There is a lot of Social Media out there and a lot of noise about Social Media too. The number of guides to using all of the Social Media for your marketing, to make money, to meet your soul mate, it is incredible. And yes, I realise the irony of saying that and writing this, a guide to simple social media. So when you, and your business, decide they’re going to hop on this crazy train of Social Media, which carriage do you get on? How many channels do you use? Which one is right for you?
Asking the question- how many Social Media Channels are there, is like asking how many hairs on a cat. There are enough hairs on the cat to both keep it warm and to shed upon all your black business suits. There is a Social Media Channel out there to suit anyone and anything. Goodreads for writers and readers; Academia.edu, social media for Academics. Biip.no is a Norwegian Social Media Community. And while I tell my students to never reference Wikipedia for their assignments, in this case, if you want to see how many different social media channels there are, then look at this Wikipedia page- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites.
So yes, there are a lot of channels. The next question is- what is each channel good at? Tricky question. Is Facebook better for business than LinkedIn? Can you talk to more people on Twitter than Snapchat? Should I do visual on Pinterest or Instagram?
Unfortunately, it is a difficult question to answer. Not what you wanted to hear, I know, however, to keep this simple, to keep Social Media simple for you, forget this question and move to question 3- which channel suits me?
I strongly suggest starting off slow with your Social Media. Of course, before all of this you have made a plan, right? Do you have a marketing plan? Have you used the SMART method:
If not, take a moment and do this.
Next, what kind of business do you have? One which helps a lot of people solve problems? One which lends itself to visual promotion? A service for professionals, or a product for stay-at-home parents?
Start with one Social Media channel, one which feels most comfortable for you. I would say start with Facebook purely because of the ability to have a Facebook Page and to get involved with some very specific Facebook Groups.
Tips for using Facebook:
- Get involved in 2 or 3 Facebook groups related to your business, service or product. DON’T SELL.
- Begin a content plan and scheduling for your Facebook page.
- Understand the difference between your PROFILE and your PAGE, and what communication is right for each of them.
- Start promoting posts, start some Facebook ads. $5 a day.
- Check your page analytics and your Facebook ad analytics to understand where your audiences are coming from.
Once you have a handle on Facebook, it is time to bring on board your next Social Media Channel. It has to match your brand and your language, mesh with your first Social Media Channel.
Let’s look at Instagram. This is a powerful VISUAL Social Media Channel. Facebook own Instagram, which is good. You can link your Instagram account to your Facebook page, so a post on one channel automatically feeds the other. This saves you time.
What do you post on Instagram? And how? Firstly, it is a mobile app, so you will be doing most of your work with your smartphone or tablet. Take a photo of what you’re doing, or where you are doing it. It is good to let people SEE who and what you are doing.
Secondly, being Instagram, it uses Hashtags. Find some hashtags for you, and my advice- never use more than four or five hashtags per post. It tends to look messy and unprofessional.
If you need help with hashtags, try here- http://kimgarst.com/how-to-find-great-hashtags-to-market-your-business , or here- http://hashtagify.me/ or here àhttp://mashable.com/2013/10/08/what-is-hashtag/.
Some more tips for Instagram:
- Be sparing with the filters. Instagram has a lot of toys, but overdoing it will ruin your post.
- Don’t sell all the time. Use the 80/20 rule in regards to this.
- Post interesting things, relatable things.
- Engage in conversations. If you get some followers, comment and @-tag them to get their attention.
- But don’t sell to them. Lead them to your website.
- Learn all the functions of good Instagramming- stories, films etc.
- Investigate apps which enhance your Instagram experience
- Gramblr for your computer
- Layout for your phone or tablet
- Post a few times a week.
- Follow influencers in your community or professional space.
- And have fun with it. Keep it simple and keep it fun.
Now you’re on 2 Social Media channels. I can hear you thinking- but what about LinkedIn? What about Twitter? What about Pinterest? Snapchat? This is an article about keeping it simple. Master these two Social Media Channels and you will be well on the way to a successful business. You can then venture into LinkedIn, which is a great platform to establish yourself as an expert amongst your peers.
I will write about LinkedIn and Pinterest and Snapchat in part 3 of keeping Social Media simple. If you’d like to read Part 1 of this series, please click HERE