Using social media

Social media can be one of the biggest time sucks for a business. And with no real way of measuring ROI it isn’t always going to be the best use of your time.

. . .

So here are some tips that you can use to keep your profiles fun and relevant without it taking over your life.

Choose your networks wisely

I touched upon this in the last article Promoting your website but I’m going to repeat it here because it’s so important. Only pick 1 or 2 social accounts for you to post on (unless you can afford to hire somebody to take charge of multiple accounts).

It’s unrealistic that you’ll be able to run your business, keep your website updated and manage a ton of social accounts. What is more likely to happen is you’ll start off vowing to keep them all updated and then 2 weeks down the line, most (if not all) of them will be left abandoned with old content on.

There’s nothing worse than an account that isn’t being used, with the last status update having been made 2 years ago. So if you have any of these, delete them now! It makes you look bad.

So pick 1 or 2 accounts where your customers are more likely to hang out and focus on making them the best they can be.

Build a community

Remember that most social media websites are not business related. People check them to catch up with friends or as a way to pass time. They’re not necessarily in buying mode and so won’t appreciate any hard selling.

Your focus on social media should be building a community or an audience of loyal (potential) customers. So share things they’re going to want to see. If it’s Instagram, share funky looking pictures. If it’s Facebook, share a cool video or ask a light-hearted question.

You want your posts to fit in with their feeds. Not look like a string of advertisements.

Slow and steady wins the race

With social media I’m a firm believer that you should try to post consistently, but don’t put all of your energy into these channels. You’re going to build a community here but it’s going to take time so don’t rush it and don’t force it.

Most importantly, if you don’t see results right away, don’t worry too much, just keep producing valuable content and you should see your engagement increase. If you don’t after say 6 months, you may need to reevaluate whether you’re really providing value to your audience or whether you’re just putting out white noise.

Use lots of images

Images seem to get a much higher rate of engagement as opposed to text alone. Even if it’s text within an image, people seem to respond more eagerly to visuals.

So try to include things like infographics, memes (if appropriate) or even just a nice image with your blog post heading on, like this:

Speaking of images…

Have a face for an avatar

Social media is about connecting with people so don’t be tempted to put your company logo as your avatar. Put your face (preferably smiling) or put the persons face who will be manning your social accounts.

People like feeling like they’re engaging with humans rather than corporations so stick with real portraits and you should see your engagement increase.

Schedule your posts (sometimes)

Scheduling posts is a great way to ensure you’re putting content out there even when you may be snowed under. It’s a good idea to have a few posts a week scheduled so you don’t randomly go off the radar but be careful with it.

It’s usually pretty obvious when people have scheduled posts so if you’re seen to only schedule and not actually interact, people aren’t going to be as interested in connecting with you. So make sure you’re still posting in the moment and (more importantly) replying to people quickly.

Some tools you can use to schedule are:

Buffer app

TweetDeck

HootSuite

You could dedicate half an hour on a Monday morning (or Friday afternoon) to schedule your posts for the upcoming week and then you know if all hell breaks loose, you’ll still be posting some things out there.

Be yourself

Finally, it’s really important tone yourself on social media. Don’t be afraid to show some personality. As long as you’re good natured and stay away from politics or religion (dangerous topics!) people will like you and hopefully interact with you.

Don’t take social too seriously and make sure you have some fun with it too, it’s contagious!

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