Social media is as easy as posting, sharing, and tweeting, right? Not quite. This list of 10 essential social media tips and tricks goes beyond simply posting and sharing – we’re here to walk you through the necessary elements needed to create a powerful social media presence. You just might be surprised by how much of an impact a successful social media strategy can have on your brand, blog, and business.
Even if you are an active via social media platforms in your personal life, it’s often overwhelming to additionally run social media for your blog or business. It’s a complex for anyone, but knowing these best practices can go a long way in shortening your learning curve and amplifying your success. If you are looking to wow your boss, rule your business, or just take your knowledge to the next level then you are going to love knowing how to rock your social media presence, performance, and goals! Ready? Go!
1. Where to Start?
Every social media site is different and unique in it’s own way. They each have a specific use, format, reach, and audience. Start by choosing which social media platforms are the right ones (and which aren’t) for you to invest your time and efforts.
And now you may be wondering where to begin and how to choose which social media platforms to join. The best way to figure out which platform is right for you is to choose the sites that are the most natural fit for your blog or business. Identify the type of content (and topics) that you are about and choose social media sites that excel in those formats.
So! If you have a lifestyle blog or own a fashion boutique start with Pinterest. The visual factor is an important part of your business. If you have a business blog or coaching practice, having a Facebook page can be the best place to share more complex content. If you own a food truck on the go, Twitter matches the fast pace, short updates that your business exudes.
Two quick tips to keep in mind:
- Think about your target audience when deciding which platforms to stake a claim. Don’t try to start a party over on LinkedIn if your core readership, customers, or fans are Facebook users. Go where they are hanging already hanging out (you know, on social).
- Take into consideration what your social media goals are and choose the sites that will help you get where you want to go and ignore the rest. Your goals may be growing your brand, building awareness, generating leads, and/or engaging with your fans. Make sure your social media presence reflects the kind of conversation and contribution you are looking to make on the web with your blog or business.
2. Don’t overcommit
As a one woman enterprise, blog, or small business it can be far too easy to spread yourself thin on social media. Being active on every platform while building a following and creating effective engagement is probably not possible (nor recommended!). Choose to focus on two or three sites in a powerful and authentic way, rather then having empty profiles on all of them.
Your presence on social media should directly reflect the resources you have. Let the amount of time, attention, and content creation you have available determine which platforms to take a stake in and which to leave for another stage of your business (or possibly never, which is OK too!).
3. The law of long term.
As the world of social media has evolved and developed, the "game plan" has also shifted. What used to be easy to achieve on social media is now taking more time and effort to build. You need to view your social media efforts as a long-term strategy for your business. Don’t expect results or a big impact on your bottom line right away. As a blogger or small enterprise it can seem daunting to invest your time and efforts into something that won’t have immediate payoff or to watch your Facebook followers plateau.
Don’t get discouraged! Don't compare yourself to others with large followings or numerous comments, re-tweets, and shares. Know that you will get there too but it may take time. Knowing the ‘law of long term’ is half the battle to stay motivated and in the game! Keep putting great content out there as if a million people were reading when in reality it’s only seven. That's OK. And bonus tip! Share your social profiles with your friends and family and ask them to follow you so you can get a small boost up in followers right away.
4. Master the art of subtle selling!
Don’t make the mistake of thinking social media is all about selling your brand or business. A very common mistake that even well established brands fall prey to is using social media to push a hard sell. As much as you want to quantify the ROI (return on investment), it would be a mistake to milk results from social media by manipulating the conversation, pushing your agenda, or straight up selling. Instead try applying the 80/20 rule -- spend 80% of your time building trust and showing interest in others; only after that, spend 20% of your efforts selectively mentioning and promoting your own work.
When it does come time to promote your offering or to sell something, remember this -- stick to subtle selling on social! You want your promotion to subtlety slip into the conversation and not stick out like a sore thumb. A few tips:
- Focus on promoting the benefits of what you are selling, ie. what it can do for them, not what you love about it.
- Create desire for the product but don’t talk very much about how to get it or buy it. Your followers are savvy, they know where to find your link if they want to.
- Instead of a hard sell, your job is to make people want the feeling you promise they can have by buying your products, services, or reading your blog.
5. Own It!
No matter how powerful social media is, at the end of the day you aren’t in charge of the platforms. Terms of service can change, your reach can be limited, and social media sites may always be one step ahead of you. But not all is lost! Remember, when you build an email list, your subscribers become your asset as soon as they’ve opted-in to your list. An email list is a dedicated group of people who are interested in your brand and want to hear from you. Having one will allow you to drive more traffic to your site, sell your products or services, and create massive results in your business.
Utilize the power of the platforms to bring fans or customers into your world as a member of your private list. Flip social media on its head and use it to build your email list. Growing an email list is the single most important thing you can do as a blog or business and an email subscriber is worth way more than a “like” on your Facebook page. Being able to reach your subscribers in their inbox as opposed to a newsfeed takes the relationship to the next level and gives you more control. A few tips:
- Create a landing page on your blog or website with your email signup form. Point your followers directly there in order to join.
- Post about the benefits of joining your email list on your social media accounts and use fun graphics to promote signing up.
- Call out your email list in your bio and profiles and include the link to signup.
6. The context for content
Just like every social media site is different and has its own unique format, so too your content needs to be different for each platform. This is very much a case of one size does NOT fit all. Your content needs to reflect the context of the conversation and the platform where you are posting it. This goes beyond the different post and image size that each site requires and into a more critical factor of speaking the language for the site you are engaged with.
- You wouldn’t post a scientific research paper on Instagram just like you wouldn’t share a selfie on Linkedin.
- Pinterest is image centric where Twitter is conversation focused. Therefore your content will differ in those ways as well.
When it comes to creating content for social media, think first about the kind of content your blog or business is already creating on a daily basis. Any content that requires huge effort from you, probably won’t be sustainable, so stick with what you are already doing or add a few small changes that you can easily handle. Also, make the effort to take pictures throughout the day (even if you post later) which is a quick and easy way to build up an abundance of content for various social media sites.
Remember, the currency of social media is engagement. And unlike other commodities, the more you give the more you get. Everyone wants to be noticed, recognized, or told they are special and the more you engage with individuals on social media the more they feel memorable. Giving a complete stranger the seal of approval creates an instant connection. Engaging, provides the opportunity for them to check out your profile, as well as giving you the opportunity to share your brand with them. You will find that the more you engage with others the more momentum you, yourself, will gain. So spend sometime reading other peoples posts, liking, sharing, and commenting and in turn you are likely to generate movement for your brand.
Comment on other people’s images, “like” them, and follow people who are part of your targeted audience to build awareness and drive users to your profile page. Start by following the people you are genuinely interested in, and those who follow other blogs or brands in your niche. As your feed fills up start to comment on other’s posts. Do this in an authentic way, comment when you have something nice, encouraging, thoughtful or sweet to say.
8. Expect nothing and give everything
View social media like the virtual community that it is. The ultimate path to success is to first add value, connect with others, engage with them, and only after you have built the trust and affection that comes by focusing on others first, will you be able gain something in return.
Commit to building before benefiting. You will truly get the most out of social media when you expect nothing and give everything. This simple change in mindset will make the time you spend on social media more enjoyable, rewarding, and fun, which in turn will make you more appealing to potential followers.
9. Don’t Set & Forget!
Social media is not a static world. In fact, too often the advice you hear is to step back, put the phone down, and get off of social media to protect your personal life and sanity. But unfortunately there is a very real element of active involvement and real-time interactions when it comes to successful social media for your blog or business. While this is not an endorsement for being glued to your phone at all times, definitely schedule short periods throughout your day for checking in, responding and being active. While scheduling software (Buffer is a great one!) is very helpful and can be used to plan out and fill up your social media posting queue, use it as a complimentary tool to your daily check-ins and not instead of them.
10. What Not to Do!
Sometimes the 'what not to do' is more important then the 'to do’. In this case these are just some helpful reminders to get the most out of social media how to look good doing it.
- Don’t obsessively check your stats. Have fun with social media as opposed to counting every single Like, follow or comment.
- Don’t post just to post - only share when you have something relevant to say. A good rule of thumb is when you have something funny, informative, beautiful or helpful to share.
- Never ask for a follow back and at all costs don’t say “I follow back” in your profile. Make it clear that you are there to add value to other people’s lives and followers will be attracted to that!
- Don’t get distracted. Remember you are “working” when logging onto Facebook or other sites, go directly to your objective, do not stop to browse your news feed. You could get lost forever.
- Stay away from blatant shameless self-promotion. Nobody likes that.
- When engaging with the community at large, be aware to not come off as a stalker. Comment or share posts that are relevant to you and your niche (i.e.: a health food blogger can Like an image of a morning smoothie). Stay away from engaging with the family photos or more personal posts of strangers.
Use these 10 tips as a launch pad for running your social media presence as a brand, blog or business. Ultimately you will find that some of your best relationships, customers, and readers will find you through social media and there is no bigger payoff than that!
Ruthie Abraham runs the Online Shop Success Strategies community. She loves teaching online shop owners how to drive massive revenue & results with email marketing & effective online strategy! You can receive a free copy of her e-book, The Send to Sell Guide to Email Marketing, here.