A Guide to Making the Most of Social Media
Learn how the top five social media platforms SHOULD be used to help you and your brand
Whether you’re confused about how to connect with someone on Instagram or what to write in your LinkedIn profile, this guide to the top 5 social media platforms will take you through all the important, strategic, and oh-so-helpful tips and tricks you need in order to dominate your social media presence. These 5 social media networks are the place to be and now you have the inside track on what to do and how to set yourself up for success when using them.
There are two ways to contribute to Pinterest. Either share beautiful and original images of your own or pin and curate boards filled with images that you love from other pinners. The former method will turn Pinterest into a big traffic referral for your site. If you're curating boards, it won’t result in too much traffic directly to your site; rather, you will be building up a presence and increase your reach on Pinterst. The most important thing to understand about Pinterest is that pinners want gorgeous, helpful, aspirational or “how to” information from their pins.
- Create a board of pins you love or highly repinned pins and look for the common threads in the images; this will help you identify what elements your images should have in order to be popular and gain traction on Pinterest.
- Build up your account by creating category specific boards and filling them with your favorite pins.
- Don’t pin or re-pin an image just for the sake of pinning! You and your brand will be judged on the types of boards and pins you’ve curated. A user will choose to follow people who share a similar aesthetic or when categories and boards are relevant to them.
- Each image you are uploading should live on your site and should have the link attached to it. After uploading the pin, you can edit it and add a link by clicking the pencil icon on the upper right corner.
To gain traction on Facebook, always focus on your audience and on creating valuable content. Give users a reason to follow your page. Be open to building up your fan base in a slow and steady way that focuses on people who actually like your brand and want to hear from you. Although your numbers may grow more slowly, the engagement on your page will be better, and those who like your page will do so because they want to follow you and/or your brand.
- Ask your current readers or customers to Like your page to get an initial boost.
- Tag other brands or personalities when talking about them so they get a notification that you mentioned them.
- Invest in ads when you have a specific goal or result you are looking for. i.e. if you are looking to generate leads to a specific page on your site or drive traffic to a blog post.
- Post personalized ‘real’ content. Don’t try to impress with your content. Instead, post helpful or informative information that your fan base will relate to or enjoy.
- Every post should have a call to action. Either a request to ‘like the post if you agree’ or ‘comment below with your thoughts.’ Ask your fans to do something after they read, otherwise they will move on.
- Everyone loves images! Even if you are posting a text update, include a relevant photo with it to help grab attention in the newsfeed.
Twitter is a platform for conversation. It’s evolved way beyond the "sharing what I had for breakfast" tweets and has become a very powerful channel for conversation, discovery, and relationships. This is the perfect place to share your brand's story and voice. By carefully choosing what to say and share on Twitter, you are creating a hub of information that tells your followers who you are, what your brand stands for, and what’s important to you.
One great aspect of Twitter is that you can have direct access to anyone else that's using this platform. Focus on building real relationships with your target audience by reaching out to other users. You can respond to their tweets, share something you think they might be interested in, or just say hi. Beyond engaging on Twitter, you can also use it as a way to follow the conversations being had by your readers or customers. It’s the social media equivalent of being a fly on the wall. Find pain points your target audience is having, questions they are asking or topics that matter to them, use Twitter as your very own focus group.
- If you don’t have much original content of your own you can still participate and contribute to the community by re-tweeting or sharing content created by others.
- Use the search function to search for hashtags, keywords, or people. Search terms and events relevant to your brand and industry, and make your presence known. It's a great way to network!
- Fill up and schedule your tweets so you have a constant stream of on-brand and valuable content for your followers. Sites like Tweetdeck allow you to do this.
- Keep informed about your niche and the topics that your target audience are interested in so you will always have tweetable content.
Contribute to the Instagram community by posting imagery that fits with your brand; stick to the general guidelines of beautiful, original/exclusive, and personal images. You don’t need to wait for perfection to snap an image to share but should put some thought into what you are posting. The content that you post should provide important content, share your brand, or just give someone a beautiful (or fun) reason to follow you.
- If you are deciding between running a personal account or a business account on Instagram, an easy way to decide is to determine if you are the main personality (i.e.: like a blogger) or if the business is the main brand play (i.e.: Anthropologie)
- Don’t abuse or overuse hashtags. A single hashtag (or at most 3!) per post should be way more then enough to make your point.
- Use the post description as a place to share more then just an image. Go into more detail, share some personal thoughts, or ask for input from your followers in the description section below the image. This is a great way to relay what's going on on your website, whether it's a sale, new inventory, an article, or a new post.
- Make sure your profile has a clear and easy-to-understand bio and don’t forget to include a link to your blog or business (or email opt-in!) When you're Instagramming about something on your website, it's easy to say "Link in profile" and offer followers a direct hyperlink to your site since links written into a caption will not feed to the web.
- Images with words (i.e. quotes/inspiration) do well on Instagram, so consider quotes that mean something to you or your brand. Create the graphics in Photoshop or a similar program, then save them to your phone to upload to Instagram.
Often times when we think of social media, we don’t factor in one of the most valuable platforms of all. If you have a blog or are involved in more creative industries, you might think that LinkedIn is not relevant to you. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Do not let LinkedIn fool you, just because it’s dressed up in a suit and tie does not mean it’s a social network that you can ignore.
You will find that having a presence, even if minimal, on the platform will lead to new opportunities and connections, and it is a way for you to add value to others. What’s unique about LinkedIn is that it is highly specific and tailored to doing business. Think of LinkedIn as the world’s biggest professional conference in your niche and it’s open 24/7! No matter the topic or theme of your blog or business, make sure that at the very least that you have a well-branded and put-together profile on LinkedIn.
- Don’t just mimic your resume on your LinkedIn profile. Carefully edit what to include and add details that give life to your past experiences and is tailored to show your expertise in your current role.
- Use a professional looking headshot for your profile picture. It doesn’t have to be corporate style, but make it match your workplace dress code. Look straight into at the camera, with a welcoming smile and avoid anything distracting in the background.
- Be strategic when writing the headline on your profile. Use this valuable real estate to let others know what you do. Don’t just use your job title, instead highlight your expertise and who you help with that expertise. Speak to your target market with this sentence.
- After completing your profile your goal should be to connect with a minimum of 500 people. Don’t worry, that sounds like a lot more than it actually is.
- Always make your connection requests personal by writing “Hi, (first name)” as opposed to just sending a request with the standard text from LinkedIn.
- Join groups! Search for groups within your industry or when you are trying to connect with a specific person you can join the groups they are in.
- Share links and images to new articles/posts or products from your site. These will appear in the feed of your connections, just like Facebook, and garner traffic.
For every social media network, keep in mind to let the growth happen slowly and naturally. But remember to post often, engage with others and fine tune your content – do this, and you will see exciting progress in your social media domination of these top sites.
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.