Social Media Illustration for CommunityAs I’ve mentioned previously, social media can be very daunting when you are just starting off.  It does take time and perseverance to get it right so don’t expect to get an immediate result. However there is a huge amount of information available to help you achieve your purpose. I covered Apps to LinkedIn in Part One of this series, so now it’s the rest of the alphabet with social media tips.

Mistakes

As in life you always need to learn from your mistakes – hopefully keeping them to a minimum, but if you don’t learn from them they really are a huge mistake. Treat social media like a huge learning curve: you will make mistakes, but just don’t do them again. And the good thing is that everyone is still on that learning curve; something new is always happening so even the big, successful brands still need to learn.

Nothing worthwhile comes easily

Social media is hard work. Don’t expect to be able to dip in and out irregularly when you get some free time. You need to have a strategy and you need to stick with it and work on it. Put a strategy in place and it will make your life easier — but it isn’t necessarily simple. You’d expect a lot of work to be put into an advertising campaign for your business and you’d pay for it. So why expect social media to be completely free and easy? If you don’t have the time or experience then get someone to manage it for you.

Only you?

If you are a one man band then representing yourself online can be easier; you’re being more personable for the business and your character can shine through, which people like to see on social media. You may be representing a larger business and that’s fine; I’ve seen many that work brilliantly, but you have to strike the right persona for the business and stick with it.

Pinterest

I look at Pinterest as being the late person to the party but she/he is really pretty to look at and attracting everyone’s attention. Pinterest is currently the third most popular social network channel. Although most popular for recipes and interior desig,n that is just a minor part of it nowadays. As long as you have an image, you can pin it, so make sure you always have an image on your site. Check this post for lots of great information on Pinterest.

Questions

This is always a great way to attract interaction on social media. Ask a question and someone will always want to answer it and help. It could be about anything – from trying to recognize an actor in a movie or something technical, from asking for recommendations on banking institutions to the best mobile apps. The classic example of ask and you will receive – if you don’t ask then don’t expect an answer, and therefore interaction.

Retweets

If you think of Twitter like a spiderweb, then the more Retweets you get, the further your web will grow. You aren’t likely to get Retweets if the tweet isn’t of interest or if you don’t ask for them. But beware you don’t constantly ask for them, as that can get annoying and people will start to ignore you.

Strategy

This is so important. Don’t’ just use social media willy-nilly. Have a calendar and plan what is done daily on each of your social media platforms. Of course you can deviate but at least if you have a plan to follow you have some structure.

Twitter

My preferred social media platform is always Twitter, with Facebook a close second. I like the immediacy of it – say what you want to say, get replies soon after and deal with them. Use columns on Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and other platforms to follow topics of interest and joining in discussions that you can help contribute to and possibly get business from. I have written a lot about Twitter on many sites but this is the most comprehensive – Twitter for Business: The Ultimate Guide.

Unification

If you have more than one person updating your company’s social statuses, ensure that all contributors are singing from the same song sheet and all updates are unified. You need to be “saying” the same thing across all channels or followers will get confused.

Value

Ensure that you provide value to your followers. Don’t just spout out rubbish; aim to help people either learn something new or at least enlighten them on topics that can be helpful.

Work on it

Study whatever you can about what works on social media. Have a look at what experts and those that are successful are doing and see if it will work for you. Great blogs to follow about social media are Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today.

Xhaust it all

Don’t give up. If one social media platform doesn’t work for you, don’t expect that another won’t. They all appeal to different audiences with just a cluster of business that covers all. Just don’t give up.

YouTube

The second biggest search engine only to Google, and that’s because Google owns it. If you have a YouTube account then Google sees it. If you add it to your website there’s even more validation. People love video – make it about your company, staff or just sharing funnies. It will help.

Zzzzzz

Don’t forget to sleep sometimes – too much activity on social media will not only burn you out but will also put your followers to sleep.

I’d love to hear of any suggestions to help with social media – there are so many tips out there so please share.