig’s List, or

Question: What are some other things I need to know about using social media?

Answer: Here are some things I suggest to my clients.

  • Create a social media editorial calendar for at least six months listing topics by week or month
  • A good place to start is by sending content every other week. No one wants to be spammed with lots of social media information.
  • Keep the number of words to 200-400

The idea of using social media can be overwhelming, take it slowly, and consider what you can do and what you can’t.

Contact Alizah.

Working With Creative Professionals – Part 2

Working with Graphic Designers, Copywriters, and Web Developers: An Interview with Alizah Epstein Part 2

I interviewed Alizah Epstein, Chief Creative Officer at Epstein Creative for this Q & A. Epstein Creative is a full-service graphic and website design studio that provides a full range of professional creative and marketing services. Alizah and I discussed what you should know before hiring a creative professional to help you promote your business.

Question: Do I need a written contract?

Answer: Unequivocally yes. A written contract protects you and your creative professional from any misunderstanding. A good contract should include: a detailed description of the scope of work, the number of revisions, a delineation of the exact deliverables, wording about the assignment of your logo to you, and a timeline for deliverables. The contract should state the hourly fee and other possible costs such as photography, web development costs, etc., and payment terms. If you want to see sample contracts and Work Agreements, search the web. I’ve seen one-page contracts and I’ve seen 10-page contracts.

My client, a home inspector, wanted help building a website. He had a cousin who designed websites. When I looked at the cousin’s portfolio, all of his websites were built for e-commerce transactions – automotive parts, specialty foods, and custom furniture. This was not a good fit. —EL

Question: What do you think of a graphic designer who also writes copy?

Answer: Look at the designer’s portfolio and see if what they wrote is compelling. Ask the designer what they like to do best, write, or design.

Question: Should I work with an individual freelancer, a design firm, or advertising agency?

Answer: This depends on the scope of your project and your budget. Generally speaking, freelancers work alone and not with a team. Graphic designers can refer you to freelance copywriters and web developers. A full service firm can meet most of your design needs but using one will cost more than freelancers.

Question: Should I build my own website?

There are do-it-yourself website building software programs such as Squarespace. The question you have to answer: “Is building my website the best use of my time?” Even though the technology is easy to use, you might get caught in tweaking and tweaking the site. You might consider hiring a web developer to build just a basic layout and navigation tabs.

Contact Alizah.