Social Media 101: Let's Get Started
Social media is one of those things that seems so easy at first but as you start to delve in it becomes more complex. It’s very easy to post what you did that day or what you had for breakfast but if you want a structured feed that is cohesive and informative to your followers then you have to take that step back and get a game plan together. This is my social media 101 crash course and we’ll delve into all of the other specifics at a later date.
Understanding your target audience is the biggest step, before you start posting you need to know who you’re talking to. You need to figure out who you want to be to your followers and how they will benefit from following you.
Before posting anything I recommend sitting down and plan out the year ahead of time. Look at any holidays, seasonal events and activities that might be newsworthy or relatable to your business. Keep an eye out for trending topics and hashtags. You’ll also want to have measurable goals planned out so you’ll know if your followers are receptive to what you have to say. It’s always good to know what’s working, what’s not and how to improve on both of these.
Once you figure out the message you want to send and how you want to be known you can figure out which platforms to participate in.
Social Media Platforms
There is an array of different social media platforms available and new companies are joining the fun each day. We’re going to focus on a few of the main contenders: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Each one of these platforms attract different users or users looking for different things.
- Twitter for example is quick snippets of information that people can easily glance at to catch up on the day’s events and can click on links if they care to learn more about a story.
- Facebook tends to lend itself more towards friends and families, keeping in touch and staying connected. Facebook has been launching many new algorithms preventing many business posts from appearing on user’s walls. This makes it hard for businesses to stay front of mind for users but it’s still a necessary tool for most businesses as people will specifically search for a business when they’re interested in something specific.
- Instagram and Pinterest are both very visual platforms, lending themselves to images and photos to speak louder than words. Both of these platforms often have very curated boards pulling in followers by beautiful images.
- LinkedIn is very business oriented. It offers stories of interest in relatable business fields and also allows for business associates or colleagues to link to each other creating a network for you to put your best foot forward. Buffer offers a great piece to learn the 7 Key LinkedIn Stats, that I recommend, this is a great introductory piece to get you started on LinkedIn.
Frequency of Posts
Users on each of these platforms like to receive information and posts very differently. Frequency of posts is important in creating your brand and presence. If you don’t post frequently enough people will forget about you but if you post too much you can start to irritate people and turn them away. Finding the happy medium can sometimes be a little tricky. I’ve created this handy table to illustrate how frequently I like to post to each platform.
Type of Posts
The type of posts you send out can be just as important as your frequency. You need to think like your followers and post what you would like to read. People always like to have something informative, something that can help them grow and feel good. “What’s in it for me?” always comes to mind when I post these tidbits, people want to make it worth their while to follow you and need to get something out of it.
However, people don’t want things to be too cold and textbook like. Knowing about you allows followers to feel like you’re their friend, like there is someone on the other end that they’re building a relationship with. This is when the posts about what you did that weekend or how adorable your children or dog is come into play.
Lastly, you don’t want to forget to promote yourself and why you’re putting all of this time and effort into your social media in the first place. There’s a rule of 80/20 that I like to follow which means you post 80% of your posts to help inform and intrigue your followers then 20% about your business. This prevents you from being too salesy but still getting your message across.
I hope this helps you understand social media a little better and helps you to get started. Social media has helped many businesses, including mine, reach a large percentage of their client base and expand their businesses in ways that may not have been possible. If you have any tips that you’d like to share please do so in the comments below. Or if you’ve decided that you don’t have the time to invest in a strategic social media plan contact me and I can help you put one together.
We’ll dig a little deeper into some of these topics in future posts so be sure to stay tuned!