So you want a presence on social media, but may not know where to start? Typically the first questions to ask are:
- Will you be using it for personal, business or both?
- Do you have time to maintain it – once it is up and running?
- What is the reason you are putting yourself out on social media?
- Do you have a profile picture (no duck lips)
These are just a few of the questions that once answered will help guide you to specific social media platforms that will benefit you best like; FaceBook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr., Instagram, flicker, Vine, Meetup or one of the other over 200 sites.
Each site has a ‘help’ area or articles written that will provide a brief snapshot of what the purpose is and why you should be on their site. Once you know what all you can do with each social media platform, the trick is to not become overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once. Start slow choose one new platform at a time, send friend requests to your friends and family organically (I do not recommend allowing the site to send these requests for you), read up on how best to use the site, make sure you fill in the about section (if you are going to use social media – USE IT, do not become a halfway stalker type), add a profile picture that you will not regret having posted later, and above all do not open a new account – send invites – post a few items and then disappear. The worst thing you can do is not understand the time commitment of building an online presence or be a part-timer. Once you get accustomed to the interface, you can expand your use to include the benefits that each platform provides like; photo albums, links, ads, advancing your network, and from there, begin experimenting with some of the neat applications most offer.
I highly recommend connecting with others that are actively benefiting from the use of social media and ask for direction. We offer membership to a group that meets twice a month and provides answers to questions, support and training for professionals using social media to grow their business. [SMART TEAM] Check to see if any of these groups are in your area. Keeping up with the latest social media changes, benefits, usage, techniques… is not always easy.
Social Media for professionals has leveled for the most part advertising and marketing playing fields, allowing small businesses the same opportunities as the big businesses. You are in charge just know social media is easily a full-time job, and for good reason. Just make sure to remember there is a whole other world out there that has its own benefits such as scent, taste and touch – so USE social media do not let it use you.
- Choose the right platforms for your needs – research!
- Use the extra tools the site offers like; analytics, insights, reports, campaigns
- Post timely and with value. Put some thought into it
- Build relationships genuinely – this requires you to watch over your content
- Use images – we are a visual society
- Pace yourself – bite off small amounts chewing slow and steady
- Use personal pages for personal and business for business
- Be unique – at the same time you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Check to see what is working for others and make it your own
- Hire support – In an ideal world, you’ll make room in the budget to hire an experienced social media manager full-time. They can work magic and in a fraction of the time anyone else can. It’s a real job (and deserves a real salary).
- Watch for opportunities as well as when to move on. Not every social media platform works that same for every industry. Give it proper time to test out results but know when to call is quits and devote more time to performing platforms.
- Alliances are key! Find complementary businesses that you can help each other gain visibility. Show some love on social media and feel the benefits of the return!
- Do not turn it into a sales platform only. Social media is called social for a reason. If you want genuine followers, ones that promote your business free of charge because they like the value – then provide real value, entertainment, offers, information and foster real relationships. You have to listen to your clients.
- Do not get caught up with the trolls. Once you make a mark you will encounter the sad, the haters, the miserable and they can suck your time keeping you from providing your value. Handle them ‘once’ professionally offering direct contact to solve their issue, then let it go and do not keep responding to their comments especially if it is obvious they are just looking for a fight regardless of what you do. [Media PR managers have techniques they can deploy to help with the trolls].
- Do not sync your business platforms with your personal phone. You need to ‘turn it off’ and make sure you are enjoying all that life has to offer. Taking it home with you is never healthy~
- Make the choice or do not… If you are going to be out on social media embrace it. It will not benefit those that only put out part of their name, part of their public content and hold back from truly connecting. I am not saying do not use privacy settings, but that is why you need to decide how you are going to use social media if it is for business you need to provide content not lock down everything that will help you make connections.
- Schedule time – this is important! Have a plan and schedule the appropriate time to make it happen. Get in – Get out with your plan. Social media has a way of sucking time away if you do not control it. Strike a balance with your personal and business online ventures.
- Proper – yes there is a proper and improper way of working with social media. If you do not know get advice before launching yourself out there. Grammar really matters – this is not a text to a friend so be professional but not stuffy.
- 80/20 rule applies in social media. You get out of it what you put into it. Being self-centered in social media will get you the same results as it would in the real world. No one enjoys hanging around someone that only likes to talk about themselves.
- Be there! I stop following pages that do not respond to the questions and interactions of their followers. Social media is a tremendous value to those that use it correctly and it is just as harmful to those that do not use it correctly.
- Have fun! People follow genuine pages – pages that have a little fun and that you can tell they enjoy interacting with their followers. So get out there and be positively social!!